Author(s): Iain Sharp
Even by the versatile standards of Victorian pioneers, Charles Heaphy had an unusually varied career, as a draughtsman, explorer, surveyor, gold agent, geologist, soldier, war hero, politician, land commissioner and judge. Most importantly, however, for decades Heaphy painted and sketched what he saw. From his earliest surviving watercolour of birdlife in the Marlborough Sounds in August 1839 to his last known sketch, drawn on the back of an envelope, showing Maori witnesses at a hearing of the Native Land Court in Palmerston North in December 1879, Charles Heaphy's art is a remarkable visual diary of life in settler New Zealand. His work has been an inspiration to New Zealand painters from Colin McCahon to Saskia Leek. In this engaging book, richly illustrated with Heaphy's remarkable paintings and drawings as well as photographs and maps from the period, author Iain Sharp tells the story of Heaphy's life - from exploring with Thomas Brunner to winning the Victoria Cross in the New Zealand Wars - and his art. Sharp depicts a man capable of being mercenary and self-serving, but also filled with restlessness and a pervasive sense of wonder about the opportunities in New Zealand. First published October 2008.
Shortlisted for Montana New Zealand Book Awards: Biography Category 2009.
A great read, written in an easy style, with bits of light-hearted humour and tongue-in-cheek modern reappraisal." "--The Lumiere Reader
Iain Sharp is a distinguished scholar, poet and critic who emigrated to New Zealand from Scotland at the age of seven. After completing a PhD at The University of Auckland on Jacobean comedy, he has worked as books editor at the Sunday Star-Times, fiction editor of Landfall and manuscripts librarian at Auckland City Libraries. Sharp is a frequent reviewer and the author of Real Gold (Auckland University Press, 2007) as well as a number of poetry collections.