||Attributed to J.P. (James Park) Murray, Erina Station, about 1873 - 1883, watercolour on paper. Bequeathed in 1970 by Miss Janet Bell, who was born there in 1881.
Erina Station lay on the south bank of the Wairau River and was one of the original parcels of Marlborough land surveyed in the 1850s. William Bell purchased the 6000 odd acres in 1873 and farmed it with his wife Emma, sons William and James and daughter Janet.
The station boasted a backdrop of Marlborough's characteristic bleached hills with their deep shadows, and the established trees suggest this view of the property was painted during the decade the Bells owned the station.
The folds in the paper show the painting was stored away and the frame indicates it was framed and displayed some time later. When the acidic cardboard mount is removed the artist's signature and date may be revealed.
Charmingly na´ve details such as flowers around the front porch of the homestead and small flock of sheep near the bridge over the creek suggest the artist is James Park Murray (c.1842 - 1925). He painted similar idyllic views of Fred Smith's farm at Tua Marina, William Farnell's sawmill south of Havelock and Taituku pa in Pelorus Valley. All these valuable records of settlements in Marlborough during the 1880s have the places hand- written beneath.
Erina Station was sold to the Crown in 1917 to be broken up into small farms to settle soldiers returned from the first World War.
Label for Hidden Gems exhibition July to September 2014 written by Jane Vial, Guest Curator.