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Nineteenth Century New Zealand Artists: A Guide & Handbook

SYMONS, John Corker Vigers c.1832–1897

SYMONS, John Corker Vigers c.1832–1897

Born Penzance, Cornwall: arrived Auckland on the Excelsior 17 March 1860. Was an accountant in a law firm thought to have been Hesketh and Richmond. 1865 married Mary Mansfield Jearrard who, with sister Julia, ran a school near Queen Street for two or three years. He was one of the three initiators (with J. C. Hoyte and C. Palmer) to propose on 8 November 1869 the formation of an Art Society in Auckland. In 1882 he wrote that the idea originated with him. Was first secretary and treasurer of the Society of Artists, exhibited with them 1871–79. By 1877 was living on the North Shore on eastern slopes of Mount Victoria. Exhibited Sydney Art Ex 1872. There was some disagreement when the Auckland Society of Arts was formed and Symons never exhibited with them. Painted in oils and in watercolours; in some of the very skilful watercolours uses body colour in the foreground, and some work is reminiscent of certain of Kinder's. Was friend of painter J. C. Richmond. When he retired he tried working as a professional artist and was listed as Auckland artist 1892–95 Wise's. English artists W. C. Symonds and G. Vigers were exhibiting in London 1865–91 and 1881–1890 respectively. It is tempting to think that they were family connections of the Auckland artist. Represented: ACAG.