Ramblings of a much published New Zealand author

02 January 2011

New Zealand Odyssey: Edwardian Shops in Queen Street, Auckland

When I illustrated this row of shops, 456 to 486 Queen Street, in 1987, they were falling apart but by the time the book was published in 1989 they had been bought and were in the process of rehabilitation as 'Chinatown'. They were built in 1912 and made a wonderful subject for watercolour. Without realizing it at the time my illustration itself would be historic because the post office van in the drawing carried the livery of both New Zealand Post and Telecom who had become two separate companies under state privatization. The new graphic presentation of the van was half finished.

This was a tricky subject because what looks like a front elevation is actually in perspective as you can see from the canopies over the footpath in front of the shops. Our book, 'New Zealand Odyssey' had a reversible cover, on one side was one of  Euan Sarginson's photographs while on the other, this illustration stretched from the back to the front and round the spine.


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By Don Donovan