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White Terraces, Rotomahana; Charles Blomfield; 1897; U/27

White Terraces, Rotomahana, Charles Blomfield, 1897, U/27
White Terraces, Rotomahana
About this object
The vast silica slopes of Te Tarata, the White Terrace of Rotomähana, were an international tourist attraction dubbed the 'Eighth Wonder of the World'. Visitors wore special shoes in order to climb up and gaze into the throat of the gigantic geyser whose silica-charged waters had formed the terraces over countless centuries. Visited by many painters and photographers, the terraces of Rotomähana became one of New Zealand's most depicted landscapes of the late nineteenth century. Auckland artist Charles Blomfield spent six weeks at Rotomähana early in 1885, documenting the Pink and White Terraces and the surrounding landscape in a series of oil paintings. By September 1885 it was reported that orders for paintings had been 'received and executed from tourists hailing from London, France, Germany, America, Australia, and other places'. When adjacent Mount Tarawera erupted on 10 June 1886, totally destroying the famous terraces, fourteen of Blomfield's Rotomähana canvasses were on display at London's Colonial and Indian Exhibition. The loss of the terraces spurred Blomfield to produce many more versions. Although painted in response to demand from tourists, few of Blomfield's paintings depicted tourist activity. Instead, the paintings promote a nostalgic vision of Rotomähana in its 'native purity', uncontaminated by the visitors whose profane graffiti and souvenir hunting had already despoiled its grandeur. (from The Guide, 2001)
Maker Role
Date Made
Medium and Materials
oil on canvas
819 x 1330mm
Subject and Association Description
terraces, tourism, hills, lakeshores, Picturesque, the, lakes, thermal regions
Credit Line
Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki, gift of Mr D L Murdoch
Object Type
Object number


oil painting
white terraces

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Results from DigitalNZ

This oil painting shows the famed silica terraces ...
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Close-up up view of the silica terrace formations ...
White Terrace, Lake Rotomahana
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