A Tourist in Paradise Lost: The Art of Michael Illingworth

My ancestors apparently first landed in England from Normandy with the 1066 mob and the first of the line landed in New Zealand in 1951. Looking through family records I find four gentlemen whom I consider had remarkable qualities. There was Sir Richard, Baron of the Exchequer during the reigns of both Henry IV and Edward VI (an office that stood the family in good stead for many a year thereafter). There was a Robert, who lost his head for political reasons, then a James, who was a tutor at Emmanuel College, Cambridge. The only other Michael down the years was the Reverend Michael, vicar of some undecipherable parish in the early sixteen hundreds. The first name was apparently a remarkably clever gentleman; the second remarkably stupid; the third a remarkable intellectual; and the fourth  surely remarkably pious. The rest of my ancestors seem to have grazed the safe pastures of middle-class respectability without a single recorded deviation. I myself have reached the age of thirty -three without being activated by money, political, academic, religious or plain middle-class motivations. It has not been easy, yet over the years I have managed to paint a body of work sufficient now to start looming over me, and when this happens one begins to realise one’s own size.

Michael Illingworth, Artist Statement, Barry Lett Galleries, Auckland 1965

Michael Illingworth had an unerring sense of how to create and maintain his artistic identity. Arriving in Auckland in 1961, after two years in Europe and extensive experience working at Gallery One in London, Illingworth noisily declared himself a dedicated modern artist and railed against what he considered to be a lifeless bourgeois society and an amateurish art world which did not respect or allow for such a calling.  As his 1965 artist statement reveals, Illingworth’s adopted role was as an outsider, an individual sloughing off the demands of middle-class society in the pursuit of ‘the good, the true and the beautiful.’[1] Ultimately, Illingworth’s stance was underpinned by a belief in the power of art and the role of the artist to act upon or even transform these conditions.

Not surprisingly, Illingworth’s outspoken views and bohemian appearance endeared him to the media, which he manipulated expertly in the construction of a public artistic persona. While newspaper editors and reporters presumably responded to Illingworth’s capacity to titillate their reading public, Illingworth’s outsider identity was also manifested in his critical practice and reputation. In a 1965 interview with Barry Lett, Illingworth says:

‘I am painting a little world of my own’, he says. ‘In the paintings I am building a facade for my own world, against the establishment facade, the facade of hypocritical suburbia.’

‘The little faces in my paintings with no mouths and with hands waving signify two things; the feeling of a ‘lost quality’—what am I doing here? where do I belong—and the feeling of possibility, purity, an ideal that perhaps might become something but is certainly nothing at the moment. This is a gay, naive, idealistic facade that I build as a defence against the ugly, dirty facade that I see around me. Many people seem to be phony. They don’t even exist on a basic human level. They are machine made.’[2]

Lett writes in his preface to Illingworth’s statement, ‘As I talked to Michael Illingworth I became aware of the impossibility, in fact the absurdity, of considering his painting and his way of life as being separate. His life and painting are equals, and in each he creates his own idyllic world. One without the other is impossible.’ The social critique which Illingworth preaches suggests a framework for understanding his relationship to society and his artistic practice, and it becomes, along with the words of the interview, one of the most frequently used methods for explaining Illingworth’s artistic intentions. In order to critique or comment on these issues, Illingworth is presented, and presents himself, as standing outside society.

Yet an irony is evident here. Illingworth’s espouses his critical philosophy in a newsletter sent to collectors and patrons by what was, in the eyes of many, the most prominent dealer gallery in the country. Auckland in the 1960s experienced an unparalleled rise in the status of art, and a corresponding development of institutions that fostered artistic practice. Supported nationally by the establishment of the Queen Elizabeth II Arts Council in 1964, and by fellowships such as the Frances Hodgkins in Dunedin (of which Illingworth was the first recipient in 1966), Auckland saw the steady emergence of dealer galleries, and the continued strength of the Auckland City Art Gallery, at this time the major institution for modernist art in the country.

Illingworth was tightly implicated in all this activity. He held his first exhibition at the New Vision Art Centre in Auckland in 1961. Featuring twelve paintings, some of which were completed overseas, the show was a modest debut, marked by critical commentary that seemed baffled about Illingworth’s sources. New Vision Art Centre had been established by Kees and Tina Hos, recent immigrants from the Netherlands who brought with them a European sensibility and aesthetic unusual for the time in New Zealand. The graphic identity, Bauhaus modernist in its styling, the shop with its hessian walls painted grey, its timber and metal shelving, and elegant displays of New Zealand craft, meant that the New Vision Art Centre came much closer to the model of European galleries than anything else of the time.[3]

In 1963, Illingworth had an exhibition at the Ikon Gallery, which had opened its doors as The Gallery in 1960. Accompanied by an illustrated catalogue with an artist’s biography that firmly established his international influences and context (born biologically and artistically overseas, his work in collections in Europe and America), Illingworth established himself as, and subsequently became, one of the key artists in the Ikon Gallery stable. The Ikon Gallery was run by Don Wood and Frank Lowe, both architecture students at the Auckland University. When Barry Lett Galleries opened in 1965, their stable incorporated the young artists from Lett’s previous Uptown Gallery, and the more established artists from Ikon Gallery, both of which had recently closed. Illingworth was now considered to be one of the gallery’s major artists, mentioned alongside painters such as Colin McCahon, Don Binney and Pat Hanly. He also shared exhibition space with these painters, and the other prominent artists of the time, in the Auckland City Art Gallery’s annual shows of contemporary painting throughout the 1960s. Illingworth’s status was validated when he became the inaugural recipient of the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship in 1966.

The changing nature of the 1960s art world had significant ramifications for how artists lived, worked and defined themselves—and were defined by others. Illingworth’s media coverage maps out some of these transformations. The early critical bafflement in the face of Illingworth’s clearly modernist and European artistic production is joined by another theme—that of the artist as a struggling individual at the mercy of his creative urges. The New Zealand Woman’s Weekly from 1963 quoted Illingworth as saying:

‘I must paint,’ he says. ‘I would like to put my paintings in the street and tell people to take what they want. But I must eat, I must paint and I need security. . . if I don’t sell my paintings, I’ll go to the bush and build a house of pungas and paint with charcoal on the walls. Even painting on the sand is fun.’[4]

By 1965 this discourse changed, and was replaced by the idea of artists as successful professionals, actually making money from their art. Illingworth became a kind of poster boy for this shift. Under the heading ‘A Living Can Now be Made’, Hamish Keith announced:

Earning a living as a full time painter is rapidly becoming possible. It is still an enormous struggle, but painters like Michael Illingworth, whose one-man show opened this week at the Barry Lett galleries, are proving that it can be done. Since 1962 he has devoted his entire energies to painting.[5]

As New Zealand Vogue made clear, the shift was a product of an emerging number of collectors and critics dedicated to contemporary New Zealand art.

