Ravenscar House: A biography


Many exciting new buildings have arisen from the rubble of post-earthquake Christchurch but none, perhaps, is as remarkable as Ravenscar House in the heart of the city’s heritage precinct. Ravenscar House: A biography explores the story of this unique, purpose-built house museum as the realisation of a long-held dream and the expression of a heart-warming act of public philanthropy.


Christchurch journalist and writer Sally Blundell tells the compelling story of Jim and Susan Wakefield, whose vision was to share with their community the eclectic and impressive collection of art and artefacts that they had endowed to the charitable Ravenscar Trust. After their house on Scarborough Hill was demolished following the Canterbury earthquakes, the couple were determined to commission a new house museum, filled with a wide range of works by leading New Zealand artists such as Frances Hodgkins, Colin McCahon and Bill Sutton – and many more. Designed by renowned architects Patterson Associates, the Wakefields’ bold but elegant addition to the city was opened in 2021.


Sally Blundell’s engaging and well-informed text is enhanced by family photographs, and stunning images of Ravenscar House itself, the garden it enfolds and the works within its walls. This is a unique story of resilience, architectural ingenuity and, above all, extraordinary generosity.

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