Painting our heritage

One of the most positive and uplifting outcomes of the Canterbury earthquakes is the large number of creative endeavours by people of many backgrounds and ages. Art has a huge role to play in the healing and recovery process after the trauma of a disaster such as the Canterbury earthquakes. It brings enjoyment and vitality to those who are doing their best to get on with their lives, and there has been no shortage of artists contributing to the creative hub that post-quake Christchurch has become.

One of these people is local artist Raymond Morris, who specializes in painting heritage buildings in pen and ink and watercolours. Raymond's work is recognised both internationally and within New Zealand. He completed a series on "Heritage English Public Houses" and has also contributed illustrations to New Zealand books such as Lancaster Park: A history, Timaru at Last: Arrival of the Strathallan, and Christchurch Buildings Watercolour Collection.

His most recent project was to create a series of iconic Christchurch buildings, which are sadly no longer standing, but which Raymond had an extensive photographic record of. As Raymond puts it, his photographs were "rather fortuitous under the circumstances" and have allowed an exquisite amount of detail to be included.

Raymond told us he has painted on and off since an early age. He worked as a commercial artist after leaving high school, having won numerous prizes in art competitions. He says he is influenced by English watercolour artists such as Rowland Hilder and David Bellamy, and has an interest in architectural design as a component of his paintings.

"The reception of the paintings has been very positive, and heartwarming," he says, "While time consuming, I feel it is my contribution to furthering the historical fabric of the city prior to the earthquakes."

We feel very fortunate to have these stunning works of art included in the UC CEISMIC archive, and look forward to seeing more of Raymond's work in the future. He continues to work on paintings of historic Christchurch buildings and these will be added to the collection in due course, so watch this space!

More of Raymond's work can be found at


Creative Commons License
Paintings by Raymond Morris, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial License.