People are talking about the sudden and long overdue interest that art patrons and collectors are taking in the painting of Michael Illingworth. Since his return from Europe in 1961, Illingworth has sold virtually nothing in New Zealand until this year: now collectors are re-evaluating his work and critics pronouncing him a major figure on the local art scene.[6]

The 1960s was the decade dedicated to establishing a professionalism in the arts, a phenomena created by the new context in which artistic production took place, fostered by the flow of money and professional services (criticism, dealers, arts bureaucracy) available to the artist. Professionalism was a notion very close to Illingworth’s heart, and something that he constantly referred to in his public statements. In 1970 he claimed:

I would like to see the community treat an artist as, say a junior lecturer in a university, pay him a subsistence salary, and use his paintings in exhibitions, taking them throughout the country. I don’t think the artist has a special place, but he’s part of a community and it should use him. This ‘ivory tower’ out here isn’t entirely the way I want to live, but my limited means make it impossible for me to mix—we can’t go to town, can’t see a film, have a beer with a friend if we want to.[7]

Illingworth wasn’t alone in being concerned with such questions. Pat Hanly, an artist who, like Illingworth, returned to New Zealand from London in the early 1960s, found a context in which the visual arts were not treated on any sort of professional basis. Russell Haley notes, ‘There was an expectation, Pat felt, that artists should not push themselves, should not talk money, and ought to earn a living in “proper jobs” like teaching. The precious amateur attitude still prevailed.’[8] Robert Ellis, an artist who emigrated from Britain in the late 1950s, recalls that artists who produced no more than four or five paintings a year would consider themselves to be professionals. There was no sense in which painting was a full-time occupation.[9]

Illingworth and Hanly shared an awareness of the power of self-presentation as a tool to promote these transformations in the role of the artist. As Haley suggests of Hanly:

He once said that what he learnt from people like Hockney and Kitaj had less to do with painting than with how you presented yourself as an artist. It was  important to be taken seriously and as long as painters fell for the bohemian cliche—beards, booze and paint-splattered jeans – they would only do themselves a disservice. . . Pat dressed neatly and in the first months of his return he managed to generate a great deal of press comment.[10]

Illingworth was different to Hanly in his dress and approach. Yet many stories, like Hamish Keith’s recollection of Illingworth entering the Auckland Art Gallery, folding up a half eaten banana and announcing that he was saving the rest for dinner, while discussing the plight of the creative individual, suggests he had an eye and a definite preference for the theatrical gesture which gets constantly rehearsed in his media profile.[11] Keith’s later appointment as chairperson of the Arts Council, the funding agency Illingworth constantly battled, was pointedly addressed by the artist when he requested a relief parcel of Keith’s old clothing. He stated in a newspaper profile that:

I realized that with stature and appearances to keep up, Hamish would have lots of shirts and breeches that he couldn’t use, so I wrote to him asking for them . . . I’m still wearing them; in fact the ones I have on today are Hamish Keith ones.[12]

Yet Illingworth was by no means a believer in the Romantic notion that suffering is the soil from which the masterpiece springs. Illingworth, needless to say, would not play the role of genius starving in the garret—he demanded to be well-fed, working in a spacious, well-appointed studio with an assistant, so he could make the work he desired. Arguing bitterly that ‘Any suggestion that it is good for an intelligent person to live the life of hardship and struggle is false propaganda’, Illingworth concluded: ‘I’m a person and I like to eat well and dress warmly just like anyone else.’[13]

While institutional support may have seemed like an answer to the problem of professionalism in the arts, Illingworth often articulated these support structures as a hindrance. His report to the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship committee, for example, is a litany of complaints about the conditions under which he was expected to work, all of which are underpinned by a total inability to accept that the artist’s needs should, under any circumstances, be treated with such disregard. Illingworth concludes: ‘As I now feel my career is in jeopardy, I must ask that I be repatriated to a working environment of my own choosing—and that I be given some extension of this fellowship year as compensation for time wasted.’[14]

The same kind of issues are true for Illingworth’s battles with the Queen Elizabeth Arts Council. When he did not receive sufficient funds to create large-scale paintings in 1972, he refused to accept the grant if the money had to be used for that purpose, since the sum in question was insufficient to allow Illingworth to work fulltime as an artist. At stake, Illingworth argued, is the integrity of the artist: ‘I say the artist needs to be free and his own man at all times and to play a part that ingratiates one with an academy deliberately is, on contemplation, overstepping the bounds of reason.’[15]

According to Gordon Brown, the mid-1960s was the point that marked the end of the outsider modern artist in New Zealand. He suggests that all artists who were working in modern styles until about the mid-1960s were outsiders, but then the powers changed, a gallery system and market developed, and artists could no longer legitimately claim outsider status.[16] This tension can be read into the circumstances surrounding Illingworth’s 1967 show at the Barry Lett Galleries, in which a single collector purchased almost all the paintings during the opening, making it a sell-out exhibition. Barry Lett recalls the hushed silence that surrounded him as he triumphantly placed red sale stickers on all the work.[17] It was immediately announced that this exhibition had made history in New Zealand art. Illingworth’s response toward his ground-breaking exhibition reveals the dilemma of pursuing an outsider stance from a position within the system. According to Barry Lett:

[Illingworth] did not quite know how to take it. There was some element of being offended by it in his personality. Suddenly he was accepted, he was successful. His whole premise had suddenly collapsed.[18]

The photographer for the New Zealand Herald who had been called in to record the occasion had to capture a shot when Illingworth was distracted. Each time Illingworth saw the camera directed at him he would, in classic avant-garde fashion, fully aware of the power of the photographic image, defiantly do the fingers.

