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In an odd sort of way this is both a fragmentary history of Auckland and the story of a woman of courage.

Conservation is a vital topic today, and where some people fight for endangered forests, some for birds or animals, others make museums from old machinery or cars or aeroplanes. Hilda Altmans reaction was different. Accepting that their disappearance was inevitable, she went out in search of old homes that were showing signs of decay, or were in the path of that juggernaut known as progress, and made pictures of them. These paintings, selected from scores, possibly even hundreds, were done with a certain gay abandon; they are not
meant to be serious or accurate studies, but they convey the eccentricities and character of the kind of dwellings that housed many Aucklanders from the late nineteenth century to the present day mostly simple little houses which are only now receiving a second look and a new appreciation.

The historical notes are, of necessity, brief; being intended, like the paintings, to give impressions rather than a complete and detailed picture. But we think these impressions are valuable in suggesting that there is a great deal of interest to be derived from pottering about the older parts of the city, and really looking at buildings.

Just when Mrs Altmans work was becoming known, her career was rudely jolted by a severe stroke, which left her one-sided and that the wrong side. Nothing daunted,
she started while still in hospital to educate her left hand to do what her right hand had done. And so, two years later, she is painting again, and experimenting with the effects possible with scraps of coloured paper. She is an object lesson to all of us.

Hardback, first edition 1980, 48pages, good condition, name in front

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