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Nineteenth Century New Zealand Artists: A Guide & Handbook

PEELE, James 1846/7–1905

PEELE, James 1846/7–1905

Known for his oil paintings of scenic beauties. Born Geelong, Australia and had his first art lessons there. Put to business when 14 years old: worked as bank clerk in Adelaide then probably in about 1865 arrived in New Zealand and worked for the Bank of New Zealand in Invercargill; was branch manager in Rangiora and in Amberley 1883. In 1889 resigned on a pension owing to deafness, and having been an amateur painter in watercolours for some time now decided to take up painting as a profession. Went to Melbourne to study and won 1st prize and the gold medal of the Victorian Society of Artists for a painting of the Otira Gorge. Was expelled from the Society in 1892 for literally taking his paintings out of a show after show was hung, because the committee had rejected what he thought was his best work. Taught and painted in Adelaide and in Melbourne making three-monthly excursions to New Zealand in the summers, visiting the West Coast Sounds on the Tarawera and making many sketches to develop the rest of the year. He must have visited Christchurch 1898–99 as was listed as Christ-church artist in Wise's. In 1902 returned to New Zealand to live with his daughter and son-in-law H. E. Hargreaves at New Brighton, Christchurch, where he died. Exhibited: OAS and CSA 1881–87; NZ Industrial Ex Wtn 1885; Centennial Ex, Melbourne 1888–89; St. Louis Exposition 1904. Represented: CSA, Hocken, and National Library of Melbourne.