“It started when I did Greek at Christ’s College and then at Canterbury University, learning from Plato and Aristotle about the ‘essence’ of things,” Bill Buxton records. From this early interest he developed a lifelong fascination for constructing things from timber – from miniature furniture to house building. While professionally he worked first as a Child Welfare officer, then lectured at Wellington Teachers’ College on child development, and through work with Internal Affairs became a Community Policies Advisor and director of Corporate Services, it was this love of making things which drew him to the New Zealand Portrait Gallery in a voluntary capacity. From the Portrait Gallery’s inception Buxton assisted with designing, constructing and maintaining display cases and other structures, often working from his own home workshop on various projects. A long standing member of the Programme Committee Bill Buxton also worked tirelessly in the search for possible funding for the Portrait Gallery.
Kay McCormick is a self taught artist who graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with Honours in Art History and English Literature from the Open University in the UK. McCormick has exhibited at the New Zealand Academy of Fine Arts in Wellington and was a finalist in the 2008 & 2012 Adam Portraiture Awards. McCormick chose Bill Buxton as her subject on account of her friendship with his sister, and then discovered his long association with the Gallery. It is a confident work and although rather formal and precise, manages to offer an animated and affectionate interpretation, while the inclusion of both the subject’s own handiwork – the miniature chairs – and the view from his home, provide further insight into his character and circumstances.
© 2016 The New Zealand Portrait Gallery Trust