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Nineteenth Century New Zealand Artists: A Guide & Handbook

MONTGOMERY, William H. 1866–1958

page 172

MONTGOMERY, William H. 1866–1958

Born in Opawa, Christchurch, son of Hon. W. Montgomery: educated at the Wiggins School in Akaroa; in 1874 at Christ's College; then, after an illness, at Baker's School, French Farm (an early Gordonstoun-type of school) and in 1881 to Christchurch Boys' High School, his name being first on the roll. In 1882 went to Canterbury College; 1884 to Balliol College, Oxford, taking Jurisprudence and gaining First Class honours. Studied for the Bar in London. After working as a barrister he took a year off to study art before he returned to New Zealand. Had six months at St Johns Wood Art School, then six months at Julian Academy, Paris. After he returned to New Zealand spent little time as a lawyer but farmed at Little River, Banks Peninsula, and became MP for Ellesmere. But his year of art stood him in good stead for the rest of his life. He had travelled in Europe while at Oxford, and later he travelled nearly every winter; in the Pacific, Mexico, the USA, in Asia, especially the south-east, and he painted wherever he was. While in Mexico in the 1920s he managed to visit Diego Rivera whose painting he greatly admired, and who was at that time sheltering Trotsky. Montgomery's work must often have been advanced for his time: some thin little oils of Banks Peninsula subjects have a high light key like William Leigh but a very modern technique. He continued painting until his death. Exhibited CSA from 1891.