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Frank Barnes  - Maritime Painter

"The artist was a shepherd" 
S.S.'Waiwera' off The Cape, South Africia with the 2nd NZ Contingent.
S.S. Waiwera - Off Cape South Africa with the 2nd New Zealand Contingent.

Frank Barnes, 1859 - 1941, one of New Zealand's most prolific and treasured maritime artists, lead a solitary life. He has extreme significance in the history of New Zealand maritime art because of the length of his career that spanned the transition from sail to steam power. His painting career spanned forty years with eighty of his works identified in New Zealand. He painted ships he saw from the time he arrived (believed to have jumped ship in Wellington) in the 1890s. His earliest works dating from 1899 and the most recent recorded as 1940. He painted from memory with considerable accuracy, utilising his association with ships before becoming a shepherd as his source of reference.  His oil paintings featured a range of vessels, from the Wellington harbour tug 'Toia' to the Royal Navy cruiser 'HMS New Zealand' and coastal traders to ocean going passenger liners that passed through the Wellington Heads where he lived in a muster's hut and painted vessels from the window. Frank was a highly competent maritime painter in the naive style.

His work is well represented in both the Auckland and Wellington Maritime Museums and there are a number of his works in public collections around the country as well as in public institutions overseas. The Edmiston Gallery, Auckland National Maritime Museum*, Viaduct Harbour in Auckland held an exhibit 'A Shepherd and his Ships' 1 March - 5 June 2006 featuring sixty works by Frank Barnes. The museum have 13 paintings by this artist and at the moment in July 2006 six are on display - SS Waiwera [above], SS Ionic, Britannic, Rimutaka, County of Inverness, USSCo SS Manuka.

The Museum of City and Sea, Queens' Wharf ,Wellington, holds 51 works by Frank Barnes, mainly paintings with a small number of painted eggs and feathers. There are none on display at the moment (July 2006) but the Museum held a temporary exhibition (from August 9, 2005 for a few months) called 'A Shepherd and His Ships' featuring most of the works (70 works). Ships featured include the Maori (II), Wahine (I), Rangatira (I), Awatea, Penguin, Corinthic, Ionic, Waiwera and others.

He was a sailor and it is believed to have jumped ship he lived in Wellington during the late 1890s and lived on Hawker Street, Mt Victoria where he was commissioned to paint the Union Steam Ship Company vessel Takapuna, by her engineer, George Robinson. The painting was inherited by his grandson Graeme Smith who had been enthralled by the painting as a young boy. Graeme asked for the painting and enquired about the artist. He remembered his grandfather saying 'Frank is always drunk but he paints good ships' Locals would purchase Frank's paintings. It is said that he would go into town about once a year to 'knock back his cheque', then having spent it all, he would paint ship paintings for the patron to pay for more drink.

Frank was also a shepherd and the majority of his life from 1895 worked and lived alone in a muster's hut that became known as 'Barney's Whare' on the isolated Orongorongo Station, near Turakirae Head, Palliser Bay, Wairarapa, between the Wainuiomata and Mukamuka Rivers. Turakirae Head is a promontory on the southern coast of New Zealand's North Island. It is located at the western end of Palliser Bay, 20 kilometres southeast of Wellington, at the southern end of the Rimutaka Ranges. He had wonderful outlook from the window of his hut, where he painted, a view of Cook Strait and vessels entering and leaving the Wellington harbour. He loved his hut and never wanted to leave it but when time came he was unable to live alone Barney's employers, the Riddliford's who owned Orongorongo Station, Eric Riddiford move Frank to town in 1941 and paid for him to stay in a High Street, Lower Hutt hotel. Frank Barnes died in the Wellington Public Hospital on 27 April, 1941 from hypostatic pneumonia after fracturing his arm at age 82 years. He is buried in Taita Cemetery, Hutt City, in a grave that was marked in May 2006. Money was raised to put a Memorial Plaque on his grave at Taita and was unveiled 10 May 2006. The death registration said he was born in Southampton, England. Cannot identify him on electoral rolls as there were there were other Frank Barnes in Lower Hutt in the 1930s.


S.S. Wainui off Pencarrow, Wellington

NZHS Marama off Pencarrow, Wellington, by moonlight.
Collection of Museum of Wellington City & Sea

Tasman liner, Awatea, passing the S.S. Tamahine off Pencarrow. Oil on board. 


