Portrait of Alan Thornton ; Michael Illingworth; 1968; 69/26


Te Manawa


Portrait of Alan Thornton

About this object

This work is described by Richard Wolfe in his book New Zealand Portraits as a "hard-edged and light-hearted representation of fellow artist Alan Thornton." (pp 37) Illingworth is most well known for the stylised characters he painted. Of these he said "The little paintings with no mouths and with hands waiving signify two things; the feeling of a 'lost quality' - what am I doing here? where do I belong- and the feeling of possibilty, purity, an ideal that perhaps might become something but is certainly nothing at the moment..." (Barry Lett 'Interview with Michael Illingworth' Barry Lett Newsletter, 19 August 1965)


Michael Illingworth

Maker Role


Date Made


Medium and Materials

Oil on canvas

Place Made

New Zealand


H 941 W 866mm

Subject and Association Description

Born in England and arriving in New Zealand in 1951, Illingworth left in 1957 to study art in Paris and Athens, also working for Gallery One in London. He returned in 1962 to settle in the Coromandel where he farmed and painted. Illingworth worked as an outsider, at times isolated from the art world and contemporary society which he believed was very concerned with outward appearances. His work often challenged and poked fun at aspects of the urban and modern New Zealand way of life.

Named Collection

Collection of Te Manawa Art Society Inc.

Credit Line

Purchased 1969 with funds from AGMANZ and the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council. Image courtesy of Dene Illingworth.

Object Type


Object number


Copyright Licence  

All rights reserved

This object is from
Te Manawa   Te Manawa

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