06 Sep 2022

Tuesday 06 September 2022

Correspondence from 1957 to 1960 between Cecil Thomas and Board Chairman Mr. F. A. Hellaby has recently been digitised and is available to view online in the archive catalogue. 

KC154 Newspageheader 4 From The Archives


The Archive Department holds a collection of correspondence between Cecil Thomas and Board ChairmanMr F A Hellaby (1904–08) regarding the design and making of the Major memorial that stands outside the Chapel and Abbott buildings. The correspondence dates from 1957 to 1960 and has recently been digitised and is available to view online in the archive catalogue.

English sculptor Cecil Thomas (1885–1976), known for his bronze memorials, medal engraving and coin commissions for the Royal Mint, was selected as the artist due to his reputation, having sculpted the portrait of Queen Elizabeth II on the 1953 Coronation Medal.

The correspondence describes the artistic and practical processes involved in the commissioning of the memorial, including considerations for the stone of the plinth and how it would weather in the New Zealand climate. Along with letters, Thomas sent photographs of his sketch models, the first being quite small.

He wrote: “a little sketch model only 12 inches high, and so the hands and face are very small, and will be much more studied in the larger work. What the sketch model does show is the POSE, which is a going forward, a looking forward, something steady and purposeful, avoiding anything dramatic, yet thoughtful and determined, facing the future with calm assurance. I think these are the qualities the statue should show.”


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