Gow Langsford Gallery

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Gow Langsford Gallery in Auckland, New Zealand, was established in 1987 by John Gow and Gary Langsford. Although Gow Langsford Gallery is often associated with John Leech Gallery, which origins can be traced back to the mid-19th century, the former was created as a separate venture and with a different purpose in mind.[1]

Gow Langsford Gallery, Lorne Street, Auckland


On 3 August 1855, John Leech ran an advertising in the Southern Cross newspaper which read as follows:

Johm Leech (late of the firm of Richardson and Leech opposite the Royal Hotel, George Street Sydney) Respectfully announces to the inhabitants of Auckland that he has commenced business in High-street, opposite the Wesleyan Chappel as Carver, Gilder, Picture-frame and Looking-glass Manufacturer. Having had considerable experience in the above-named branches, he is quite confident of giving the most perfect satisfaction to those who may favour him with an order. Picture-Frames and Looking glasses re-gilt and re-silvered. Gold Mouldings of every pattern made to order. Ladies Needlework handsomely framed.[1]

By 17 March 1860, an advertisement in The New Zealander says that John Leech had moved premises to ‘Opposite the Old Fellows’ Hall, Queen St. By 1866, the business was trading in Wellesley Street between Albert and Elliott Street. However, in October 1866, “Mr Leech was able to make a bold move up the hill to the “Golden Mile” of Shortland Street where he settled down with his family. The firm John Leech occupied these premises for more than eighty years. During this time in Shortland Street, the business displayed works in its window by artists such as Gustav von Tempsky, Alfred Sharpe, John Barr Clark Hoyte and Charles Frederick Goldie, to mention but a few well known 19th and early 20th century artists. John Leech died in 1879 where upon the business continued under his son Harold who was also known as John, until his death in 1945, aged 87.[1]

Allan Swinton joined the firm in 1946, and in 1959 bought the business. During this time, the business moved to new premises on Lorne St. The space was composed of two galleries: one for the display of reproductions and another for the display of original works. Around this period, artists such as Michael Smither, Jan Nigro, and Garth Tapper were among the many that joined the Gallery.[2] On 24 October 1973, the New Zealand Herald ran a story written by T.J. McNamara "New home for gallery" reviewing the new gallery space: “The spacious new premises of the John Leech Gallery, in Albert St, were opened by the deputy mayor of Auckland, Dr R.H.L. Ferguson last night”… and so began another era of John Leech gallery at 106 Albert Street.[3]

A circuit of galleries developed in the area which Hamish Keith described in the New Zealand Herald on 24 October 1973: “The new John Leech Gallery is only a step away from the Lincoln Gallery, Barry Letts and New Vision, which turns the area into something close to Auckland’s own Bond Street.” Allan Swinton continued to run the business and eventually sold it to Mr Hooker in 1975.[2] Although the shift in ownership had a negative impact on the business, the new joint venture between the art collectors, Murray and Bev Gow and a picture framer named Bill Hart in 1977, the gallery reverted to its original aim of exhibiting artists and offering framing services. As a result, the business began to flourish once again.

By 1980, Murray Gow and Bill Hart bought the Dunham Gallery of Remuera and renamed it John Leech Gallery, Remuera. This business was managed by Latif Zwart and followed the city branch organisation of exhibiting artists as well as offering framing services. In 1986, Chase Corporation bought the building where John Leech was operating. Thus, when the lease on the Albert Street premises came to an end, the city branch gallery was consolidated to the Remuera site. By this stage John Gow, the son of Murray, had joined the company and Bill Hart no longer participated to the venture. The business continued to flourish under the Gow family. The dealing of the 19th and early 20th century art had a profound impact on the business and became a major economic resource for the gallery. During this period, works by artists such as Frances Hodgkins were purchased and sold on behalf of and via John Leech Gallery. John Leech Gallery was relocated in central Auckland opposite the Auckland Art Gallery, complementing Gow Langsford Gallery which is now situated in new premises on Lorne Street. The Remuera branch continues to offer framing services while the city branch moved on to be an online gallery in 2011.[1]


Gow Langsford is part of the Auckland Art Precinct alongside other galleries, forming a centre for the art in Auckland CBD. Gow Langsford gallery is composed of two dealer galleries including a space dedicated to editions and prints.[4] Gow Langsford aims at promoting New Zealand and international contemporary art.[5] It also supports Maori and Pacific artists recognising New Zealand’s unique position and history in the world. It represents both new and established artists and has mounted around 300 exhibitions since it opened its doors.[6]

Through their constant and varied exhibitions, Gow Langsford wishes to expose their artists to different types of audiences, hence, providing a forum for contemporary art on both the local and international scene.[7]

Gow Langsford's recent exhibitions included works by several notable artists: Tony Cragg, Paul Dibble, Dick Frizzell, Max Gimblett, Anthony Goicolea, Judy Millar, John Pule and Bernar Venet.[8][9][10]



  1. ^ a b c d "History". John Leech Gallery. Archived from the original on 8 February 2013. Retrieved 4 May 2012. 
  2. ^ a b Keith, Hamish (20 October 1973). "Move for 118 years old". New Zealand Herald. 
  3. ^ McNamara, T.J. (24 October 1973). "New home for gallery". New Zealand Herald. 
  4. ^ Auckland, Big Little City. "Gow Langsford Gallery". Heart of the City. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  5. ^ Milne, Pippa. "Gow Langsford". Gather and Hunt. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  6. ^ "Gow Langsford Gallery, Auckland Central". Eventfinder. Retrieved 27 April 2012.
  7. ^ Jones, Briget. "Top Five: Auckland Art Galleries". stuff.co.nz. Fairfax NZ. Retrieved 4 May 2012. 
  8. ^ McNamara, TJ, "Getting into the Spirit". New Zealand Herald. 28 April 2012. Retrieved 4 May 2012.
  9. ^ "Arts + Culture". Ponsonby News. 130: 119. 5 April 2012. Retrieved 4 May 2012. 
  10. ^ "Q&A with Gary Langsford". Verve. April 2012. April 2012. Retrieved 4 May 2012. 

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