Behind the scenes
I've enjoyed Albert James Rae's moody mezzotint landscapes and finely observed and etched portraits since a large folio of his work was acquired for the collection in 2001.
Until recently, however, I didn't realise they included this view of Caroline Bay in Timaru.
It's a place that's very familiar to me through my childhood memories of the Caroline Bay carnival, a seaside extravaganza that recently celebrated its centenary. I suspect that the years I attended while holidaying with relatives in Timaru in the mid eighties may not have exactly been its heyday - the recent picture below from the Carnival website looks a lot more picturesque than the slightly seedy, keep-your-hand-on-your-purse-and-don't-talk-to-strange-men atmosphere I recall. Nevertheless, the sideshows, ghost train, Sound Shell, improbably large chocolate wheel and vomit-inducing carnival rides (anyone remember the Octopus?) were a highlight of the blistering South Canterbury summer for my sister and me.