On the passing of Barry Brickell

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Publish Date : 26 Jan 2016
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Barry Brickell with 'The Harbour Ferries', Devonport Library
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Barry Brickell and 'The Harbour Ferries', old Devonport Library.
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'The Harbour Ferries' artwork by Barry Brickell, Devonport Library.

Auckland Council pays tribute to renowned potter, artist, environmentalist and craftsman Barry Brickell whose work features in many public collections, including the council’s.

Devonport-Takapuna Local Board Chair Joseph Bergin says Brickell’s terracotta tiles, ‘The Harbour Ferries’, have charmed visitors to Devonport Library for more than 35 years. The 18 relief tiles were commissioned in 1979 by the Devonport Library Associates.

“Barry spent much of his boyhood in Devonport and was intrigued by the to-ing and fro-ing of the ferries on the Waitemata Harbour.

“We were absolutely delighted that Barry could join us last February (2015) to celebrate the opening of the new library and see his work carefully re-installed in the foyer fireside area. This series is a special treasure for our community,” he says.

Auckland Council's Arts and Culture Manager Kaye Glamuzina’s team oversaw the removal of the tiles from the old library and their careful restoration and re-installation.

“Barry’s connection to ‘The Harbour Ferries’ and his childhood home town was extremely strong so he wanted to know exactly what we were planning, every step of the way. He dropped in to the old building to talk our project leader through their removal and kept in close contact as new building progressed.

“His special bus trip up to Auckland from Driving Creek and the ferry ride over to Devonport were an all-important part of that final journey to make sure we’d gotten it all right – arriving to Devonport any other way than ferry was just not an option!” says Ms Glamuzina.

Following the opening celebrations, Mr Brickell sent the project team a typewritten letter with his observations on removing the 18 tiles from the old library and installing in their new home.

“It must have been a painstaking job cutting out each tile from the concrete surrounds without any damage. I would like to express my gratitude to those who did this demanding work.

“The third attempt at displaying my tiles properly is a resounding and enjoyable success. That each one is separately mounted with its nicely made unobtrusive metal supports, screwed to the shelves and standing out from the wall behind is a tribute to those involved. My heartfelt thanks,” said Mr Brickell.

‘The Harbour Ferries’ terracotta tile series can be viewed daily in the foyer of Te Pātaka Kōrero o Te Hau Kapua – Devonport Library at 2 Victoria Road, on the corner of Windsor Reserve, Devonport. A collection of books on Barry Brickell’s life will also be on display.

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