Awatea		Tasman Liner, passing the S.S. Tamahine off Pencarrow. Oil on paper affixed to board. 45 x 62cm
County of Inverness*
Corinthic s.s.	Of Pencarrow, Wellington. 1911. Oil on Canvas. 27.2 x 43.3 in. / 69.2 x 109.9 cm
Cutty Sark off the Eddystone English Channel	410 mm x 540 mm oil $4000 in 2010
Cutty Sark 	clipper on seagull feather 19cm
Delphic		frame width 77.4 cm. Height 55 cm
S.S DORIC 	Passing Icebergs Homeward Bound W.844mm. H.558mm
Five mast barque in full sail flying a French flag, off the Kaikouras. [1921?] range of snowy mountains in distance
France 		French Barque off New Zealand Coast by Moonlight. 
		Oil on board, 28 x 39 cm, signed F.B. Lower Right, dated 1928, dated verso Saturday July 28th 1928. NZ Exhib. 1899 - 1930
SS Hinemoa 	N.Z.G. off the Kaikoura's, NZ -  Te Papa, Wellington
Maheno during heavy weather off the Kaikouras - the Union Company's fine turbine steamer in 1907
Maori 		(II)
Maori TSS 	Off Sinclair Head, Wellington Oil on board 50 x 77
SS Manuka* 	USSCo.
NZHS Marama off Pencarrow, Wellington, by Moonlight - Museum of Wellington City & Sea 600x850x30mm oil on board
Mararoa ss 	Uss Co Off The Kaikouras 1910 42.5 x 61cm
Monowai S.S 	in a Gale Oil on board 49.0 x 74
New Zealand	HMS	36 x 61.5 cm 1910. inscribed lower left HMS New Zealand/Passing Pencarrow/Wellington
Oamaru 		Ss & A Co. Clipper Ship Off The Kaikoura 1911 Oil on canvas 46 x 65
Pamir		Wellington City & Sea Museum
Rangatira 	(I)
Remuera 	off Sinclair Head 1911, from the P&O Heritage Collection, London, indefinite loan to Maritime Museum AKL
Rotomahana s.s. On a heavy sea off Cape Campbell. Oil  78.00cm x 53.00cm $1,800-$2,500 Signed lower right
Takapuna	Uss Co. commissioned by her engineer, George Robinson, to paint her in the 1890s
Tasmania s.s.	Oil on Board  Size 13 x 15.4 in. / 33 x 39 cm 
Titanic		oil on board 39.5 x 24.5 in. 1912
Tofua 		Clam Shell with painting of TSS Tofua
Toia 		Wellington harbour tug 
Wahine 		S.S. off Pencarrow, Wellington photo Wahine (I),  (opens in another window)
Wainui S.S.	off Pencarrow, Wellington oil on board 48 x 75 cm
Waiwera	S.S. 	Off The Cape S.A. With The 2nd NZ Contingent. NZ troopship 
Waiwera 	Oct 24th 1899. Departure of the SS Waiwera 59.5 x 99 cm oil on board. Signed Frank Barnes.
		Broadside view of the Waiwera steamship at sea, with troops visible standing on its decks. Escorting Steamers Returning to port.
Waiwera SS  	escorting steamers returning to pt & farewell to NZ Continent bound to Transvaal from WTG N.Z.'99
Waiwera 	Oil. Opens in new window. Leaving Wellington Jan. 20th 1900 the 2nd NZ Contingent for S. Africa. 
William Brown 	sold on trade me in 2010

 Inscribed lower left: HMS New Zealand passing Pencarrow, Wellington
HMS New Zealand passing Pencarrow, Wellington

HMS New Zealand was a gift from the Dominion of New Zealand to the British Government. She first saw action in the "Battle of the Heligard Bight" in the North Sea, 28 August 1914. At approximately 12:58pm, HMS New Zealand engaged with the German cruiser HMS Koln. After 20 minutes HMS New Zealand had fired 82 shells at the Koln and then fired two torpedoes at her. One caused a vast explosion and flame burst up high. HMS Lion fired two salvoes and the Koln sank by the bows.

Departure of the three masted SS Waiwera from Wellington, Oct. 21 1899 with NZ Contingent for the Transvaal.
Escort of steamers returning to port.

The first contingent of New Zealand troops departed for the Boer War at 5pm October 21st, 1899. They were the first colonials to land in South Africa direct from the colonies. The NSW lancers departed from England after training there. It is estimated up to 60,000 people witnessed the SS Waiwera departure, many had travelled many hours by stage coach or train to witness this historic event. The SS Waiwera was escorted out of the harbour by 14 steamers and was farewelled by the Governor General, Lord Ranfurly, and the New Zealand Premier, Richard Seddon, on board the SS Tutanekai. The SS Waiwera arrived at Table Bay, Capetown, on the 23rd November, 1899. Soldiers in uniform are standing to attention in lines on the decks. In the immediate foreground is a rowboat containing five figures. Behind the SS 'Waiwera', are other escorting ships, in front of a background of the Orongorongos. Most of the escorting steamers face back to the left with only one, the SS 'Tutanekai' facing to the right. They include (from left): SS 'Rotorua', SS 'Duchess', SS 'Te Anau', SS 'Takapuna', SS 'Tutanekai', SS 'Mokoia' and the small 'Ellen Ballance'.

'U.S.S Co S.S "Manuka" off The Kaikouras' battling stormy seas beneath threatening skies. Dated 1912. Oil

'S.S Doric passing icebergs homeward bound'

New Zealand Bound

Waimate Daily Advertiser, 22 March 1900, Page 2
A ship captain, writing to the Hawke's Bay Herald, says that he cleared his ship of rats by giving his men a glass of rum for each one they caught. The work was done thoroughly and well.