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Extraordinary peeps of early Dunedin life at Hocken


Wednesday 9 April 2014 3:25pm

Marion Scott Playing the Piano
Marion Scott Playing the Piano, c. 1904, photograph by John Halliday Scott. Marion Scott Collection P97-050-524, Hocken Collections Uare Taoka o Hakena, University of Otago. S14-031b.

Glimpses of life in early Dunedin are the focus of a new Hocken Library exhibition displaying the photographs of former professor at the medical school John Halliday Scott (1851-1914).

Peeps of Life runs from 12 April until 12 July and exhibits 65 early photographs by this one-time Professor of Anatomy and Physiology and Dean of the Otago Medical School, as well as some watercolour paintings and sketchbooks.

During his tenure, Scott and his family lived in one of the historic former professorial houses, now known as Scott-Shand House, which still stands today within the Dunedin campus at the north end of the main Clocktower building.

Hocken Curator of Photographs Anna Petersen says Scott was also a watercolour artist who was recognised during his lifetime and has continued to be acknowledged at exhibitions over the past thirty years at the Dunedin Public Art Gallery and Hocken.

“That he also found time in his busy life to pursue an interest in photography has remained obscure but can be brought to light now largely thanks to the estate left by his eldest daughter, Marion,” Dr Petersen says.

“Scott was a member of the Dunedin Photographic Society and a selection of Scott’s photographs is displayed alongside the work of some of his associates, providing an insight into the activities of this group of amateur photographers.

“The photographs offer peeps of the Scotts’ world taken between c.1893-1914: a record of the life and times of a prominent Dunedin man and his family; the environs of the University of Otago and Dunedin Hospital; domestic interiors of several notable homes; glimpses of Māori living around Moeraki, and the Hampden area where the family went for holidays.”

In 1877 Scott was selected from 25 applicants for the chair in anatomy and physiology at the University of Otago Medical School. The first professor, Millen Coughtrey, had been unsuccessful in obtaining recognition in Britain for the school, and subsequently resigned in December 1876. Scott arrived in New Zealand on the Ringarooma on 29 July 1877. His salary was £600 per annum, plus student fees of three guineas each. He was also appointed to the honorary medical staff of Dunedin Hospital, a position he held until 1883 when he found his teaching duties occupied him full time.

For further information, contact:

Anna Petersen
Curator of Photographs
Hocken Collections
Tel 64 3 479 8870

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