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Holmes, Katherine

Identifier: holk


  • Creation: [1886]

Biographical / Historical

Holmes, Katherine McLean 1849–1925?

"Born Geelong, Victoria, third daughter of Hon. Mathew Holmes. Came in 1859 with her family to Dunedin where they lived in Anderson's Bay, except for some years when they were in Lasswade out of Edinburgh when the boys were being educated there. The girls had private education with art and music masters.

As a young woman back in Dunedin, was part of the Hodgkins circle, belonged to the Art Club and exhibited with OAS from 1876: was on Council 1886–87. She moved to Wellington with her parents about 1892: became a well-known figure in the art and social world; entertained many celebrities including Rudyard Kipling. One family story which survives is that she had a Birthday Book, with each page decorated by her with a spray of flowers, and when the Duke and Duchess of York (later George V and Queen Mary) visited New Zealand the Duchess, Princess Mary or “May”, signed the book and asked for a spray of hawthorn or may blossom to be drawn on “her” page.

The book itself also survives, but not in New Zealand. Miss “Katie” Holmes was also an accomplished wood-carver. A family Bible gives death at 1925 but family papers give it 1934. Exhibited: OAS 1876–95, NZ Academy of Fine Arts 1892–1916; on Council for many years. Represented: Turnbull and Hocken."

Taken from 'Nineteenth Century New Zealand Artists: A Guide and Handbook'. Reference URL:


1.5 linear_centimeters

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Aisha Le Frantz
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Repository Details

Part of the Tapuaka Heritage & Archive Collections - JC Beaglehole Reading Room, Victoria University of Wellington Library Repository

P O Box 3438
Wellington 6140 New Zealand
+64 4 4635681