Story: Intellectuals

Self-portrait of Samuel Butler

Self-portrait of Samuel Butler

The son of a clergyman, with a first-class degree from the University of Cambridge, Samuel Butler arrived in New Zealand in 1860 aged 24. He became a sheep farmer and landowner on the Rangitātā River in inland Canterbury, but spent much time in Christchurch, where he gave concerts on the piano, promoted an art school and wrote for the Press, notably columns on Darwin's Origin of species. He also wrote an autobiographical account of his Canterbury experiences, and was a painter. This oil self-portrait dates from about 1866, two years after he left New Zealand. Although Butler's time in New Zealand was short, he followed a range of interests which entitle him to recognition as a colonial intellectual. 

Using this item

Alexander Turnbull Library
Reference: G-546
Oil painting by Samuel Butler

Permission of the Alexander Turnbull Library, National Library of New Zealand, Te Puna Mātauranga o Aotearoa, must be obtained before any re-use of this image.

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How to cite this page:

Chris Hilliard, 'Intellectuals - Colonial absence of intellectuals', Te Ara - the Encyclopedia of New Zealand, http://www.TeAra.govt.nz/en/artwork/42336/self-portrait-of-samuel-butler (accessed 7 December 2019)

Story by Chris Hilliard, published 22 Oct 2014