Captain Stephen Ponsonby Peacocke
a British officer of the Bombay Army
an artist notable for his 17 paintings of historic landscape
views in the Nilgiri Hills
. Tinted lithographs
of these views and published in imperial folio in London by the
lithographer Paul Gauci
Peacocke's lithographs reflect the romantic escape to a temperate
hilly area that all Britishers
plains yearned for in those days.Stephen Peacocke' s career
culminated as a member of the New Zealand Legislative
from 1866 until his death in 1872.
Peacocke's parents, Lieutenant Colonel Stephen Peacocke Sr. of the
Buffs (3rd Foot)
and Louisa Tottenham Peacocke were married at Bath, Somerset, in the west
of England, on June 11,
Col. Stephen Peacocke Sr. by George
There is fine miniature portrait of Stephen Peacocke
1800, by George
. There is a love note from Louisa to Stephen in the
back of the miniature:
"My beloved, my adored, Stephen, my idolised and
matchless husband, married June 11th, 1808. Louisa
Their eldest child, Stephen Ponsonby Peacocke Jr., the artist, was
born in 1813.
second son, Eliott Tottenham Peacocke, was at Tonbridge
School 1832-33, joined the 1st Bombay Native Infantry in
1837, was promoted to Captain in the 1st Grenadiers Regiment in
India in 1847 as Deputy Assistant Quartermaster General of the
Army, and died in Bombay aged 38 on 13 July 1854.
was/is supposedly a monument there erected to his memory by his
In 1837, Stephen Ponsonby Peacocke Jr. and Isabella Anne Louisa
Brydges born 1815, the daughter of a Baronet, were married,
probably while he was on leave in England.
Stephen and Isabella had four sons and two daughters and at least
ten grandchildren. Three of the sons and one daughter were
residents of Auckland, and the fourth son settled in New South Wales They are:
- *1. Georgina Elizabeth Emma Peacocke, of Devonport, New Zealand, born c.1844, Poet, author of a book
of verse, Rays from the Southern Cross, died May 14, 1892,
at Devonport, NZ.
- *2. John FitzRoy Beresford Peacocke, of Remuera, New Zealand, Born Switzerland, c. 1847, married about 1876 at
Auckland at the age of 29 to Florence Pilling, lived in New Zealand
sixty years, no known occupation, died 11 June 1917 aged seventy at
Woolton Road, Remuera, NZ, buried in the Roman Catholic Cemetery at
Howick. Male issue living - aged 36, 33, 28, 26. Female issue
living - aged 40, 38, 34, 30.
- :1. Hilary m 1st Evelyn Wood 2nd Edna.
- :2. Cyril Loftus DeQuincey Peacocke killed in action WW I.
- :3. Noel Peacocke.
- :4. Muriel Charlotte Anne Peacocke, born 1881.
- :5. Egerton Francis Joseph Peacocke, born 1880, died 1960.
- :6. Blanch Louisa Peacocke.
- :7. Frederica Isabel Peacocke, born 1878.
- :8. Paul Peacocke died in infancy.
- :9. Florence Blanche Mary Peacocke, born 1876.
- :10. ? Madge
- *3. Gerald Loftus Torin Peacocke, a Madeira-born English
barrister, later editor of the New Zealand
- :1. Inez Isabel Maud Peacocke, born January 31, 1881, a
teacher, novelist, broadcaster and poet, married George Edward
Cluett on 30 June 1920 in the Holy Trinity Parish Church of
Devonport, died childless 1973.
- *4. Reginald Thomas Stephen Peacocke b 1854, went to Australia
and married Elizabeth Crook.
- *5. Ponsonby John Raleigh Peacocke.
- *6. Ines Eva Isabel Peacocke, married Thomas
Lindesay, of Howick, New
Stephen Peacocke joined the King's Own Scottish Borderers
(25th Foot) infantry
regiment as an
on October 25,
was in India in the 1830s
with his regiment and was in Ootacamund convalescing from an
illness for some time during this period.
