Image 'Crossing the Teremakau River', 1876

TLF ID R2465

This is a watercolour on paper created by Nicholas Chevalier (1828-1902) in 1876. It shows four horses, three with riders and one without, crossing a riverbed in a forest. The riders appear to be following a trail, which leads off into the distance. The artist's signature and the date are visible in the bottom right-hand corner of the work. The artwork measures 45.2 cm x 68 cm.

Educational details

Educational value
  • This asset is an example of the work of Russian-born artist Nicholas Chevalier, created as a result of his sponsorship in New Zealand from 1865 to 1866 - he was given £200 grants by both the Otago and Canterbury Provincial Councils to create works that would promote Otago and Canterbury (both in the South Island) and encourage settlers to these areas.
  • It depicts a woman, the only female in the company of men, riding determinedly on a white horse, perhaps indicating that Chevalier was accompanied by his wife Caroline - this was courageous behaviour for a European woman in that time and place, and it may have been in memory of this expedition that Caroline bequeathed the artwork to the Museum of New Zealand in 1919 after her death.
  • It is an example of a work that was completed some time after the initial expedition and is quite different from sketches made at the time - it is carefully composed and balanced, adhering to the conventions of European landscape painting, perhaps with the intention of casting the harsh coach road in a more positive light for potential settlers.
  • It provides evidence that European people sometimes misspelled unfamiliar Mäori place names - Chevalier may have misspelled the name of the Taramakau River, on the West Coast of the South Island, as 'Teremakau' River; however there is little evidence to support which spelling was commonly used at the time.

Other details

  • Content provider
  • Copyright holder
  • Organisation: Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
  • Remarks: Reproduced courtesy of the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa
  • Author
  • Date of contribution: 1876
  • Name: Nicholas Chevalier
  • Remarks: artist
  • Copyright holder
  • Date of contribution: 1919
  • Name: Caroline Chevalier
  • Organisation: Caroline Chevalier
  • Address: England
  • Remarks: Gift of Caroline Chevalier, the artist's wife, England, 1919
  • Publisher
  • Date of contribution: 29 Aug 2013
  • Organisation: Education Services Australia
  • Address: Melbourne VIC 3000 Australia
  • URL:
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  • Image
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  • © Education Services Australia Ltd and Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa, 2013, except where indicated under Acknowledgements