Samuel Charles Brees (1809 - 1865)

Samuel Brees arrived in Wellington in 1842 to fill the position of surveyor and civil engineer for the New Zealand Company. During his time in Wellington he was responsible for continuing the work of his predecessor, William Mein Smith, surveying the Karori Road and the hills surrounding Wellington Harbour. He oversaw the completion of the initial Wanganui and Manawatu surveys.

In 1843 he led an exploratory journey to the southern Wairarapa through Upper Hutt and the Rimutaka range, and prepared the preliminary subdivisions of these areas. By August 1844, six months before Brees’s contract was due to expire, the New Zealand Company was in financial difficulties and was no longer able to pay him. Throughout his period as principal surveyor he had given as much of his spare time as possible to his favourite leisure activity of recording his surroundings in pencil and watercolour.

The ending of his employment freed him to devote more time to painting, while he settled his affairs and arranged for his family’s return passage to England. He had produced a substantial portfolio of views of all the areas he had visited, particularly scenes in and around Wellington. These works would normally have become the property of the New Zealand Company, but the company waived its claim to them in the expectation that Brees would publish the sketches and be somewhat compensated for the loss of income he had suffered through the early termination of his contract.

On 8 May 1845 Brees, with his wife, now four children, and a servant, sailed on the brig Caledonia for London. His drawings were superbly engraved by Henry Melville in London and remain an important record of early Colonial settlement in New Zealand.

Showing all 28 results

Showing all 28 results

Choose currency

Exchange rates are only indicative. All orders will be processed in Australian dollars. The actual amount charged may vary depending on the exchange rate and conversion fees applied by your credit card issuer.

Login

Register

Search

The List

Join our exclusive mailing list for first access to new acquisitions and special offers.