A Chorus of Swans: The Crown Lynn Menagerie

Swan Lake is probably the most universally known ballet of all time and ironically, given the ‘Crown Lynn’ status, all wild swans are protected by Queen Elizabeth II.

It is easy to see then, why Crown Lynn Swans designed (or rather reinterpreted from European designs) by David Jenkin, the Chief Designer at Crown Lynn in the late 1940’s, remained so popular in kiwi homes for so long. They remained in production until the mid-1970’s in various forms and colours, with Black Swans being the rarest. Jenkin also designed that ubiquitous kiwi kitchen icon – the ‘beehive’ mixing bowl, showing that he could move from austere art deco to 40’s baroque design with ease! “after a fall from fashion in the 1970’s, the Swan’s elegant and instantly recognizable silhouette has returned to popularity and today can be found replicated on cushions, tea towels, furnishing fabrics and t-shirts as we revel in nostalgia and kiwiana.” Claire Regnault Te Papa February 2011, Crown Lynn and a flock of swans

Many New Zealand artists have since paid homage to Crown Lynn Swans, notably Martin Poppelwell with his large-scale work for the Museum of New Zealand Te Papa Tongarewa Study for Strip in June 2011; Paul Raynor exhibited 40 Wild Swans; and swans also feature in John Parker’s mural for New Lynn Railway Station. New Lynn was the home-base for Crown Lynn up to its closure in 1989.