October 18 2017, updated 7:24pm

Anzac icon under the hammer

Last updated 17:04 02/04/2008
PIECE OF HISTORY: Simpson and his Donkey, painted by New Zealander Horrace Moore-Jones, is to be auctioned next week. The image has become an icon of the Anzac story.

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One of the Anzac history's most revered icons – the "Simpson and his Donkey" painting – will be auctioned next week in Auckland.

Painted by New Zealand sapper Horrace Moore-Jones it shows Australian John Simpson Kirkpatrick and his donkey carrying a wounded man down to the beach at Gallipoli.

It is revered in Australia and is featured on their $100 note.

Moore-Jones painted at least five pictures of Simpson and his donkey and the one to be auctioned next week at Webb's in Auckland has been in a family for generations. It was given to them by Moore-Jones himself.

Webbs fine art head Emma Fox told Fairfax Media it was a "spine-chilling" work.

"If you looked at it without knowing any of the history it's a modest object, but its the back story that makes it special".

Simpson was a heroic figure in Australia for braving Turkish fire at Gallipoli, rescuing wounded men.

On his last trip down he was shot in the back and died. The donkey carried onto the beach with the wounded man, then returned to the dying Simpson.

Australia's government is considering a posthumous Victoria Cross for Simpson.

Moore-Jones, who was at Gallipoli to draw battle topography for the high command, later died in a Hamilton house fire trying to rescue the occupants.

Each of the five paintings he did was different from each other. The one widely known in Australia is in the National Gallery in Canberra.

Other paintings are in the Auckland War Memorial Museum, Timaru and Hamilton.

Fox said the one sold in the National Gallery was purchased for A$120,000 and a similar price is expected in New Zealand next week.

People rarely "show their hand" if they are interested in buying.

"The interest is fairly high."

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- Fairfax Media

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