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Nineteenth Century New Zealand Artists: A Guide & Handbook

VON TEMPSKY, Major Gustavus Ferdinand 1828–1868

VON TEMPSKY, Major Gustavus Ferdinand 1828–1868

Painter and adventurer: previously thought to have been born Silesia but born Braunsberg, Prussia, son of Prussian lieutenant. Educated Berlin Military Academy, graduating 1848. Went to Central America where he fought in Nicaragua and, after a short time at the Californian gold diggings, fought in Guatemala and Salvador. For a time lived quietly in Scotland as a married man with children but in 1858 set out for Australia: arrived Melbourne and went straight to goldfields at Bendigo; after failing to find gold applied for leadership of what became the Burke and Wills expedition. Being unsuccessful decided to take his family to New Zealand because of gold there. Arrived Auckland 1862, dug for gold at Coromandel, then settled his family in Auckland and joined the fighting in Taranaki. Became head of the Forest Rangers and led guerilla fighting against the Maoris. Was living in Grafton Road when he set out on the campaign in which he was killed by a Hau Hau fighter. His well known and fascinating watercolours, usually of Maori and British fighters in some episode of a campaign, give the New Zealand bush something of the quality of the South American jungle that he previously fought in. Work included Centennial Ex Wtn 1940. Represented: AIML, Turnbull and Hocken.