Artist Profile

Christopher Aubrey


The only reliable biographical information concerning Christopher Aubrey is provided by his signed and dated works. He seems to have moved from Dunedin (1876), south to the Taieri Plains and Milton (1877), the lower Clutha valley (1877-78) and Southland (1878-84), before travelling into more spectacular regions (Fiordland, Lake Wakatipu, Lake Wanaka) and moving north to Canterbury (1885) and North Otago (1886). The last South Island subjects known before he crossed to the North Island are views of Dunedin (1887) and the Fox Glacier (1888).

Subsequently he worked in Wellington and the Hutt Valley (1889-90), the Wairarapa (1891), Palmerston North (1893), Wanganui (1894), the Waikato and the Coromandel (1897) and Auckland (1898-1900). The latest dated work to which any reference has been found is a 1902 view of Dunedin.

The only contemporary documentary record appears in the catalogues and report of the Melbourne International Exhibition of 1880-81 where he is listed as living in Invercargill.

The measure of control which he displays in architectural subjects and details as early as 1878 - particularly in contrast to figures and animals - suggests some training and experience in engineering or another technical field, but the numerous views of hotels and farmhouses suggest also an itinerant life, perhaps earning a living by his brush. This supposition finds slight confirmation in the absence of his name in electoral rolls and street directories of the period.

Christopher Aubrey is represented in major collections throughout the country including the Auckland City Art Gallery and the Turnbull and Hocken Libraries.

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