John Gully migrated to New Zealand in his early 30s and, after some initial difficulties, established himself in Nelson in the 1860s – first as an art teacher at Nelson College and then as draughtsman for the province's survey office. He painted a large number of watercolours, and his favourite subjects were mountains and sea – the popular subjects for painters evoking the sublime. Unlike much of his work, which portrays the Southern Alps, this example is set in Fiordland; but the green foreground, rough water with the lone sailing ship, steep mountains and stormy clouds are characteristic elements of this type of painting. Gully's work was a highly popular choice for inclusion in international and national exhibitions, where it served to advertise New Zealand's dramatic scenery, and he won a considerable following among locals too. However, by the late 20th century Gully was regarded as too conventional to rank as an outstanding New Zealand painter.
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Auckland Art Gallery – Toi o Tāmaki
Watercolour by John Gully, 1878
Permission of Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki must be obtained before any re-use of this image.