Illingworth’s 1965 exhibition at the Barry Lett Galleries points to the symbiotic relationship between artist, dealer and the wider arts infrastructure. The gallery, faced with a complaint of obscenity over As Adam and Eve, rejected police demands to remove the painting, and eventually the complaint was dismissed by Attorney General Joseph Hanan. The gallery directors took the lead in defending these charges, and the issue was extended well beyond Illingworth’s painting. The lawyer acting for the gallery, Mr R. L. Maclaren, proclaimed that ‘If any prosecution is made, it will be regarded as a test case and defended to the teeth.’[19] A campaign was fought around As Adam and Eve  regarding censorship in the arts and the rights of the artist in relation to the public which, as Maclaren stated, had yet to be tested in New Zealand. A decade later, after two similar controversies and a reproduction of the same painting in the New Zealand Listener  sparked a number of angry letters to the editor, Illingworth publicly addressed ‘this continuous barrage of bigotry some of my work as a painter is subject to’.[20]


Illingworth’s claim, made in 1965, that his art acted as ‘a facade for my own world, against the establishment facade, the facade of hypocritical suburbia’ needs to be seen within the social movements of the 1960s and 1970s. The notion of escaping ‘hypocritical suburbia’ was a key idea expressed by those promoting alternative forms of community. Leo Thompson, a member of the Huia commune (outside Auckland), describes this philosophy:

Aesthetics and sanity decided us on the country. The city was full of “well-balanced” neurotics. In the city, one seemed to need drugs such as alcohol and cigarettes—chemicals to off-set the tensions of a commercial consciousness. You have to have trees and living water; locate yourself in the organic environment…greed has taken over. They have become the products of fear, uneasiness, queasiness. And they are ugly. Only philosophers and artists should be allowed to plan environments or build permanent objects.[21]

These same sentiments constantly appear in Illingworth’s own writings, and they begin to inform the choices he makes about where, and how, he and his family will live. After finishing with the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship in Dunedin—a city which he said was ‘formed by man for man to live in with dignity … The streets here are made to live in—for humans to make progress through. It is not like Auckland. Auckland has been manufactured’—Illingworth moved to Puhoi, where he lived with his growing family until the early 1970s, when he finally moved to a farm in Coroglen on the Coromandel peninsula.[22] The Coroglen property was initially purchased in a joint venture between the artist, his dealers at Barry Lett Galleries, and Jocelyn Strewe. Before Illingworth bought the other owners out, the farm was intended as a kind of weekend commune which the Auckland partners could visit, with Illingworth acting as a kind of caretaker.

In a cultural sense, Illingworth shared the social and artistic ideals of James K. Baxter, with whom he had significant periods of contact over approximately 20 years. Illingworth writes:

My contact with Jim was first made in [19]53 or 4 and it was from the start personal. We were aware of one another at first sight and both had a sense of antagonism that flared into hostile argument during consequent meetings during the 50s. We lost sight of each other for some years meeting again one Sunday at the start of our fellowships in Otago. … These years of friendship have been true … I always gained from Jim’s added years of experience and I like to feel he gained from my more youthful vigour. A mutual stimulation. I the warrior, he the strategist— we helped each other to many a conclusion.[23]

On another occasion Illingworth wrote in a notebook:

Jim Baxter said you are the warrior of our tribe Mike, and I was not old enough for that responsibility and he embarrassed me. Therefore I knew that one day he would be right.[24]

To hear Baxter talk about the social responsibilities of the artist is to find an expression that matches Illingworth’s own attitudes closely. Baxter, for example, writes in the 1950s:

I come now to what I feel to be the basic problem of the poet in New Zealand, and no doubt elsewhere—that of social criticism. In what degree should a poet be the entertainer, in what degree the physician  of his society? Plainly, a physician who has no bedside manner will get the sack. Again, a poet may feel no necessity to communicate a social philosophy: he may be content to state as adequately as possible his intentions concerning personal relationships and natural events.  But I feel that the protest of the socially minded critic is justified. We are (I speak of the human family, not only of western civilisation) in the midst of great calamity, physical and spiritual. The poet or prose writer who turns his eyes from the fact of human suffering is involved in self-betrayal. We have greater need of prophets  than we have of mechanics.[25]

In 1967, Baxter’s lectures from the Burns Fellowship were published as The Man on the Horse, the year following Illingworth’s tenure as the Frances Hodgkins Fellow. Since Baxter and Illingworth were in close communication at this point, it offers an interesting framework for the way in which both artists would have thought about their roles. Baxter writes:

In another sense, you could call an artist a tribesman cut off from his tribe—perhaps they never existed; perhaps they did exist, when men were aware of a sacred relation between themselves, as a local interdependent group, and the life of nature, that other half of the creation which passively or actively confronted them.[26]

It is the reference to the artist as tribesman that seems so important here, a notion reflected in Illingworth’s own statements about his connections to the poet. One of the central events in Illingworth’s life, expressed many times in his biographical statements, was his encounter with the Māori community at Matauri Bay. According to Illingworth, his first visit took place during February 1954.

. . .  I was met by a fine upright standing figure of an old gentleman with tufts of white hair atop his fine old frame, bespectacled and clad in a pink wool singlet, Police and Firemans braces and brownish corduroy trousers. ‘Tom Tom’ Tamati Tame fed me a kai. I have never left— in short, I became his boy and would drive him to the Huis and Tangi, in a Ford SM truck we purchased, all over Northland. I would leave him for a few months of work in Auckland or Tauranga during the winter to earn some money, but spent months of each year living with him until June of 57, when my father died, and I decided to return to Europe to find out more of the art of painting.[27]

In a sense, Illingworth did find a tribe, in the same way that Jerusalem and the Nga Mokai (the name he gave to those who lived in the community, which means ‘the fatherless’) became Baxter’s, and this contact remains on Illingworth’s mind, usually in contrast with bourgeois Pākehā society. Sometimes the contrast is sharp and nasty, as when Illingworth publicly compares the lady-like nature of Māori women with the ‘arthritic duck’ movements of even the ‘most elegant’ Pākehā women. The upshot is that ‘Maoris have a great deal more to offer than pakehas can give them.’[28] This real experience takes on a kind of mythic, idealised value for Illingworth, both in terms of his artistic identity and within his painting. For other artists, too, most notably Tony Fomison, Māori culture serves as an originary engagement, a psychic space from which contemporary New Zealand (Pākehā) society might be critiqued.

