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"Merope"
New Zealand Bound

London to Lyttelton, New Zealand 1876

The Ship Merope, from London.
This fine ship, under the command of Captain Sutherland, arrived in harbour this morning after a passage of 91 days from London, all well on board. 37 passengers.

 Reference online:  'Papers Past' - a NZ National Library website. 
The Star
28th September 1876  pg2

The Merope
Lyttelton, Arrived - Sept. 28 - Merope, ship, 1062 tons, Sutherland, from London.

Passengers - saloon:
Andrews 	Mr 
Bell 		Mr J.A. M. 
Cotterill 	Miss
Mitchell 	Mr E
Mitchell 	Mr A.P.
Morriss 	Mr A.P.
Taylor 		Mr H.
Urvic 		Mr R.
Walker 		Mr and Mrs W.S.

Second Cabin
Gibb 		Mr and Mrs John
Menzies 	Misses (2)
Paterson 	Mr and Mrs Alex.
Paterson 	Misses (3)
Paterson 	Masters (4)
Todd 		Mr H.

Steerage
Atkin 		Mr H
Bannet 		Mr and Mrs
Bradybrooke 	Mrs
Hazel 		Mr and Mrs
Heinrisch 	Mr H
Kaiper 		Mr W
Leslie 		Mr J
Slater 		Mr J S
Slater 		Mr A.H.
Soler 		Mr
Stephenson 	Mr

The Star Friday 29 September 1876 pg2
This ship was signalled early yesterday morning, and, the wind being slight from the north-east, she came quickly up the harbour, anchoring off Rhodes' Bay at 10.30a.m. She is till under the command of Captain Sutherland, who has again brought the good ship out safely, this being her seventh voyage. A noticeable feature this trip is her painted ports, which certainly cannot be said to improve her appearance, the old colour, green, suiting the vessel far better, and marking the contrast between Shaw, Saville's ships and those of the N.Z.S. Co. more distinctly. From a few appearances on deck, it was easily seen that the Merope had not had an entirely fine-weather passage. She brings a number of saloon, second cabin, and steerage passengers, who are unanimous in testifying to the ability displayed by Captain Sutherland as a commander, as well as to the kind and courteous treatment that each have received at his hands during the voyage. The second cabin was situated in the house on deck, and the steerage in the 'tween decks aft, and seem to have been after the usual style of such compartment. On deck were two splendid short-horned bulls, which have arrived in excellent condition, and show that they have been well cared for during the passage. There was also a kennel of finely-bred greyhound pups, littered on the passage. It is the intention of the passengers to present Captain Sutherland with an illuminated address, testifying their appreciation of his kindness, &c. throughout the voyage.

The following is Capt. Sutherland's report - The Merope left Gravesend June 27, and was towed down to the Downs, where sail was set the same day, the wind being light from the west and south-west, and prevalling with thick fog down the Channel. Landed the pilot off the Start Point June 30, ...Thence to the latitude of Tasmania experienced very rough and unsettled weather, which, in 47 south, and 90 east, culminated in a terrific cyclone, commencing on Sept. 7 from the north, and lasting for several hours. It then shifted westward, blowing with great violence for 24 hours, suddenly dying away to calm for a few hours. Then it commenced again with equal force from the southward, raising a fearful sea. Captain Sutherland states that in all his former experience at sea he had never seen so terrific gale, the seaworthinness of the good ship being tested to the uttermost. A large portion of the bulwarks was carried away, and part of the poop damaged, but throughout the whole gale the Merope behaved most admirably, deeply laden as she was. The Snares where sighted at 2 p.m. on Sept. 23, thus making the passage from land to land in 84 days. Light northerly winds prevalled up the Coast. Banks Peninsula being sighted on Tuesday, and the vessel was off the Heads on Wednesday evening, when the wind died away to a calm. The Merope brings a large cargo and is consigned to Messrs Dalgety, Nichols, and Co.