He was promoted to
September 15, 1837 and Captain
1839. In October, 1842, Capt. Peacock was furloughed for 3 months
to Bombay. In April, 1843 he was furloughed to England for nine
months for the purpose of effecting an exchange or retiring, either
on half-pay or by the sale of his commission. By 1851 he was with
and on November 11, 1851 received a brevet
promotion to Major
. and on the same day appears on
the list of Majors who have retired by sale, by commutation, with a
gratuity or by surrender of half pay, not in the reserve.In
1854-55, he appears on the retired list.
early days, only about 15 years after the founding of Ootacamund, Captain Peacocke created 17 drawings of historic
landscape views in the Nilgiri Hills during a medical leave spent
at Ootacamund in the late 1830s.
reflect the romantic escape to a temperate hilly area that all
in the plains yearned for in
those days. It was a home away from home. Furlough was usually only
every 5 years or so but there was the nearby refuge of the cool
climate of the Indian hills to seek, especially Ooty with its
and strawberries growing
In May 1847, the imperial folio; Koondah Ranges, Western
Ghauts, Madras, at & about the Stations of Ootacamund and
Conoor, and the Segoor, Koondah and Conoor Passes
vignette title page and sixteen large ( x ) plates after Peacocke
was executed in the best style of tinted lithography printed on
, with added hand colouring, in
contemporary half morocco leather
binding with gilt spine
for the price of £
.The set was published
by the lithographer, Paul Gauci, 9 North Crescent, Bedford
There are three notable features in all the Peacocke drawings.
First, the play of sunlight in the background of these landscapes
is realistic and supplies the title the Sunlit Hillscapes
to this series. The soft but brilliant glow of light in the South
Indian hills is beautifully captured by the artist in each of the
drawings. Second, the graphical
in his topographic representations is very
lifelike. The elevations and distant houses are all in proportion
and scale. The distant views, with scale and depth, give drama to
Peacocke's landscapes. Third is attention to detail away from the
central focus of the work. For example in View in the Hills,
, one can see that the hills to top left are dotted
about with houses, not apparent on a cursory glance, all perfectly
positioned, topographically, and in perspective. Capt. Peacocke was
trained in surveying in the Army and used this training to good
effect in his Neilgherry views.
Other than their 1847 publication, the lithographs are undated and
the sequence of the original paintings is unknown. In an
advertisement in Allen's Indian Mail
the lithographs are
listed in the following order:
Advertisement for Peacocke
Lithographs, Allen's Indian Mail, 1846
- 1. Vignette title-page, with a view of a halting place
between Avalanche and Sispara. (This may be Bangitappal)
- 2. General View of Ootacamund.
- 3. Avalanche.
- 4. View amongst the Hills, near Hullikul.
- 5. Bearer's godown at the Avalanche
- 6. Toda Mund and Todas Ootacamund
- 7. View from the Upper Bungalow, Conoor
- 8. View over the Native Village, Conoor.
- 9. View near Hullikul with the Koondah Range and
- 10. View Of Conoor from the Oota Road
- 11. Traveller's Bungallow, Sispara.
- 12. View in the Koondhas, near Sispara.
- 13. Mr. Grove's House, Waterfall Kaitee.
- 14. Road Cut between Ootacamund and Conoor
- 15. View of the Low Country Conoor Pass.
- 16. Waterfall near Bungallow.
- 17. View at Ootacamuud, Nilligierries.
