Function and Fancy – Decorative Arts from the Sarjeant Gallery Collection and beyond
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Function and Fancy – Decorative Arts from the Sarjeant Gallery Collection and beyond

Maker unknown ‘Grand Tour Fan’ hand painted chicken skin with ivory sticks and guards, 1950/3/9. Collection of the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui, bequest of Miss F.J. Montgomery Moore, 1950.

Function and Fancy- Decorative Arts from the Sarjeant Gallery collection and beyond

21 January – 21 May 2017

31 & 38 Taupo Quay
This exhibition shows household and decorative items from two local historic homesteads alongside the Gallery’s collection of decorative arts and coincides with Vintage Weekend Whanganui (21-23 January 2017).

Tōtarapuka homestead was built by settlers Andrew Duncan and his wife Margaret who arrived in Whanganui in 1841 from Scotland via Wellington.  Throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries the homestead was a coach stop for horse-drawn carriages passing through Whanganui and the family were known for their hospitality.  Andrew Duncan’s daughter Isabel married Charles Mackay, the former Mayor of Whanganui.  Isabel’s youngest daughter Josephine lived at Tōtarapuka until the property was sold in 1972.  What remains of the original house today forms part of the Acacia Park Motel on Anzac Parade.  In 2008 Josephine Duncan bequeathed her personal effects to the Whanganui Regional Museum.  The bequest included items of furniture brought to NZ by her family throughout the 19th century, as well as ceramics, jewellery, decorative arts, and textiles.


Coalport porcelain tea set 1871, 1940/3/1A-E. Collection of the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui, gift of E Wilson, 1940.

Early settlers Annie and James Glenny Wilson built Lethenty homestead in 1915 in Bulls, Rangitikei, after their original family residence, which they had occupied since 1874, burnt down.  Furniture and household items were purchased by family members from antique shops and auction houses in Scotland and England in the early years and during the First World War.  The house has been continuously occupied by three generations of the same family and, apart from losses sustained during the fire, the majority of the original furniture and effects remain intact.

Selected items including ceramics, silverware and glassware from both homesteads will be displayed in the object gallery upstairs at 31 Taupō Quay from Saturday 21st January 2017 alongside decorative arts from the Sarjeant Gallery’s own collection.  Furniture items will be displayed at Sarjeant on the Quay’s main facility, at 38 Taupō Quay, from 25 January 2017 onwards.

The Gallery has organised a day trip and tour of Lethenty on Saturday 28 January 2017 for Friends of the Sarjeant.  Join the Friends of the Sarjeant

Past Exhibitions 2017