 I feel this is a ship John Gibb saw or sailed on .....Can't quite see John Gibb on the deck slapping on the paint to the canvass!!
Done from sketch and memory, or maybe he caught up with her later in dock ...

Sailing Ships off Cape of Good Hope by John Gibb.
To correctly decode the signal flags in a marine painting it is necessary make a rough estimate of the date of the picture and often also to determine the nationality of the ship. 1876: This is a British ship, off Cape of Good Hope, South Africa, as the red ensign is hoisted and is flown aft on entering or leaving any foreign port. On the mainmast there is a Blue Peter: A blue flag with a white square in the centre, flown to signal that a ship is ready to sail.

Taranaki Herald, 1 January 1887, Page 3
Two of Mr. John Gibb's pictures " A Stiff Breeze, Cook's Straits," and ''On the Avon, Christchurch," sold for 25 each.

John Gibb, 78, a realist marine artist, died on 10 September 1909. 
Marion Menzies, 62, wife of John Gibb, died on 27 May 1891.
William Menzies Gibb, 1859-1931, one of John and Marion son's, was a painter highly regarded in his day and today.
John Gibb born in Cumbernauld, Scotland. His tutor was John McKenzie at Greenock and in 1861. Emigrated to New Zealand with his wife and four sons. Interesting to see the sons are missing in the newspaper item above listing the passengers.

The Otago Witness 15 September 1909 pg. 25
The death is announced at Christchurch of Mr John Gibb, who has been termed the "Father of Painting" in Canterbury. The deceased gentleman was born in Scotland in 1831, and studied art under Mr John Mackenzie of Greenock. He came to New Zealand in 1876, and immediately turned his attention to the characteristic scenes to be found in the bush and notable scenery in the Southern Alps made the main features of the district widely known. Mr Gibb was versatile painter, and among his best pictures were some very realistic seascapes and his treatment of wave effects and details of shipping was always remarkable. When Mr Gibb landed in new Zealand oil painting was little thought of, and he had a long uphill battle against adverse conditions. In the midst of a busy career he found time for many hobbies, and as a bowler he was great enthusiast, being one of the best known members of the Christchurch Club. The deceased gentleman leaves three sons - Mr W. Menzies Gibb, an artist of no mean ability; Mr J.W. Gibb, who has an extensive business in Christchurch as an art dealer; and Mr H.B. Gibb, who is in business in Geelong.

Otago Witness, 24 December 1902, Page 23 MR. JOHN GIBB.
This veteran artist is a native of Scotland, and his pictures of "Life on the Ocean Wave" sea and sky, still sunset, water with bright lights reflected in it; or grey, storm tossed barques in greater or less danger are familiar to all art lovers in the colony. Mr John Gibb was born in Dumbartonshire in the year 1831. He early showed a love of drawing, and was permitted, nay encouraged, to develop this natural taste, his interest being stimulated by regular visits to the art exhibitions in Edinburgh, Glasgow, and Greenock, where he learned to appreciate the work of other men, and set up an art standard for himself. Later on he removed to, and settled down on, the Firth of Clyde, where he had every opportunity of studying sky, sea, and shipping, as well as the land scenery of mountain and gorge ; and here he worked hard, as all must who desire proficiency in any pursuit, and here, too, he had the benefit of studying in the studio of the late John M'Kenzie, a prominent Scotch painter. Art schools were not then so common as they are now ; nor was the task of the neophyte made quite so easy for him in any walk of life ; so our young artist had to work hard with little help and encouragement, but he persevered, and in time became a regular exhibitor at most of the exhibitions of the leading Scottish art societies, where he achieved a fair measure of success. But the spirit of adventure natural to a Scot, and the stories that reached him of the beauty and prosperity of our Southern Britain, induced him to leave his native country and embark for New Zealand. In 1876 he reached Christchurch with his family, and there he has remained ever since, following his chosen profession with steady industry worthy of example and admiration, and which bids fair to make him the rival of the fine old English painter, Sydney Cooper, R.A., who last year executed several fine paintings at the age of 96 ; and also G. F. Watts, R.A., who, at the age of 84, is still producing some of the finest creative work of the day. If this is a " young man's era," as some have said, it must be confessed that it will not be without difficulty that they hold their own against such veterans as these.


