Fantham's Peak
Elizabeth Thomson


Elizabeth Thomson
Fantham's Peak
Production date:
Accession No:
800 x 650mm
Photo-etching and aquatint on paper

Collection Govett-Brewster Art Gallery, New Plymouth. Purchased from the JT Gibson Bequest in 1988.

Fantham's Peak is one of the peaks of Mt Taranaki. It was named in 1887 after Fanny Fantham, who was the first woman to climb it. This artwork by Elizabeth Thompson was commissioned by the Govett-Brewster Art Gallery and was published as a pagework in Art New Zealand magazine.
It depicts a surreal mountain scene, complete with tiny climbing figures, and, more incongruously, an armadillo. Thompson liked the idea of describing a familiar and ordinary scene and introducing things that don't quite fit, like the armadillo.

Thompson has developed her own method of photoetching: she creates sculptures or collages and takes black and white photographs of them. The photographic images are arranged into a composition, then transferred to a photo-sensitive zinc plate by exposing it to the light. The image is then printed onto paper by running the zinc plate through a printing press. 'Fantham's peak' has been aquatinted as well: before it was printed, parts of the zinc plate were covered with a 'ground' which captures ink and so makes the image darker and gives it texture.