In Recent Trends in New Zealand Poetry, Baxter wrote that ‘One of the functions of artists in a community is to provide a healthy and permanent element of rebellion; not to become a species of civil servant.’ Baxter continues:

A man who is working as a school teacher, a tradesman, or a government official in a society which he knows to be unjust, cannot dare to think clearly on moral issues; for the society is part of his physical and even psychological security. If he breaks with the society and departs into the wilderness in customary Romantic style, then he loses brotherhood with all but similar outcasts. What Justice demands is something more difficult—that he should remain as a cell of good living in a corrupt society, and in this situation by writing and example attempt to change it.[29]

There is a certain bitter irony here, in that both Baxter and Illingworth, if for different reasons, both end up not being able to fulfil this dictum. Baxter becomes ‘trapped by the isolation of the Romantic’ at Jerusalem, unable to maintain his brotherhood with society.[30] Illingworth, a ‘celebrated artist turned embryo farmer on land at Coromandel’, encountered the same problems of communication and sustainability.[31] Not only does he end up living apart from the city (the home of all that is bad about society), and therefore away from those who should hear his critique, but he also finds himself without the resources and time to paint. Illingworth seemingly remained ambivalent about the outcome of his decisions, writing:

To retain a generosity of mind after many years of deprivation is a hard task. To remain as a painter through this past 12 years has demanded much discipline and constant restraint of all but the most simple needs. The constant balancing of one sacrifice against another. Does this sharpen or blunten the edge?[32]


Illingworth was one of the key artists at Barry Lett Galleries, which granted him considerable status in the Auckland art scene of the 1960s. But, while his work was considered to be significant, it was also considered by contemporaries like Hamish Keith to sit somehow outside the typical concerns of the period.[33] His clear grasp of painting technique, and the quality of his work demanded attention, yet in the face of them people seemed to have nothing to say. The discourses of the period eddy around his work, seemingly unable to touch it, or elicit much in the way of its connections with other artistic production of the time.

There are various explanations for Illingworth’s position. In the 1960s New Zealand was a conservative society with a distinct distrust of outsiders. Keith points to a kind of cultural xenophobia which existed, and which certainly was applied to Illingworth, who was not only English by birth, but had begun painting overseas. A form of cultural cringe, and an exaggerated sense of the besieged nature of art in the 1960s, often meant that returning artists were shunned by those who had stayed, and saw themselves as truer to this country, and to the struggle that needed to be waged on art’s behalf.[34] This is something noted by Pat Hanly:

There were moments when Pat felt he was regarded as an aggressive interloper in an art scene which was too comfortable with its present conditions … The late Michael Illingworth, Pat’s contemporary, was another painter arguing for a changed vision of the artist in society. According to Pat, Michael suffered physically for his strongly expressed views. Illingworth, Pat said, was punched on the nose in Queen Street for having  dared to criticise some aspects of New Zealand life in a television interview.[35]

There is no doubt that this cultural difference was also perceived in terms of style, since Illingworth’s work seemingly bore little resemblance to his contemporaries. According to Billy Apple, who knew Illingworth in London during the period he worked at Gallery One, there were a number of painters who showed with Victor Musgrave at the gallery, and whose work is clearly the origin point of Illingworth’s own style.[36] This would seem to be particularly true for Illingworth’s work until 1965, when the expressionist, textured surfaces give way to the hard-edged ‘realism’ of the ‘classic’ Illingworth painting. While Illingworth tailored this distinctive style to New Zealand subjects, and framed his paintings with a social critique based on the problems and lacks of this country, it still left his painting standing somewhat outside the normal stylistic concerns of his peers. At least, so it appeared to observers at that time. Today, Illingworth clearly belongs with the hard-edged realists such as Don Binney, and younger pop-inspired painters such as Richard Killeen and Ian Scott.

Illingworth’s ambivalent position was heightened by the desire of this period to formulate a history and context for art in this country, another offshoot of the new professionalism. This was a constructive process, based on seeking out and articulating shared concerns, values and influences— such as landscape, and a concern with national identity—which inevitably further isolated those whose practice fell outside these boundaries.[37] Lineages and circles were established, in which Illingworth sat awkwardly or, more often, not at all. For example, Keith writes in the introduction to the New Zealand Painting 1965 catalogue:

The nineteenth century watercolourists working in the Auckland area demonstrated a crispness of technique similar to that of the contemporary painters. While it may seem a far cry from Kinder, Hoyte and Sharpe to Hanly, Binney and McCahon, there are certain undeniable similarities.[38]

While it may have seemed, from the point of view of the 1960s, that Illingworth’s art stood alone somehow, he is essentially a landscape painter, which is often forgotten in the face of his engagement with suburbia and the city. The conservation-focused Barry Lett Galleries exhibition Land/Land  in 1971 bracketed Illingworth with Colin McCahon, Don Binney, Michael Smither and Toss Woollaston as artists ‘whose territory has been the land.’[39] While in Illingworth’s painting landscape can seem like a kind of afterthought, or a background detail against which a drama of alienation and protest is staged, it in fact forms one of Illingworth’s most sustained subjects of investigation. In a 1968 review, Gordon Brown notes ‘the odd little Landscape at Puhoi that is simply observed as a real and not imagined landscape’.[40] What Brown points out is that the usual set of visual quotation marks around the landscape that commonly occurs in Illingworth’s images such as Portraits of Society and Landscape, or the sometimes heavy-handed gendering of the land in paintings such as Land, Land and Island (1970), is absent here.

Brown’s comment offers a possible clue as to why Illingworth fits so awkwardly into New Zealand art history, despite his use of characteristic subjects and his seemingly close relationship to the hard-edged realist painters like Don Binney who came to prominence during the same period. Illingworth is connected to Binney through subject—landscapes filled with iconic symbols—and  style—tightly  painted surfaces, clarified, and simplified landscapes. But whereas Binney’s landscapes and birds, while impossibly schematic, are natural elements, Illingworth’s scenes refuse to exclude the imagined. Even where the landscape is ‘real’, to use Brown’s terminology, the complex relationships between the parts of the image, particularly when the painting is structured by the grid, promote the landscape as a metaphor or symbol of the unattainable, and thus belonging to the realm of the imagined, a visual indication of the loss sustained by those who live within the bounds of civilisation. Landscape gets lost within sociological discourse, which makes these images that much more slippery in relation to the phenomena of identity building.[41]

Mark Young has described Illingworth’s approach to this subject as ‘the creation of an imaginary landscape to express more fully one’s philosophy’ which ‘stretches from the berserk world of Hieronymus Bosch to the whimisical fantasies of Paul Klee and Joan Miro.’[42] Gordon Brown suggests that part of the reservation toward Illingworth’s art was due to its perceived surrealist overtones, an approach that  was never accepted in New Zealand.[43] From the perspective of today, Illingworth’s supposed debt to surrealism is not a barrier to placing his work within the artistic context of the 1960s and 1970s, but rather suggests the way in which his paintings actually belong to the tradition of ‘anxious images’ that came to prominence in the 1970s.[44]


The most common explanation provided for the subject of Illingworth’s art is found in his 1965 statement that his work is a response to the ‘hypocritical façade of suburbia’. His work, like the artist himself, critiques the dehumanised dwellers of suburban New Zealand, with their blank gazes and ‘lost quality’. Petar Vuletic writes in 1968:

