Title: Robley: Te Ropere, 1840—1930

Author: Timothy Walker

Publication details: University of Auckland, 1985, Auckland

Digital publication kindly authorised by: Timothy Walker

Part of: The Moko Texts Collection

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Robley: Te Ropere, 1840—1930


page 187


Each Catalogue entry follows a common format. A hypothetical example is given below.

Works which are unique in representing their subject are accorded individual Catalogue numbers. Where there are a number of works with an identical subject, they share a Catalogue number eg. 260a., 260b., 260c.

25. Old Woman (1985) 1. title
w/c n white cart. 2. medium/support
263 × 162 mm. 3. dimensions
sign: (ink) centre “H.R.” 4. signature
date: (ink) centre “1985” 5. date
ABC Collection EG 123 6. Collection/classification
Presented by Mrs J. Brown. 7. provenance
Inscriptions 8. inscriptions
Verso (ink, R's hand) centre [↓]*
“Old woman/1864”
9. labels, stickers etc
10. notes
11. reproductions.

*NB: this notation [↓] refers to the orientation of the inscription; in this case the inscription runs down the page, from top to bottom.

page 188


Wherever possible the title has been drawn from Robley's inscriptions. In the absence of an inscription, a title has been coined to describe the subject or nature of an image. These latter titles are given within square brackets.

A date given in brackets, after the title, refers to the year in which the original version of the image was drawn. It does not necessarily related to the year in which the specific work was executed.



The medium/media is given, followed by details of the support (paper, board, etc).

Cartridge paper (cart.) has been distinguished from lighter weights (paper).



All dimensions are in millimetres, height before width.

Where the image-size differs from the support-size, two sets of dimensions are given.

Where it was not possible to measure a work without its mount/frame, this has been denoted by the addition of the work (sight) immediately subsequent to the dimensions.



Details of the medium, placement and form of the signature are given.

Where Robley has signed or inscribed his name in more than one place, the primary example is classed as the ‘signature’. Other examples are included in the ‘inscriptions’.

Where the signature appears with other inscriptions it is still detailed as the ‘signature’. Its placement is then noted in the ‘inscriptions’ in the following manner: [sign.]



Details of the medium, placement and form of the date are given. These details refer to the date the work was executed.

Where Robley has inscribed a date which refers to the time of the event pictured, rather than the time of the work's execution, this date is recorded as an ‘inscription’, not as the ‘date’.

page 189

Collection/classification. The Institutions are as follows:

  • ACAG Auckland City Art Gallery

  • AIM Auckland Institute & Museum

  • APL Auckland Public Library

  • ATL Alexander Turnbull Library

  • Canterbury Museums, Christchurch

  • HBAGM Hawkes Bay Art Gallery & Museum, Napier

  • Hocken Library, University of Otago, Dunedin

  • NMNZ National Museum of New Zealand, Wellington

  • Tauranga Archives, Tauranga City Council

  • Tauranga Museum Tauranga District Museum & Historic Village

  • VUW Victoria University of Wellington; Library

  • WMAH Waikato Museum of Art & History, Hamilton

The classification by which a work is most commonly identified is given immediately subsequent to the ‘Collection’ details.

Any further classification is given on the following line.

Where individual works are not classified beyond their title and artist's name, the term (no class.) has been used.



Where known, details of previous owners, purchase prices and dates are given.



Transcriptions of the notes on, and adjacent to, the image are preceded by details as to the medium they are written in, in whose hand they are written, and where they are written eg. (ink, R's hand) upper left

NB:R's hand refers to ‘Robley's hand’. In all cases where other people are responsible for the inscription, the full name is given.

page 190

The Location of the inscriptions is detailed as follows

Recto: the front, or face, of the image/support

Verso: the reverse face of the image/support

Mt. Recto & Mt. Verso: the front and reverse faces of the mount

W/Mt. Recto & W/Mt. Verso: the front and reverse faces of the window mount

Robley Album: A number of the works in the National Museum Collection have been removed from a bound Album. The Album, still in the Museum Collection, contains many inscriptions.

Supplementary Sheet: In a number of cases inscriptions are continued on separate sheets of paper attached to the work or stored adjacently.

NB: In many cases works bear more extensive inscriptions than are here transcribed. The inscriptions of Museum/Library classification etc. have not been recorded.


labels, stickers, etc.

A small number of works bear these.



This information — wherever possible drawn from Robley's notes and letters — is intended to describe the subject of, and matters with direct reference to, the work.



Robley's work has been used extensively as illustrations in texts, calenders, newspapers etc. The more significant of these reproductions are listed: this is not a comprehensive list of all such usages.

In some cases, the reproduction cited in Moko; or Maori Tattooing [Robley:1986] represents a view of the subject other than that shown in the specific catalogue entry.