Cowles, Mr

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copy of drawing of the profile of a man in military uniform by W. Macbeth, 1902
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William Macbeth was one of the twin sons born to Henrietta and William Nicholson Macbeth at Oppawa, Christchurch, on 20 September 1879. By the beginning of the 20th century he was working as a clerk for the AMP Society in Wellington. One of his co-workers was the poet Will Lawson, Macbeth illustrated Lawson’s first poetry collection, The Red Road West and Other Verses, published in 1903, They later collaborated on collections of political cartoons with satirical verses, an album devoted to the Trentham military camp and a souvenir volume commemorating the Prince of Wales’s 1920 tour of New Zealand. Although he continued to work in insurance, Macbeth had a secondary career as an artist, exhibiting with the Academy of Fine arts, and as a cartoonist, contributing to Free Lance and other periodicals. He married Florence Mary Borlase in Wellington at St Paul’s pro-cathedral on 9 July 1906. Their daughter, Wilmot, was born on 25 May 1913. The family moved to Merivale, Christchurch in the early 20s, with William continuing to work as an agent for AMP. He died in late February 1943. I’m not certain, but I think this portrait might be of Jabez Alfred Cowles (1872-1950), who was born in Motueka and had a a distinguished career both as a schoolmaster in the Wairarapa and Wellington regions and as a long-serving member of the Territorial Forces.

- Iain Sharp

Posted on 24-09-2019 00:17:50