Illingworth’s figures stare out of the canvas, mute. This is man’s tragedy— he is enclosed by society which itself isolates him. He is an individual entity in a group that has overcome all individuality and imposes a significant uniformity. But not only is ‘man’ lost within society but also within the modern world. The figure staring out of a landscape has lost not only his voice in society but also his senses— a being subservient both to social norms, and to machines.[45]

Illingworth’s work illustrates such themes in a self-conscious manner, directing the viewer to understand that he is acting in the role of social critic. His 1963 exhibition at the Ikon Gallery is probably the single most intensive statement of this kind. The paintings can be divided into representations of the City and the Wilderness—to borrow binary descriptions Baxter uses in his criticism—signalled through Illingworth’s titles and opposed formal principles. Too Far For You to See (1962) with its open composition and use of highly keyed colour, is vastly different to the dark sombre colour scheme and closed, gridded composition of A City in Exile  (1963). Too far for you to see and other paintings such as An Offering to the Queen of a New Land (1962) depict figures in the landscape— in a wilderness of magic and mystery, of centaurs and other strange beasts. This is a world apart from the scenes of the city where the presence of traffic lights, parking signs, and television sets (broadcasts began in Auckland in 1960) are testament to what Illingworth promotes as the increasing regulation of the human spirit within city limits. Baxter claimed that it is only from the wilderness that ‘the city is seen in its true light, as the world of triviality and injustice.’[46]

Illingworth seems to share Baxter’s faith that the regenerative powers of art must be drawn from the wilderness.  He registers these ideas both thematically and on the level of his artistic practice.  The heavily textured surfaces of this early work, often incorporating shells and pebbles to indicate what Illingworth saw as the ‘purity’ of nature, clearly suggests allegiance to the wilderness side of the binary, and Illingworth would not have been disappointed with critics labelling his practice ‘at times akin to child or primitive art.’[47] Baxter described a similar quality he admired in contemporary poets such as Alistair Campbell and Denis Glover as ‘animism’, and claimed that society’s loss of this quality ‘is probably the greatest privation we must suffer in our materialist, technological civilisation.[48]

The themes of fleeing, retreat, and exile that dominate the paintings from the 1963 exhibition are presented as the only response to the horrors of modern civilisation. Illingworth especially represents this horror through the presence of the sun, which symbolises the ever present threat of the atomic bomb. The form of his human figures also emerges from the fear of atomic/nuclear destruction. Illingworth writes:

The shape of my heads I take from that nature has drafted as the shape strongest for protection (seen in such as an egg) My bodies come from the pyramid. The head I make is often to act as a canopy against nuclear fallout. The pyramid seems a sensible fallout shelter also. An Egyptian deity lay safely for a long time in such a structure until pillaged by barbarians.[49]

It is in these paintings from the early 1960s that Illingworth introduces the grid as a compositional element which suggests alienation and fragmentation. A means of expressing multiple scenes of city life (and the oddness of this life), the grid becomes a key device by which Illingworth indicates the disjunction of suburban society. In Portraits of Society and Landscape (1967), the grid indicates the separation of the blank-faced figures from the landscape that fills the central frame of the composition.

This period of Illingworth’s art is also the moment in which Māori motifs appear in his painting, most notably the three-fingered hand used in representations of the human figure in carving. Citizen of the Polished City (1963), features a three-fingered figure; in Dwellers in the Distant Village, the three-fingered hand is both attached to a figure, and featured as a disembodied element inside one of the rectangles (which is the more common use of the motif in the paintings from this period). Illingworth uses this motif until the mid 1960s, when it disappears. Such motifs are not at all common in Illingworth’s work after this time; the only equivalent gesture is Untitled from 1971, in which a spiral appears in the lower front of the image, accompanied by two holes, as though the motif was carved in stone, a kind of pendant, or a relief incised into rock, into the bones of the land.

Illingworth’s experiences with the Māori of Matauri Bay in the 1950s may explain why he included Māori motifs into his work. As an indication of difference, a sign of Māori art and an alternative system of representation, the three-fingered motif indicates an alternative realm to that of the Pākehā city/suburbs. Gill Docking’s reading of Illingworth’s work supports this interpretation, describing Painting With Rainbow (1965) as a representation of the distance between the ‘ticky-tacky cottages of suburbia’ and the ‘romantic memory’ night-time landscape of Matauri Bay in the upper right corner of the painting.[50] The rainbow links the ‘boxed-in’ rate-payers with their ‘military formation’ cottages and the individual cottage at Matauri Bay, but refuses any real relationship between the two realms, instead highlighting their difference and distance. For Illingworth, Matauri Bay acts both as a residual landscape against which his figures and suburbia can be posed; and the site of experience where he becomes initiated into a new relationship with the land, with nature, that changes him personally. The graphic representation of Māori motifs in the early paintings of the 1960s convey similar kinds of meanings.

Illingworth’s most enduring symbol of the disfunctionality of urban society appears in the character of the Piss-Quicks, first seen in 1961. Although Mr Thomas P.Q. (1961) is in the characteristic textured style of Illingworth’s early work, the iconography is fully developed. When the Piss-Quick returns in 1967, this time accompanied by his wife, the figure is tightly rendered and precisely painted, a result of Illingworth’s  now mature style. The most literal explanation for the Piss-Quicks was told to Steve Rumsey by Illingworth himself, who said the figure represented a specific type of middle aged man who would move quickly through the exhibition, barely glancing at the art works, and then ask directions to the toilet.[51] In his hand, he holds a coin, ready in case he should need to pay for the use of the facilities.

One of the obvious iconographical elements of the Piss-Quicks is their clothing, which helps establish their identities and values. As Mr and Mrs Thomas Piss-Quick (c.1968) illustrates, the Piss-Quicks are dressed up, they have both the time and the money to spend on what are clearly meant to suggest expensive, conservative, garments. The coin, held at the ready by the male Piss-Quick literally indicates wealth. Like the clothes and the coin, the titles clearly locate the figures within a certain strata of society, suggesting they are men and women of consequence of a specific type— Kelburn or Remuera business men, and their wives, the Ladies Who Lunch. This is a conservative, patriarchal society, in which the women gain their identity and position through their husbands. While the men gesture, however ineffectually, to the viewer, the women have no hands, no voice, no individual identities.

There are a large group of paintings by Illingworth which, through title (Portrait of a Man of Consequence, 1969) or clothing (Man with Red Tie, 1969), could be linked with the Piss-Quicks. These figures wear the same kinds of garments as the Piss-Quicks, and each portrait, whether of an individual or a couple, is located in an interior space, more or less marked as domestic. Where the figures have arms, they are always hand-less, usually located on the right side of the body for men, and on the left side for women— although, when women appear with men, they remain armless. Some of these paintings offer clear trappings of power: Portrait of a Man of Consequence (1969), one of a number of paintings with this title, looks like a lawyer in a gown and wig. More usually, the men are left indeterminately employed, each with their oval heads, ambiguous eyes and sombre, important clothes.

The portraits of women offer a more problematic image, for in many of these paintings the female partner in a couple is naked, while her male counterpart is dressed formally. Portrait of a Woman of Consequence (1968), for example, features a semi-naked woman playing solitaire. Given breasts, the female figures all have long hair, and are often accompanied by smooth, round pieces of fruit. The titles of these paintings usually grant the figures some kind of identity by emphasising their positions within systems of power and social relations, most notably gender inequality.

If the Piss-Quicks are Illingworth’s weapon against the distortions and corruption of the city and suburbs, their mirror images are the paintings featuring Adam and Eve. Generally Illingworth’s most controversial paintings, these images stand in direct contrast to the clothed and domesticated Piss-Quicks. Adam and Eve are almost always represented in the landscape. They are always naked, and not just naked in the manner of the female figures in paintings like Man and Woman Figures (1969), where breasts are the only physical indication of sex. The Adam and Eve paintings are explicitly genital, their bodies anatomically detailed. Clearly, Adam and Eve are a man and woman of consequence, framed by their prominence in Judeo-Christian art and literature, but their nakedness— their genitals—places them outside the web of social relations and power dynamics that indicate consequence for the Piss-Quicks. Both Adam and Eve gesture with single raised arms to the viewer.

In the Adam and Eve images, Illingworth creates a pre-fall Eden in which men and women live in harmony with each other and the environment. With the exception of Adam Figure with Gun (c.1967), none of these paintings hint at the expulsion to come, and the ruptured humanity that this creates in the biblical narrative. As Illingworth wrote in the 1970s:

The naked and unashamed Adam and Eve are beyond the comprehension of people with clothes hang-ups. Each and every one of our ancestors were the product of phallic energy. Those of us who have transpired from the action of male and female sex organs plus the unashamed meeting of two pairs of human eyes are lucky indeed. I contend that only lovers will face Adam and Eve.[52]

There is a real irony here, considering the hostile reaction to As Adam and Eve in 1965, when it was exhibited at the Barry Lett Galleries. The ‘Piss-Quicks’ who complained about the painting, seeing only indecency in the nakedness, themselves parade beliefs that reveal the disjunction Illingworth identifies through the painted Piss-Quicks. Illingworth was firmly irreligious, and seems to have subscribed to a kind of post-D.H. Lawrence attitude to nudity and sexuality, so the religious origins of Adam and Eve should not be taken as a suggestion of personal belief on the artist’s part.[53] But if a fall from grace is understood as more than a theological statement about God’s relationship to human nature, it would seem plausible to view the sadness in the eyes of Illingworth’s figures as representing fallen humanity remembering its pre-fallen state.

Illingworth’s paintings seem to shift along a continuum of the relationship between human culture and nature, which may explain the shifting visibility of landscape in his work. In Portrait of a Man of Consequence (1979) the arched window that offers a vista onto the landscape serves to emphasise the Piss-Quick’s disengagement from nature. The anthropomorphic landscapes of the 1970s that identify human shapes and forms in nature offer an interesting take on this relationship. These landscapes are entirely free of the suburban clutter Illingworth often presents as a mark of the debris of bourgeois culture; rather, paintings such as Land, land and Island (1971) depict explicitly male and female forms residing beneath or within the landscape. The pa site on top of a breast-like mountain form in Pa Hill  (c.1971) is a mark of human presence unusual for these paintings. It is suggestive of Illingworth’s belief, as he expresses in the Earth/Earth catalogue, that Māori culture was more in tune with the primordial forces of nature, which is the essential subject of these landscapes.

We the European who have usurped the tribal right, the ancestral lands in a most undignified manner eg through the office of shyster lawyers and grafting politicians, are hardly the ones to talk conservation for as a breed we stand by and live for the perpetuation of a way of life that means the complete destruction of the natural order in the name of materialism … Save Manapouri etc by all means—seal it entirely from the junk of our civilisation—there man only go there naked and on foot to learn to love this land as do our Maori hosts when they speak of the ancestral lands.[54]

In their celebration of ‘the natural order’ the anthropomorphic landscapes are closely connected to the Adam and Eve paintings. Adam and Eve are always depicted in the landscape, not separated from it. Like these landscapes, they symbolise this, now lost, natural order. This shared symbolism is characteristic of the way Illingworth’s paintings constantly play off one another, almost in the manner of a series.

Illingworth connects this theme to his artistic practice. He discusses the creative process as a tapping into these elemental forces, and it is this ability that separates the creative individual from the Piss-Quick. In the 1965 interview with Barry Lett, he outlined his approach to painting:

Painting for me is sometimes a joy, sometimes an agony. I have to be utterly shut away so that I can completely indulge myself, so that I can do anything I like: attack, destroy, cry, vomit. Sometimes I get into a wild frenzy and hurl things at my painting.  But something will evolve from this fury. When I am painting well I am painting obliviously—I don’t even know afterwards how I got the colours. I never plan a painting. It unrolls as I go along, it just happens. Most of my paintings are spontaneous gestures—the more spontaneous the more pure.  Far too many painters force things out. They must come straight from the heart, the primeval being … The initial attack is spontaneous, blind. But then the painting has to be rounded off. There is a gradual process of refinement, hours and hours of work until it is finished and then I am utterly exhausted by the effort. [55]

This statement is revealing in regards to Illingworth’s practice, occurring at the point when there is a dramatic shift in his stylistic production, away from the earlier expressionistic work toward a tighter figurative style. Petar Vuletic characterised the new work as ‘icons.’[56] On the whole, the later work tends to be small in scale and often deals with the traditional art historical genres of still-life, portraiture, and landscape. Technically the ‘icons’ are based on a meticulous attention to the surface of the painting, building up layers of oil paint with the aim of capturing what Illingworth’s valued source book Sir Charles Eastlake’s Methods and Materials of Painting of the Great Schools and Artists describes as ‘the gem-like quality.’[57] This is a time consuming process, dependent on careful planning and skill. There is little room for the expressive gesture which Illingworth celebrates and connects to ‘the primeval being’ in this interview.

This stylistic shift was marked by other changes in Illingworth’s practice, notably in the ways he characterised and presented his art.  In 1965 he stated ‘Painting has no intellectual meaning and my work carries no message,’ an abrupt shift from an artist who had always been vocal in discussing the content of his art and who was characterised as the socially minded critic of society.[58] Illingworth’s next exhibition, at the Barry Lett Galleries in 1967, was titled Paintings with no Titles to Obey. While the paintings strangely did have titles, they were very prosaic, far removed from the suggestive literary titles belonging to the  earlier expressionist work. The Paintings and Constructions exhibition in the same gallery in 1971 best reveals Illingworth’s now preferred method of presentation.  The exhibition consisted of the anthropomorphic landscapes and portraits, hung along either side of the gallery.[59] This presentation encourages a reading of these paintings within the nature/culture binary that seems to structure Illingworth’s oeuvre. Yet all the work was untitled, unnumbered and there was no guide to the chronology of the exhibition. Hamish Keith, reviewing the exhibition, was unimpressed with this ‘stony literary silence.’[60]

It is incorrect to say that Illingworth himself stops talking at this point, because his media profile remains in place, articulated from the 1970s around his double life as an artist and farmer. He remains voluble, opinionated, still offering critiques about society, especially in relationship to the environment—brought on, one imagines, by his financial and emotional interest in Coroglen, his property on the Coromandel Peninsula. When his presence in the press falls away in response to his lessening exhibition and gallery profile, and by the slowing production of new work, his personal correspondence, and notebooks, mark the continuing flood of characteristic Illingworth opinion. His work, on the other hand, gets removed from any immediate identification with his chosen role of societal conscience. The Piss-Quicks and Adam and Eve figures, so closely related to his own role modelling of life, drop away in favour of more idiosyncratic subjects: luminous nudes and still lifes, landscapes filled with the evidence of his imagination (magnifying rings and floating canoes, taniwha). It is as though Illingworth the painter of social critique entirely embraces the strategy he outlined in his 1965 interview with Barry Lett. Illingworth moves deeper into the creation and imaging of ‘a little world of my own’ posed against ‘the establishment façade, the façade of hypocritical suburbia’.


Illingworth’s second solo exhibition in New Zealand, at the Ikon Gallery in 1963, provided the opportunity for Illingworth to present himself and his work in Auckland’s most prestigious dealer gallery of the period. On his initiative a catalogue was produced.[61] Illingworth has noted on his copy ‘The first time an Auckland gallery has presented an illustrated catalogue.’ This concern for a professional form of self-presentation is also apparent in the dramatically lit Steve Rumsey photograph of the artist on the catalogue’s cover.

This image functions as more than a simple likeness of Illingworth. He and Rumsey have collaborated to construct a representation of Illingworth as the quintessential modernist artist. The essential function of this photograph is to present what are coded values and ideas regarding the character and purpose of artists to his audience.  Focusing on Illingworth’s head and piercing gaze to symbolise the artistic vision and psychological insights integral to the mystique of the expressive artist, the image draws on the pictorial conventions and symbolic associations of the modernist tradition of photographic portraits, most famously pursued by Brassai, Alexander Liberman, and Hans Numuth. Rumsy’s emphasis on ‘the eye of the artist’ suggests what he considered to be the essential feature of Illingworth’s practice— ‘the critical view of New Zealand society he robustly expressed in his paintings’.[62]

The act of seeing assumes crucial significance in Illingworth’s art. As the Rumsy photograph reveals, the idea of critical vision is central to his projected artistic identity, continually rehearsed in notions of seeing through the façade of civilisation, or identifing the extraordinary and poetic in nature. On another level, the eye, and its gaze, is fundamental to the meanings produced within Illingworth’s paintings, since seeing, or its lack, characterises much of the social disfunction Illingworth describes through the Piss-Quicks with their vacuous stares and blank faces. The literally one-eyed arts professionals and confused gallery patrons that populate his paintings from 1984 clearly lack this critical faculty. Finally, especially in his later work, through attention to the act of painting and to the mechanics of presentation, Illingworth focuses on the ways the viewer sees. In demanding a direct visual engagement with the paintings, he offers a particular challenge to viewers of his art, articulated in a statement from 1970 that ‘Too many people ask me what kind of painter I am. I wish they would stop talking and use their eyes.’[63]

With Damian Skinner
in A Tourist in Paradise Lost: The Art of Michael Illingworth (Wellington: City Gallery Wellington, 2001), 13-31.

[1] Damian Skinner, interview with Dene Illingworth, 12 April 2000.

[2] Barry Lett, ‘Interview with Michael Illingworth’, Barry Lett Galleries Newsletter, 19 August 1965.

[3] Anthony Stones suggests that the European aesthetic of the New Vision Art Centre explains why Illingworth held his first exhibition in the predominantly craft oriented gallery. (Anthony Stones, letter to Aaron Lister, 26 February 2001.)

[4] ‘Faced Poverty for Art’, New Zealand Woman’s Weekly, 22 April 1963, p.34.

[5] Hamish Keith, ‘A Living Can Now Be Made’, Auckland Star, 5 November 1965, p.10.

[6] ‘People Are Talking About . . .’, New Zealand Vogue, 13 August 1965. (Newspaper scrapbook, Illingworth Estate Archive, Coroglen.)

[7] ‘A Question of Survival: Jane Hill Interviews Artist Michael Illingworth’, Eve, July 1970, pp.10-13.

[8] Russell Haley, Hanly: A New Zealand Artist. Auckland, Hodder and Stoughton, 1989, p. 125.

[9] Robert Ellis interview with Damian Skinner, 12 February 2001.

[10] Haley, p.125.

[11] Iain MacDonald, ‘Illingworth: A Man Before His Time’, New Zealand Herald, 21 July 1988, Section 2, p.1.

[12] Kate Caughlan, ‘Sometimes Cold on the Feet: Pauper Painter likes Good Life’, Dominion, 16 June 1980, p.5.

[13] Caughlan, p.5.

[14] Illingworth, Report to the Frances Hodgkins Fellowship Committee, August 1966. (Illingworth Estate Archive.)

[15] Illingworth, Warrior School Biology Book. (Illingworth Estate Archive.) All quotes from Illingworth’s unpublished writings have been edited for clarity.

[16] Gordon Brown interview with Damian Skinner, 17 April 2000.

[17] Damian Skinner, interview with Barry Lett, 19 April 2000.

[18] Damian Skinner, interview with Barry Lett, 19 April 2000.

[19] ‘Action by Police After Complaint’. (Newspaper Scrapbook, Illingworth Estate Archive.)

[20] Illingworth, Letter to the Editor, New Zealand Listener, 14 February 1976. (Pacific Students Biology Book, Illingworth Estate Archive.)

