Olivia Spencer Bower (1905-82)
Olivia Spencer Bower, was born in St Neots, Huntingdonshire, England, but emigrated to New Zealand with her family in 1920.
Olivia, encouraged from her early years by her mother, painter Rosa Dixon, pursued her artistic career seriously throughout her life. She established her reputation as one of New Zealand's most gifted practitioners of watercolour early in her career. During the nineteen-twenties and thirties, a period in which New Zealand women artists flourished, Olivia aligned herself with a circle of artists, which formed the basis for The Group and the New Zealand Artists’ Society, including such other significant artists as Louise Henderson, Rita Angus, Evelyn Page, Rata Lovell-Smith, Flora Scales, Lois White and Doris Lusk.
She was one of the few women artists of her time who supported herself financially to pursue her painting career with professional purpose and was a key modernist figure in the New Zealand art world during the mid twentieth century.