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.
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