Erua; Toss WOOLLASTON; 1960; 472



About this object

An ink sketch of a young boy seated with crossed legs wearing shorts, jersey and exposed collar. A facial sketch is located in the top right corner.



Date Made


Medium and Materials

Pen and ink on paper

Place Made


Subject and Association Keywords


Subject and Association Keywords

New Zealand/South Island/West Coast/Greymouth

Subject and Association Description

Woollaston's studies of the boy Erua were developed to work towards a book, 'Erua', published in 1966. Woollaston was very pleased with the outcome and wrote; "I am thrilled ERUA does what I wanted it to - appeals to the ordinary & the artistic alike. The artistic say how nicely the text runs - or moves, relatedly. The ordinary ones like the humanity of what it said. The publishers are to be congratulated for serving them that and an artistic experience in the way that it is presented." (Trevelyan, 2004, p.315).

However, this focus on the book worried Charles Brasch who wrote to Woollaston shortly before it was published saying; "I must say... that it seems to me utterly irrelevant to the quality of a work of art - painting or book - whether it sells; and its quality alone is of interest. I fully realise that you have to live, but that's another matter. It worries me that you seem to paint to sell, and to write to sell, instead of painting because you have to, out of inner compulsion. I hate to see you acting as salesman of your own work - it worries me deeply, because I fear it must affect your work" (Trevelyan, 2004, p.300). Brasch then offered Woollaston 400 pounds annually for the next three years, so that he could reduce his employment hours and devote more time to painting.

Named Collection

Woollaston Davies Collection

Credit Line

Gifted by the artist in 1979

Object Type


Object number


Copyright Licence  

All rights reserved

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