Light & Reflections: the house and the art in our lives

Helen Beaglehole


The story of an extraordinary private art collection. Works by over fifty artists including McCahon, Hōtere, Waters, Page, Hodgkins, Woollaston and Killeen.

About the book

‘This book fills an important role in the public record through Helen’s personal account of the formation of a major private collection of New Zealand art and the lives it touched.’ — Julia Waite, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki

Light & Reflections is a story of a home filled with contemporary New Zealand art and the family who collected it over two generations and nearly ninety years. It’s a story that is both quietly domestic and culturally significant – for while much has been written about our leading artists, little has been documented of the lives of their work in private collections and the people who live alongside them. Author Helen Beaglehole and photographer Matthew O’Reilly open the red front door of the Beaglehole home in Messines Road, Karori, and invite readers to experience a singular collection, the fall of light in the rooms and the reflections that arise.

About the author

Helen Beaglehole is a Wellington writer, editor and historian, whose books include: One Hundred Havens: The settlement of the Marlborough Sounds and Lighting the Coast: A history of New Zealand’s coastal lighthouse system. She is an award-winning children’s author and a contributor to the Dictionary of New Zealand Biography and Te Ara encyclopedia. Helen’s passion for collecting art that she shared with her husband, Tim, inspired Light & Reflections.

Matthew O’Reilly became a documentary photographer as an aspect of his art conservation work, and he has been a keen amateur photographer for forty years. He’s had a lifelong exposure to New Zealand art as the son of Ron O’Reilly, noted collector and supporter of Colin McCahon and Toss Woollaston, and as a framer of paintings at the National Art Gallery and Te Papa. His work has allowed him to think in depth about the relation of viewer to subject matter, something he applied to Light & Reflections.


Dimensions: 190 x 250mm
Number of pages: 180
Binding: hardback
Additional information: Full colour throughout

Look inside

To read an extract and see inside, click the thumbnail below: