Don’t Forget to Feed the Cat

Mary Bell Thornton


“Hello my dears, I’m writing this in the train which is stopped at the moment at Salzberg for passport examination. So if the writing becomes erratic, you’ll know I’m on the way again …”
The 1958 travel letters and sketches of Stewart Bell Maclennan, first director of the NZ National Gallery.
ISBN: 978-1-98-859500-9 Categories: , , , Tags: , , ,

About the book

Stewart Bell Maclennan was the first Director of New Zealand’s National Art Gallery, and the first full-time professional director of a public art gallery in New Zealand. In 1958 he spent six months in Europe and America, visiting galleries and museums to gather ideas. At home in Wellington his wife and four children eagerly awaited his letters, following his progress with coloured flags on a map on the lounge wall.


His daughter, Mary Bell Thornton, has now put together a delightful collection of the letters to and from Stewart and his family – including some of the sketches he made while travelling. A frank and intimate record of the art world of the 1950s, and packed with humour.


About the author

Mary Bell Thornton was 12 when her father, Stewart Maclennan, went overseas for six months. Years later she discovered that Stewart had kept all the letters his family wrote to him, and, as her mother had saved his, they had the communications of a family for the whole six-month period he was away. The letters were a fascinating time capsule – describing the world she and her brothers and sister had grown up in – and she wanted her children to read them.


Dimensions: 180 x 210 mm
Number of pages: 226
Binding: soft cover
Additional information: Includes colour sketches from Stewart's travels.

Look inside

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