The Wreck of the City of Perth
This 1883 oil painting is at the Auckland Art Museum

Northerly aspect of Erskine Bay, Lyttelton

William Menzies-Gibb (1859-1931)
A Canterbury painter known mainly for pastoral scenes. Born Innellan, Scotland, son of painter John Gibb. Initially studied under his father at his Dunoon Academy. Arrived in New Zealand with parents 1876.Travelled to Melbourne to study at National Gallery School c.1877 - c.1879: Returned to Christchurch c.1882 and like his father, he established himself as a professional artist and teacher. In 1910 visited England and painted there. Retained the Scots pronunciation and was usually known as `Mingies` Gibb.  He was a regular exhibitor with the Canterbury Society of Arts and a past President of the Society. Represented in most major galleries in New Zealand, and Waikato Art Museum. The New Zealand National Maritime Museum in Auckland has three paintings by John Gibb and two by William Menzies Gibb. He died at 229 Worcester Street in July 1931. Peel Kaikorua
"Timaru Harbour. 1888." Oil on canvas is at the Aigantighe, in Timaru.

Otago Witness, 24 December 1902, Page 14 Mr MENZIES GIBB
It is always pleasant to see a son following in the footsteps of his father, as it shows much sympathy between the two; but this, in artistic circles, is particularly rare. In New Zealand, however, we have some notable examples, and Mr Menzies Gibb is one. He is the son of the well-known artist, Mr John Gibb, and was born on the banks of the Clyde, Scotland, a spot which has been singularly rich in art associations, arising partly from the picturesque scenery, and also the encouragement afforded to budding artists by the excellent school in Glasgow. At the age of 15 Mr Gibb accompanied his parents to New Zealand, and before and after his arrival in the colony he studied with his father, and under his direction ; always, however, being encouraged to discover and pursue his own individual bent. At the age of 17 he went to Melbourne to work in the National Gallery in that town. He remained there about two years, and then returned to Christchurch, where he has resided ever since (about 18 years), painting and teaching, and receiving recognition and encouragement from the lovers of art throughout New Zealand. Unlike many of his fellows, Mr M. Gibb has led a singularly uneventful life, and if we may apply to him the old adage that "the woman and the country that has no history is happy," then we may postulate for this artist a contented and peaceful mind, which indeed would appear to be shown by his choice of subjects stretches of the Avon, the New Brighton Coast, the marshes near Sumner, homely and pastoral scenes, in which the true lover of nature finds a nameless, penetrating charm often wanting in wilder scenery. Of the triumphs of his school and student days Mr Gibb modestly remarks : " I have taken medals for both figure and landscape," but supplies no further details. Obviously such youthful triumphs are already forgotten. For some years after his return to New Zealand, Mr M. Gibb gave himself, chiefly to portraiture, generally considered a very remunerative branch of the profession, but latterly he has devoted himself almost entirely to landscape, in which his chief successes are to be found in his pastoral and marshy subjects, especially in the latter, where the effect of long stretches of water reflecting a clear or sunset sky enables the artist to introduce fine effects of colour, which are, of course, lost in our black and white reproductions, though some idea of their possibilities may be divined by the careful student. The aerial perspective to which such effects owe their greatest charm can be only slightly indicated. For many years Mr M. Gibb has been an active member of the Canterbury Art Society, in which he has exhibited, as well as in all the leading art galleries at Home and in the colonies. Last year he was elected vice-president of the Canterbury Art Society, and he is also on the committee of the Christchurch Savage Club, where, on the ladies' nights, his lightning sketches form quite a feature of the programme.

The Aigantighe, in Timaru has William Menzies Gibb painting Timaru Harbour, 1888, oil on canvas on display in the South Canterbury room.