Margaret Stoddart 1865 - 1934
"Born 150 years ago in a modest prefabricated cottage at Diamond Harbour (named by her father Mark after the sunlight that sparkled over the water), Stoddart belonged to a family that appreciated both art and nature. As a foundation student at the newly opened Canterbury College School of Art, her interest in indigenous plants was encouraged, with new specimens brought in weekly for examination and sketching. She was also an early member of the 'Palette Club', an association of Christchurch artists founded in 1889 that was dedicated to working en plein air, in direct response to nature. Letters to her friend Rosa Dixon record her response to the landscape – and her willingness to venture out in all weathers: "You should have seen the effect of the hills round Pigeon Bay in the storm on Saturday, the tops were white with snow, they seemed to tower up into the sky through the storm".
As well as capturing familiar scenes around Banks Peninsula (an acquaintance recalls nearly parting company with his horse when it was startled by the painter, tucked into a crevice, studying a mountain daisy), Stoddart sketched and 'botanised' throughout the Mount Cook region, often walking long distances over rough terrain despite restrictive colonial attire to search out rare plants and compelling views of the high country. She also sketched regularly at Sumner and New Brighton, capturing the coastline in various conditions.”
Felicity Milburn, The Press 2015
Dimensions: 340mm W x 240mm H
Framed Dimensions: 600mm W x 510mm H