The Flight into Egypt

Frederick Goodall, Artist

This is one of the paintings in our collection. It was made in England, Great Britain in 1884.
See full details

Object Detail

frame: 2620 x 4130mm
image:2120 x 3630mm
oil on canvas
At a monumental 2.62 metres high and 4.13 metres wide, Frederick Goodall’s Flight into Egypt is so large it has had to remain on permanent display within the Sarjeant Gallery since its arrival in Wanganui for the opening of the Gallery in 1919. The painting was an instant success, and was considered ‘striking’ and ‘merit[ing] attention’ when the exhibition was reported on by the Wanganui Chronicle on 5 September 1919. The regard held for the painting meant that in 1922 it was formally purchased for the Permanent Collection, with funding sourced through public subscription.
English artist Frederick Goodall was a true realist painter and infused his work with authentic details gleaned through the time he spent in Egypt traveling with Bedouin tribesmen. In Flight into Egypt, which Goodall considered his finest work, we see the influence of his travels in the depiction of uniquely Egyptian livestock, bird life and landscapes. While Goodall obtained a level of popularity during his career, with examples of his works in the collections of the Tate and the Victoria and Albert Museum, his ultimate fate was not a happy one. When he died in 1904 he was bankrupt and during World War Two many of his works were destroyed.
The passage of time and its eighty years of constant display meant that by the beginning of this decade Flight into Egypt was in dire need of conservation. In 2011, with the generous support of the New Zealand Lotteries Board, funds where obtained to carry out the required preservation of the painting. The sheer size of the work, along with its fragile state, meant that two specialist conservators from the Auckland Art Gallery were required to work on the painting in situ. With the help of multi levelled scaffolding the conservators carried out meticulous cleaning and repair of the painting and today we can fully appreciate Goodall’s greatest work.
- Sarah McClintock, Chron article, July 2013
Credit Line
Collection of the Sarjeant Gallery Te Whare o Rehua Whanganui. Purchased for the Gallery by public subscription, 1922.
Collection Type
Permanent collection
Acquisition Date



Accession Number: