Corner Victoria Street & Queen Street 1860’s
2022 Oil on Canvas 600mm x 1200mm
Before the cold and emotionless establishment of the office high rise, before the tram lines and the tangled mess of the accompanying power lines, and before the road was even partially sealed to any degree of flatness, there was Queen Street, Auckland in the 1860's.
A street filled with small businesses far removed in location to what exists there now, from wholesalers to ironmongers, and from chemists to grocers, Queen Street had to carry all the conveniences of a growing city in the corner of the world caught in the midst of the industrial revolution.
The buildings are mostly brick and wood, with a facade of plaster coloured in concrete, stone or painted brick. Their structural aesthetics were precise and to the point with very little added flair and advertising- which was only really starting to take off during this period.
Despite many of the buildings being very compact and grouped, signs of the city's status were beginning to take shape with the newly completed Union bank of Australia dominating the western side of the street, and one of the many central Auckland hotels- The Greyhound hotel on the Eastern side.
This view of Queen st looking towards the harbour is seen from the intersection of Victoria Street West and Queen St. The painting has been meticulously researched based on the existing images of Queen St dating from 1860 to 1880 to make the buildings, coaches, wagons and the clothing as accurate as possible.
I wanted to show Queen St in Auckland as a bustling location of importance, but with the aesthetic appeal of a small colonial town without the stale and uninspiring trappings of a city undergoing rapid technological change, which was going to revolutionize the area before the end of the 19th Century.