Gallery of Lithographs
The following gallery of Stephen Peacock's landscape lithographs is
ordered geographically from the Low Country & Coonoor
, up through General View of Ootacamund
continuing west up along the Sispara Ghat road past
and culminating in the most dramatic geography
in the Nilgiri Hills; View in the Koondahs, near Sispara
Image:Peacocke-View of the Low Country &
Coonoor Pass -.jpg|(*)A View of the Low Country & Coonoor Pass
Image:Peacocke-View of Coonoor from the
Ootah Road.jpg|(*)View of Coonoor from the Ootah
RoadImage:Peacocke-View of the Upper Bungalow, Coonoor
-.jpg|(*)View from the Upper Bungalow, CoonoorImage:Peacocke-View
near Hullikul, Koondah -.jpg|(*)View Near Hullikul,
KoondahsImage:Peacocke-View in the Hills, Hullikkul.jpg|(*)View in
the Hills, HullikkulImage:Peacocke-Roadcut Between Coonoor &
Ootacamund.jpg|Roadcut Between Coonoor & Ootacamund
Image:Peacocke-View Over the Native Village,
Coonoor, Looking Towards Ootacamund.jpg|View Over the Native
Village, Coonoor, Looking Towards OotacamundImage:Peacocke-View at
Ootacamund Neilgherries, Govt House.jpg|Government House View at
Ootacamund, NeilgherriesImage:Peacocke-General view of
Ootacamund.jpg|General View of OotacamundImage:Peacocke,Waterfall
From Bungalow at Colhutty, Segoor pass.jpg|Waterfall from Bungalow
at Colhutty, Segoor passImage:Peacocke-Mr Grove's House, Waterfall,
Kaitie.jpg|Mr Grove's House, Waterfall, KaitieImage:Peacocke,Todas
& Toda Munds (Habitations) -.jpg|(*)Todas Munds (Huts) &
at the Avalanche.jpg|(*)Bearers godown at the
Image:Peacocke-View in the Koondahs, near
Sispara.jpg|View in the Koondahs, near Sispara
An entire set of 16, tinted and
uncoloured , are part of the Raj Bhavan art collection in
In June 1996, a partial set of 14 plates was sold by Christies
at auction for £863 ($1,335).
The lithos of Peacocke are not in Travel in Aquatint &
by the late Maj. John
(*)On August 19 -31, 2009 nine of these lithographs, from the
private collection of V. Narayan Swami, were displayed in the
Exhibition of rare, unique and never-before-seen Etchings,
Engravings & Aquatints : "Madras: From the City to the
Presidency" at the Vennirul Art Gallery, C.P. Art Centre by the
C.P. Ramaswami Aiyar Foundation, Chennai, Tamil Nadu.
period in Madeira, Stephen and
Louisa immigrated to New
Zealand from England in 1858 and founded a strong and
continuing lineage in New Zealand and Australia. After a short stay in the province of
Canterbury they moved to Auckland in 1859. By 1860, Stephen
Peacocke had bought some land near the Pensioner Settlement of
Tamaki and remained settled there for the rest of his
life. In 1860 - 1861 he was on the Auckland Jury list as a Retired field officer living at East
Stephen Ponsonby Peacocke in New
When the New Zealand land wars
broke out in the Waikato, Major Peacocke, as an ex-military
officer, offered his services to the Government. He was given the
rank of Lt.
command of the 3rd battalion of the Auckland Militia, during the
Invasion of Waikato
commanded the district extending from Wairoa south to
Otahuhu, a line which at the beginning of
the war was practically “the front,” defended by Galloway's and St.
After the war, in 1865, Colonel Peacocke (or Ponsonby as he was
called) turned his attention to politics. He entered the Auckland Provincial Council
represent the Pensioner Settlements from 1865 - 1869. He was called
to the New Zealand
in 1866 and attended several sessions of
Parliament in Wellington, where he became known as a polished and
effective speaker. He served as Crown and Waste Lands
between 1867 and 1868. He continued to serve on
the Legislative Council until his death. Colonel Peacocke was one
of those early settlers who devoted to the public service highly
cultivated minds, guided by those principles of public honour and
integrity, which are characteristic of English gentlemen
. Isabella Peacocke died on 12 March 1872
and Stephen Peacocke died just over two months later on 30 May
1872. They are both buried in All Saints Churchyard, Howick, New
Zealand. The headstone over their grave reads: "In death they
were not divided
- note: George Chinnery was a celebrated artist of various
locations in India before he skipped leaving large debts and went
on to Macau where he spent 35 years and also ran up huge
- The register of Tonbridge School, from 1820 to
- The William the Conqueror Database Conqueror
- Vol 23, page 297, C. Little records, Auckland Public Library
- Mildred Archer and Ronald Lightbown, India Observed: India
as viewed by British artists 1760-1860. (London 1982), Alpine
Fine Arts Collection (1984) ISBN 0881680621, ISBN