The Steeples, Westport; John GULLY; 1880; 13


The Steeples, Westport

About this object

A sailing ship slips past the Three Steeples off Cape Foulwind. The Rocks cast ominous shapes echoed by the breaking wave in the right foreground.



Date Made


Medium and Materials

Watercolour on paper

Subject and Association Keywords

Landscapes/Regional landscapes

Subject and Association Keywords


Subject and Association Keywords


Subject and Association Keywords


Subject and Association Keywords

New Zealand/South Island/West Coast/Cape Foulwind

Subject and Association Description

The Three Steeples Rocks are off the coast of Westport. On 28 January 1865, 15 years before this painting was created, John Gully was almost drowned on the Westport Bar. He was in a lifeboat that was attempting to cross the bar to the shore when it overturned on a wave. It took only 15 minutes for a second life boat to rescue the men but during that time three out of the nine were drowned (John Sidney Gully, 1984).

Te Papa holds the sketch from which this painting is based. It was done on John Gully's 1874 cruise from Nelson to Fiordland on Governor James Fergusson's yacht Blanche.

Credit Line

The Bishop Suter Art Gallery Founding Donation, gifted by Mrs Amelia Suter in memory of her husband Bishop Andrew Burn Suter in 1895

Object Type


Object number


Copyright Licence  

All rights reserved

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