[21] Tim Jones, A Hard-Won Freedom: Alternative Communities in New Zealand. Auckland: Hodder and Stoughton, 1975, pp.5-6.

[22] ‘Dedicated Art Fellow Delighted with City’, Otago Daily Times, 25 January 1966, p.3.

[23] Illingworth, Warrior School Biology Book. (Illingworth Estate Archive.)

[24] Illingworth, Warrior School Biology Book. (Illingworth Estate Archive.)

[25] James K. Baxter, ‘Recent Trends in New Zealand Poetry’. Frank McKay (ed.), James K. Baxter as Critic. Auckland: Heinemann, 1978, p.9. The underlying concern with social justice is the same for Baxter and Illingworth, but the mantle of prophet with its religious overtones sits less comfortably on Illingworth’s shoulders.

[26] Baxter, The Man on the Horse. McKay, pp.99-100.

[27]  Illingworth, draft letter. (Illingworth Estate Archive.)

[28] Hill, p.11.

[29] Baxter, ‘Recent Trends in New Zealand Poetry’, p.11.

[30] Tara Hawes, ‘A Tribesman Cut Off from his Tribe: Baxter and the Family’, Journal of New Zealand Literature, n.13 1995, p.44.

[31] ‘Artist’s New Dream Finds Fulfillment’, Thames Star, 6 November 1973, p.5.

[32] Illingworth, Warrior School Biology Book. (Illingworth Estate Archive.)

[33] Hamish Keith, interview with Damian Skinner, 19 February 2001.

[34] Hamish Keith, interview with Damian Skinner, 19 February 2001.

[35] Haley, p.127-128.

[36] Apple mentions Francis Sousa in particular; and a catalogue called Gallery One: 10 Years which Apple collected in England, reveals shows such as ‘Seven Indian Painters’, featuring artists who Illingworth would have personally met while working for Musgrave. (Billy Apple, interview with Damian Skinner, 18 February 2001.)

[37]  One of the main concerns of the 1960s, particularly from those painters associated with the Barry Lett Galleries, was an interest in the question of national identity. There was, as Elizabeth Caffin suggests, a distinct shift in the relationship poets (and artists) had to earlier formulations of nationalism during the 1950s and 1960s, and national identity did tend to become secondary to an interest in more universal questions of humanity. (McCaffin, in Terry Sturm, The Oxford History of  New Zealand Literature in English. Auckland: Oxford University Press, 1998, p.464.) The questions posed by Gordon Brown and Hamish Keith in their book An Introduction to New Zealand Painting, 1839 – 1967, illustrate that such concerns were still alive during this period, although their use of themes such as the interest in landscape, and the importance of New Zealand light, should be clearly placed within the institutional consciousness of the time, and the desire to create an art history in the absence of any overarching explanation for New Zealand art, rather than taken as clear indications of contemporary concerns. The important thing here, however national identity might be formulated, is that Illingworth necessarily had an idiosyncratic relationship to concerns of New Zealand identity, since his work was complicated by anxieties around his personal identity (is he British or a New Zealander?), and style (how does this relate to New Zealand art?).

[38]  Hamish Keith, Introduction, New Zealand Painting 1965. Auckland: Auckland City Art Gallery, 1965, unpaginated.

[39] ‘Introduction’, Land/Land, Barry Lett Galleries, 1971, p.1.

[40]Gordon Brown, ‘Best – and Happiest – of Illingworth’, Auckland Star, 11 December 1968. (Newspaper Scrapbook, Illingworth Estate Archive.)

[41] Yet even here Illingworth was not alone, for as Keith Sinclair has written about New Zealand poetry: ‘In the 1950s Louis Johnson and James K. Baxter could be heard berating their elders, especially Allen Curnow, for perpetrating a landscape school. They proposed to populate the landscape with neurotic surburban housewives and tortured Catholic bodgies and widgies.’ (Keith Sinclair, A Destiny Apart: New Zealand’s Search for Identity. Wellington, Allen & Unwin with Port Nicholson Press, 1986, p.54.)

[42] Mark Young, ‘Illingworth paintings are his best yet’. (Newspaper Scrapbook, Illingworth Estate Archive.)

[43] Gordon Brown, interview with Damian Skinner, 17 April 2000.

[44] Illingworth wasn’t included in the Anxious Images exhibition, held at the Auckland City Art Gallery in 1984, but his work readily fits into the framework laid out by exhibition curator Alexa Johnston in her essay. (p.6) However, there is a significant difference between Illingworth’s artistic practice (tight and controlled brushwork; the façade in which deeper disfunction is disavowed for toy-like and bright surface detail), and the expressionist process of most artists in this exhibition.

[45] Petar Vuletic, ‘Michael Illingworth: Alienation and Search for Innocence’, Craccum Art Supplement, 2 September 1968, p.10.

[46] James K Baxter, ‘Recent trends in New Zealand poetry’, p.10.

[47] H.M, ‘Illingworth’s Art Will Baffle Many’, Auckland Star, 16 March 1963. (Newspaper Scrapbook, Illingworth Estate Archive.)

[48] Baxter, ‘Recent trends in New Zealand Poetry’, p. 3.

[49] Illingworth, Scraps Book 2. (Illingworth Estate Archive.)

[50] Gill Docking, Two Hundred Years of New Zealand Painting. Wellington, A.H. & A.W. Reed, 1982, p.142.

[51] Steve Rumsey, interview with Damian Skinner, 12 January 2001.

[52] Illingworth, Draft letter to New Zealand Listener. (Pacific Biology Book, Illingworth Estate Archive.)

[53] Don Binney, interview with Damian Skinner, 15 February 2001.

[54] Illingworth, Earth/Earth, Barry Lett Galleries 1971, p.3

[55] Barry Lett, ‘Interview with Michael Illingworth’, Barry Lett Galleries Newsletter, 19 August 1965.

[56] Vuletic, p.10.

[57] Charles Eastlake, Methods and Materials of Painting of the Great Schools and Masters. New York: Dover publications, V. 2, 1960, p.378.

[58] ‘Painter Chose the Hard Road’, New Zealand Weekly News, 1 December 1965. (Newspaper Scrapbook, Illingworth Estate Archive.)

[59] Anthony Green, ‘Thoughts at the end of 1971’. (Illingworth Estate Archive.)

[60] Hamish Keith, ‘Imagery Minus Labels Stirs Thought’, Auckland Star, 4 December 1971, p.11.

[61] Damian Skinner, interview with Don Wood

[62] Steve Rumsey, letter to Damian Skinner, 22 April 2001.

[63] Hill, p.11.