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Nineteenth Century New Zealand Artists: A Guide & Handbook

MERRETT, Joseph Jenner 1816–1854

MERRETT, Joseph Jenner 1816–1854

Believed to have paid visits from Sydney to Bay of Islands district in late 1830s, he was in Auckland by 1841 at least, advertising for work as a surveyor. Made drawings of Auckland for Charles Terry's New Zealand pub. 1842, and Auckland was probably his base in the 1840s (in Queen Street 1841–42, Epsom 1844) though he travelled up north and through the Waikato painting Maoris, interpreting and surveying. Joined Dieffenbach in 1842, the frontispiece of Dieffen-bach's Travels in New Zealand Vol. II being after a drawing by Merrett. In 1845 lithographs were made in London after his drawings of leading Northern Maoris and of the Remuera feast 1843; he was under the patronage of Governor Grey c.1845–c.1847 and drawings that he made are in the New Zealand Pictorial Scrap Book in the British Museum. On 31 March 1849 he advertised as recommencing his profession as a portrait and landscape painter, designer and illustrator. Was in Taranaki by 1851, in Wanganui 1852. He died in Wellington. Some of the illustrations in Thomson's Story of New Zealand pub. 1859 were made after sketches by Merrett; his work is reproduced in Augustus Hamilton's Maori Art Vol I pub. 1900. Represented: AIML, ACAG, Turnbull and Hocken.