Aris, Bernard Ford

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Born at Wallington, Surrey in 1887, Bernard Aris came to New Zealand from England in 1922 after serving in the British Merchant Navy during the World War I. He lived in New Plymouth and was a prolific painter, making over 600 sketches and watercolours of Mt Egmont. In 1972 Aris was granted the Freedom of the City of New Plymouth. He died in 1977.
The collection comprises eight sketch books containing sketches of various ships, the Port of New Plymouth, Mount Egmont, native plants, a collection of engraving plates and 'Mt Egmont: a Sketch Book by Bernard Aris' an unpublished book. Each sketchbook has a bookplate bearing the name Fred. B. Butler inside the front cover.

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Item list

  Part 1

1. Album. Postcards of ships painted at sea. 1914-1917. 14x10 originals.

2. Sketchbook. 1919-1922. Includes notes on radio schedules.

3. Sketchbook. Circa 1922. Pencil and ink sketches of scenes on Great Barrier Island.

4. Sketchbook. Mt. Egmont, Paritutu, shipping, trees, circa 1923. Includes some water-colours.

5. Sketchbook. North Island sketches, mountains, native trees and the Waiwakaiho River. 1923.

6. Sketchbook. 1924-1925. Mt. Egmont, ships, horses, Paritutu, Port of New Plymouth, includes some water-colours.

7. Sketchbook. 1924. Sketches of Paritutu, shipping, Port of New Plymouth, Mt. Egmont.

8. Sketchbook. 1925-1926. Sketches of Mt. Egmont, ships, trains

9. Sketchbook. 1926-1928. Includes sketches of Mt. Egmont, yachts, planes, trains, boats, Sydney Harbour Bridge and notes.

10. Mount Egmont : a sketchbook by Bernard Aris. A compilation of 30 pencil sketches circa 1922-1930.

11. Plate. St. Mary's Church, New Plymouth. Reverse side; trees.

12. Plate. Memorial cross. Reverse side; Tree.

13. Plate. Sinking ship. Reverse side; Mt. Egmont.

14. Plate. Two views of Mt. Egmont.

15. Plate. Ships at anchor. Reverse side; Mt. Egmont.

16. Plate. Mt. Egmont. Reverse side; Landscape.

17. Plate. Ship.Reverse side; Tree.

18. Photographs. Collection of photographs from the sketchbooks.

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Public comments

Bernard was also a member of the New Plymouth Astronomical Society, which is where I first met him. We became very good friends and to me he was like a favourite uncle. Certainly he became my prime mentor for my passion in astronomy. When he passed away, I inherited most of his stray astronomical paintings. He made a special picture of the Full Moon, which hangs at our house. It was painted in 1958 for my 13th birthday. The picture of the Festival of the pines, painted at the same time was as a result of an evening when he and I spent the concert time lying on our backs watching the stars.

- Rodney Austin posted 2 years ago.

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