“Miss Scales was painting a still life of flowers and fruit [Still Life, Brentwood Avenue, Auckland [BC090]] which were arranged on a sideboard in the sparsely furnished sitting room, amongst propped-up postcards, small finished and unfinished paintings, and a treasured small square-shaped book written in French on Cézanne. (Years later she told me that the landscape reproduced on the cover of this book was painted by Cézanne from the garden or house of Paul Signac in St Tropez, that she caught glimpses of through the big gates during her frequent painting visits to that town during the nineteen-thirties. Dr Eric McCormick added an extra footnote to this by telling me that the villa next to Signac’s was occupied in 1931 by friends of Frances Hodgkins, George and Maude Burge, and that Frances Hodgkins painted in their garden that year.)”
Still Life, Brentwood Avenue, Auckland
Rounded shapes in brown, blue, green and red. Lower margin some vigorous scraping into brown paint. Mid to upper background divided into three. Diagonal of white brushwork left margin to large brown shape left of centre.
Verso pencil on strip of green repair canvas (not in artist's hand) Brentwood Avenue (now covered by frame)
Verso Upper Centre label 338
Verso UL label artwork details
Verso Left Centre (not in artist's hand) pencil 398
Donated to the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand by H. F. V. Scales, 1979
Vertical cut right of centre. Repaired with green repair canvas by James Ross, c1979. This repair is now concealed by framing.
Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand
Wellington, New Zealand
Title and date supplied by artist at time of donation, 1979.
Flora Scales lived at 38 Brentwood Avenue, Mt Eden, Auckland, 1975-1978 after she arrived in Auckland from Dunedin. During this time her major solo exhibition, Helen F.V. Scales, was held at the Auckland City Art Gallery. Scales returned to France in late 1976 for a few months before returning again to the Brentwood Avenue address in May 1977. She resided there until 26 October 1978 when she moved to the Rotorua Masonic Village until just before her death in January 1985.
Scales cut this canvas vertically right of centre, possibly with a penknife. Repaired with an attachment of green canvas backing by James Ross, prior to the donation in 1979. Toss Woollaston, on a visit to the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, 1992, observed that the cut would have been “an accident of a private nature.” This repair is now concealed by framing.
Alexander Turnbull Library documentation notes, “The artist would set up still life studies on a sideboard against a wallpaper background, shows tea-cosy on the left with pears and a posy of flowers in vase.”