George von Zedlitz was the first professor of modern languages at Victoria University of Wellington – he was appointed in 1901 and commenced teaching the following year. Though von Zedlitz was German, he had lived in England with his English mother since the age of four and had nothing to do with his German father. His formal qualifications were in Greek and Latin, but he was also proficient in German, French and Italian.
In 1915, during the First World War, von Zedlitz was classed as an enemy alien and forced to resign from the university by new legislation passed by a hostile government. Though he never taught at the university again, he maintained ties and was made emeritus professor in 1936, three years after Christopher Perkins painted this portrait.
Te whakamahi i tēnei tūemi
Adam Art Gallery Te Pātaka Toi, Victoria University of Wellington Art Collection
Oil on canvas by Christopher Edward Perkins, 1933
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