The Reverend Alexander Dasent, Vicar of St Mary's ; James Nairn; May 1897; 2009....
The Reverend Alexander Dasent, Vicar of St Mary's
Artist, James NArin was born in Aberfoyle, Scotland and studied at the Glasgow Institute of Fine Arts and at the Académie Julian in Paris. He spent a number of years working with the Glasgow Art Club, a group of artists influenced by the French Impressionists' interest in colour and light. Due to ill health, he emigrated to New Zealand in 1890. Narin was appointed teacher at the Wellington School of Design (Wellington Technical College). He exhibited with the New Zealand Academy of Fine Art, but was dissatisfied, and formed the Wellington Art Club in 1892.
Alexander Dasent was a colourful and tenacious cleric who came from the privileged life of a sugar plantation owner to confront hardships as a pioneer in 19th century New Zealand. He attended Westminster School in London, but abandoned his father's hopes of an Oxford education, and entered the church. He was ordained as a priest in 1844 at Holy Trinity in Kingston. In 1863, he came to New Zealand with his wife and seven children. He as appointed to the parish of St. John's Church at Waikouaiti in North Otago. Later, the poor health of one of his sons led him to move to the North Island -- to St. George's Church in Patea. He later moved to Karori, where he served as vicar of St. Mary's Church.
May 1897Medium and Materials
Oil on canvas
signed L.R "Jas M Nairn"
image 600mm x 370mm
frame 725mm x 600mm
Reverend Alexander Dasent
Alexander Dasent was a colourful and tenacious cleric who came from the privileged life of a sugar plantation owner to confront hardships as a pioneer in 19th Century New Zealand. He was described by his St John’s parish as "gifted with great powers of endurance, an unfaltering faith, a cheerfulness which no misfortunes could abate, a sense of duty [...] and a superb constitution."
Born into a talented West Indies family at Kingston on the Island of St Vincent, Alexander attended Westminster School in London, and on the death of his father abandoned hopes of study at Oxford to return to St Vincent, where he studied to enter the church. He was ordained deacon in 1843 and priest the following year at Holy Trinity in Kingston. He was rector of St George’s and St Andrew’s in Tobago and in 1851 named rector of Bequia and Grenadines. He became vicar, sheriff and magistrate of the Windward Islands. However, repeated attacks of yellow fever compelled him to return to England, where from 1853 – 1863 he was curate at Wilmington in Kent.
In 1863, Dasent, his wife and seven children came out to New Zealand. Upon arriving in Lyttleton on the Epsom, he and his family contracted scarlet fever; his eldest son and two daughters dying from the disease. Dasent was appointed to the far reaching parish of St John’s Church at Waikouaiti, North Otago, in the diocese of Christchurch.
The poor health of one of his sons led him to move to St George’s Church in Patea, where he was the only Anglican clergyman between Whanganui and New Plymouth. From Patea Dasent moved to Karori in 1882, where he served as vicar of St Mary’s Church for fifteen years.
Dasent died 22 September 1905 at the age of 87 in Karori, Wellington and is buried in St Mary’s churchyard.
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