The Emily Harris 1968 and 1980 Prints
The Alexander Turnbull Library Endowment Trust, now called the Turnbull Endowment Trust, has published prints of many New Zealand artists over the decades, starting from the 1960s. Emily Cumming Harris’s work was first featured in a 1968/1969 run of ‘The Emily Harris Prints’ advertised alongside ‘The Fox Prints’, ‘The Fox Portfolio’, ‘The Barraud Prints’ and ‘The Maplestone Prints’ (Turnbull Library Record, Volume 2, Issue 2, 1 October 1969, Cover Page), in a set of three paintings:
“The EMILY HARRIS PRINTS New Zealand flower paintings – Rangiora, Blueberry, Mountain cabbage-tree. Coloured surfaces, approximately 18×12 ins. Edition of 2,500. $2.00 each, with notes; set of 3, in illustrated folder, $6.00.”
Later in 1979/1980, a second set of Emily’s work, this time of four paintings and one illustrated cover, was selected for another run of prints. The magazine Turnbull Library Record in May 1980 goes into detail:
“Two new issues of Turnbull Prints.
To meet growing demand and replenish depleted stocks of the annual series of colour prints, the Endowment Trust agreed to publish two series in 1979. Following the Aubrey Prints came a second set of New Zealand flowers and berries by Emily Cumming Harris (1837?-1925). The first, published in 1968, proved extremely popular in recent years and this artist’s work provides a contrast to the landscapes usually reproduced. The new prints, which were released early this year, have been chosen to show Miss Harris’s versatility in her watercolours. All four are in much brighter colouring and very different from the first three published. One recalls the charm of art nouveau, another is almost Chinese in its emphasis on form and texture, while a composite arrangement of four different tree berries is a glowing burst of colour that is quite modern in its feeling. The 1979 Harris Prints sell at $4 each or $12 the set of four accompanied by an illustrated text-sheet, in a folder illustrated by a fifth print in colour.” (Turnbull Library Record, Volume XIII, Issue 1, 1 May 1980, Page 39)
Below we have created a gallery of the original artworks from the Alexander Turnbull Library to show the print selections. For additional reading and pictures, our blog post ‘The Alexander Turnbull Prints’ (May 2021) takes a close look at copies of the 1968 prints and accompanying text, sourced from TradeMe.
Artworks chosen for 1968 run
Artworks chosen for 1979/1980 run
Artwork used to illustrate folder for 1979/1980 prints