Charles Heaphy's watercolour of Mt Taranaki (Mt Egmont) has become one of the icons of New Zealand painting. Heaphy painted the work in 1840, when he was still a young man – no more than 20 – and was employed as the artist and draughtsman for the New Zealand Company. He was concerned, therefore, to present the New Zealand landscape in a positive light. So, in this work the mountain becomes a perfectly symmetrical cone and it is framed by delicate foliage, as painterly conventions required at this time. In his later years, until he left New Zealand in 1880, shortly before his death, Heaphy ceased to employ his obvious artistic skills.
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