Frances Hodgkins (1869-1947) remains one of New Zealand's best known and most loved expatriate artists. Her artwork and the story of her development as an artist are central to the story of New Zealand art.
Frances Hodgkins was born in Dunedin, but in the second half of her life developed an increasingly strong connection with Wellington and Kāpiti. Her sister Isabel lived on the Kāpiti Coast with husband W H Field, a local farmer, landowner and politician.
Frances felt a romantic attachment to Kāpiti Island and the surrounding landscape, and said that Waikanae had become ‘ancestral’ for the family after their beloved mother Rachel died and was buried there in 1926.
Frances Hodgkins died in a psychiatric hospital in Dorset in May 1947. Her ashes were returned to New Zealand and placed in the family plot in Waikanae cemetery.
The Field Collection, which includes 24 works by Frances Hodgkins, is currently housed in the Mahara Gallery.