British Empire Exhibition

The British Empire Exhibition, 23.04.1924 - 31.10.1925, held at the Palace of Arts at Wembley Park, Wembley, England, was designed to strengthen bonds within the Empire, stimulate trade and demonstrate British greatness. Fifty-six out of the fifty-eight countries of the British Empire participated. New Zealand was represented by a collection of 39 paintings which were predominantly landscapes.

Flora Scales’s correspondence with James Ingram McDonald (1865-1935), 16.09.[1923] and 11.[11.1923] [detailed below] shows that he had warned her about the impending due date for submissions to the Wembley Exhibition. Scales sent her work, New Shoes for Old, to the selection committee at the McGregor Wright Gallery, Wellington, New Zealand. It was accepted and was catalogued as “No. 10, Gallery Y” in the exhibition catalogue (pg 73).

Before the paintings left New Zealand a selection was shown at the Wellington Art Gallery, 8.12.1923 - 14.12.1923, including New Shoes for Old.

The New Zealand and South Seas Exhibition, held in Dunedin, New Zealand, 17.11.1925 - 01.05.1926, showed work returned from the British Empire Exhibition. As Scales’s painting was not catalogued it could be surmised to have sold in England for its modest price of £5 5s.


161 Glover Road
16th September [1923]

Dear Mr McDonald

I have been intending to write and thank you for your letter about the pictures for the Empire Exhibition but somehow I really have never had the time – I am pretty busy with the housework during the day and alas! pretty tired at night! Will endeavor to get something done for it and at this present time am spending a few days in Waverley on a holiday but the weather is unfavourable so doubt if I will get much sketching! Many thanks for telling me about Miss Richmond’s show! [D. K. Richmond]. I love some of her things more than I can say and am so glad they had a show of hers! Miss Dobbie has had great success with her work in having one purchased by the Auckland Art Society! Wish I could see all the pictures for the E Exhibition before they are shipped but I haven’t got the least chance.

Mt Egmont is looking most beautiful at present in its draperies of white, too beautiful for one to attempt to paint! The country round here is most fascinating on a fine day, the green fields go right down to the sea many of which are divided by golden gorse hedges: on the two most thrilling days I was painting a foxhound. And now when I want to be out of doors I can’t because it’s wet! However I’ll hope for the fine weather to come!

Are you sending anything to the Exhibition I hope so? Now once more thank you for your kind letter and hoping you are quite well.

Believe me
Yours very sincerely
Flora Scales


42 Ngamotu Beach
New Plymouth
Sunday 11th [November 1923]

Dear Mr McDonald

Thank you very much for your communication of November, which has just come to hand re pictures for the Empire Exhibition. I am delighted to see the sending in date is fixed for later and will send my one small sketch to McGregor Wright’s at once.

Once more thanking you
Yours faithfully
Flora Scales


23 April, 1924
— 31 October, 1925


Palace of Arts, Wembley Park


Wembley, London, England

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