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Mr J. Elder Moultray’s last oil painting, just finished, represents a never-to-be-forgotten incident in one of the Maori wars —the Bryce affair near Handley’s wool shed, Nukumaru, in November, 1868. This painting is the fifth of the aeries of New Zealand battle scenes which this rising artist has painted, Those who inspect it will, wo think, agree that it is worthy of comparison with the best of Mr Moultray’s previous studies, if indeed it does not rank first in merit; and apart from the excellence of the painting from an artist’s point of view it has a high value in that it faithfully records a passage in the colony’s history of special interest on account of the famous Bryce • Rusden libel action. The picture shows the Hon. John Bryce, mounted on his white charger, in the act of commanding a halt of the dozen or more of his immediate followers of the Kai-Iwi Cavalry who leaped a ditch and galloped through the gap in the hedge in pursuit of the Maoris who were endeavoring to gain refuge in Turangahika Pah. Just ahead of Mr Bryce is Sergeant Maxwell, who, not observing the commander’s order, is in the act of cutting down a Maori—this Maori, by the way, fell on his face, and put tip his hand to protect his head, the result being that he escaped with the loss of three fingers, and is at the present day residing in the district j and immediately in Mr Bryce’s wake we see Sergeant John Handley and some of the troopers reining in, while others are endeavoring to extricate their horses from the. flax swamp by which they were temporarily embarrassed. On the sky-line in the background we see the celebrated pah, and to the left' a long stretch of fern coiintry leading away to Patea and Egmont. The natural features of the locality are from sketches taken by the artist himself, the positions of the cavalry are painted from descriptions supplied by Sergeant John Handley and other surviving members of the troop who took part in the affair, and the faces of Mr Bryce and Sergeant Handley are taken from old portraits lent for the occasion—so that the picture is historically correct ia all particulars. The size of the canvas is 3ft 6in x 2ft. We hope that Mr Moultray will meet with such encouragement as to warrant him in further pursuing this branch of his profession, for which he possesses special aptness. Such a picture as this must become highly valuable as time rolls on.

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Bibliographic details

AN INTERESTING PICTURE., Evening Star, Issue 7921, 31 May 1889

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AN INTERESTING PICTURE. Evening Star, Issue 7921, 31 May 1889