Sydney Higgs

UHPC 1/23, Water colour, 585mm (h) x 715mm (w)

First World War veteran Sydney Higgs (1884 - 1978) helped scrub out Pumpkin Cottage after a big flood in 1930 and was a leading force in securing it exclusively for use by the Wellington Sketch & Studio Club in 1942. Higgs painted this elegant and optimistic image near the end of the Second World War. The modern reinforced concrete bridge at Silverstream was opened in 1939. Seen through a blossoming cherry tree, the painting can be interpreted as a celebration of progress and renewal. It is in marked contrast to the relentlessly grim war news then reaching New Zealand from overseas.

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