Ms Jane Louise Davidson-Ladd

MA (Dist) Courtauld Institute of Art, London, 2002, BA/BCom conjoint (Art History/Management), the University of Auckland, 2000.

Profile Image
Doctoral Candidate - Doctor of Philosophy


Jane Davidson-Ladd is a PhD student in Art History at the University of Auckland. Her PhD examines the English-born artist Louis John Steele (1842–1918) and the influence he had on the shape and direction of New Zealand art from his arrival in the country in 1886 until his death in 1918. It builds on an interest Jane has long held in New Zealand history paintings.

Jane was previously a curator at Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tāmaki, 2002–2012. She worked primarily with the historic and modern New Zealand collections, but also the historic international collection, specifically Sir George Grey’s collection and the 17th and 18th century print collection. During her time at the Gallery she curated many exhibitions including several for the Gallery’s 2011 reopening: Property of a Gentleman: Sir George Grey’s Paintings; From French Chateau to Kauri Canopy: The Gallery’s Architecture; and Toi Aotearoa, co-curating the historic New Zealand section (1642–1914) with Ngahiraka Mason. Other exhibitions at the Gallery included Goldie and Lindauer: Approaching Portraiture, 2010 (co-curated with Ngahiraka Mason); Picturing History: Goldie to Cotton, 2009; Masters of the Bitten Line: Etching in the Age of Rembrandt, 2006; and Fall of Water, Fall of Light, 2005. She also acted as assistant curator to Victoria Lynn on turbulence: the 3rd Auckland Triennial, 2007. Jane worked to address significant gaps within the historic New Zealand and Pacific print collection, acquiring major suites of works by John Webber, Louis Auguste de Sainson and George French Angas.

Jane was a major contributor to Art Toi: New Zealand Art at Auckland Art Gallery, including the introductory essay “Watering Place: New Zealand Art 1642–1920”, and contributed to other publications on the collection. She acted as managing editor for the 3rd and 4th Auckland Triennial catalogues in 2007 and 2010. She also researched and wrote the Auckland Art Gallery Writing Guide, 2010, the Gallery’s writing and style guide.

In 2012, Jane was instrumental in developing, an online index to the rich resources on New Zealand artists held by libraries, art societies and within published sources. A collaborative project between Auckland Art Gallery and Christchurch Art Gallery research libraries, she has an ongoing role in the project as a member of the Steering Committee.

Prior to joining Auckland Art Gallery Jane undertook her Masters at the Courtauld Institute of Art, London. Her MA thesis considered the Victoria and Albert Museum and how it was attempting to engage with the ‘contemporary’ in order to make itself more relevant in the 21st century. Following the completion of her thesis she interned in the Contemporary Team at the V&A from July – Sept 2002. She was involved in organising the monthly Friday Late View programmes, including a talk by the French performance artist Orlan.

Research | Current

The provisional title for my PhD thesis is "Louis John Steele and the construction of a European art tradition in New Zealand". It considers the influence Steele had on New Zealand art in the period from his arrival in 1886 to his death in 1918. I believe he was quite a significant figure and the extent of his influence is yet to be fully acknowledged. As New Zealand’s first art histories are revised and questioned it is my belief that his place within the canon needs to be reassessed.

Teaching | Current

Guest lecturer for ARTHIS113 Art Matters: Ancient to Digital, 2015.

Committees/Professional groups/Services

Steering Committee for Find New Zealand Artists, a database of artist names

Selected publications and creative works (Research Outputs)

  • Blyth, C., & Davidson-Ladd, J. (2018). A theology of rape: Plundering the woman's body in Deut. 21:10-14 and Louis John Steele's Spoils to the Victor. In C. Blyth, E. Colgan, K. B. Edwards (Eds.) Rape culture, gender violence, and religion: Interdisciplinary perspectives (pp. 145-168). Cham, Switzerland: Palgrave Macmillan. Related URL.
    Other University of Auckland co-authors: Caroline Blyth
  • Davidson-Ladd, J. L., & Larsen, U. (2016). Under the lens: Gottfried Lindauer, the photographer-painter. In N. Mason, Z. Stanhope (Eds.) Gottfried Lindauer's New Zealand: The Maori portraits (pp. 221-228). Auckland: Auckland University Press in association with Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki.
  • Davidson-Ladd, J., & Hillary, S. (1/1/2016). Identifying Lindauer: his materials and techniques [Audio visual documentary], Identifying Lindauer: His Materials and Techniques, Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki. Related URL.
  • Davidson-Ladd, J. L. (2016). The 'Speaking likeness': Gottfried Lindauer's pakeha portraits. In N. Mason, Z. Stanhope (Eds.) Gottfried Lindauers New Zealand The Maori Portraits (pp. 251-262). Auckland, New Zealand: Auckland University Press in Association with Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki.
  • Davidson-Ladd, J. L. (2015). Raiha Reretu, Pare Watene, Tamati Waka Nene, Tuhoto Ariki and Te Paea Hinerangi (Guide Sophia) [Exhibition Catalogue entries]. Revnice : Czech Republic.
  • Davidson-Ladd, J. L. (2011). Artists 1642-1920, 1920-1965 and 1965-1990 [Artist catalogue entries]. Auckland.
  • Davidson-Ladd, J. L. (2011). Watering place: New Zealand art 1642-1920. In R. Brownson (Ed.) Art Toi New Zealand Art at Auckland Art Gallery Toi O Tamaki (pp. 2-7). Auckland: Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki.
  • Davidson-Ladd, J. (2006). Masters of the Bitten Line: Etching in the age of Rembrandt. Auckland, New Zealand: Auckland Art Gallery Toi o Tamaki.

Contact details

Alternative contact

64 9 623 7001

021 385 833

Primary office location

ARTS 1 - Bldg 206
Level 7, Room 738
New Zealand

Web links