Dame Janet Paul ; Jenny Hames; nd; 2011.016


Dame Janet Paul

About this object

This portrait was photographed for a City Gallery exhibition of Janet Paul and James Greig work.

Wellingtonian, Jenny Hames began her career with the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, but her love for photography prompted her to leave that job, and work as a self-taught freelance photographer instead.

Dame Janet Paul was a painter, publisher, and art historian with a deep belief in the power of all art forms to enrich the human spirit. She was a seminal figure in New Zealand publishing during the 1950's and 1960's. After her time publishing in Hamilton, she moved to Wellington where she worked as an art librarian for the Alexander Turnbull Library, and was awarded an honorary doctorate from Victoria University for her scholarly work on 19th century colonial painters.


Jenny Hames

Date Made


Medium and Materials

Colour Photograph,

Subject and Association Keywords

Paul, Janet Elaine

Subject and Association Description

Janet Elaine Paul

After gaining a degree at Victoria University and working in the Department of Internal Affairs, Historical Branch, Janet Elaine Paul married Hamilton bookseller, Blackwood Paul in 1946; both became involved in publishing New Zealand authors, commentators and poets. They wanted to give adults and children a broader understanding of New Zealand history and culture. Paul, drawing on what she had learnt in the Historical Branch from historian J. C. Beaglehole about typography and book design, was responsible for commissioning authors, book design and production. At times she got major New Zealand artists to design the dust jackets, at others designing them herself. The publishing venture achieved a successful combination of the commercial with the quixotic but after Blackwood’s death, a merger with Longmans in 1968 led its demise. From there Paul moved to Wellington, worked as an art historian in the Alexander Turnbull Library, received an honorary doctorate from Victoria University and continued her painting and etching, an interest that stretched at least as far back as 1957, when she first exhibited her work. In 1997 Paul was appointed a Dame Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to publishing, writing and painting.

Credit Line


Object number


Copyright Licence  

All rights reserved


Include tags such as place names, people, dates, events and colours. Use commas to separate multiple tags. e.g. Pablo Picasso, Madrid, red, 1930s.