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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

Dame Elisabeth Murdoch

by Simon Elliott, 1 June 2002

The story behind the commissioning of the tapesty portrait of Dame Elisabeth Murdoch.

Portrait of Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, 2000 Victorian Tapestry Workshop
Portrait of Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, 2000 Victorian Tapestry Workshop. © Australian Tapestry Workshop

The tapestry of Dame Elisabeth Murdoch AC DBE by the Victorian Tapestry Workshop marked not only the first portrait tapestry for the National Portrait Gallery's collection but was a unique collaborative process and fitting tribute to a remarkable Australian.

Dame Elisabeth is a Founding Member of the Board of Management of the Victorian Tapestry Workshop and has served on committees and boards of many public institutions including the Royal Children's Hospital, the Melbourne International Chamber Music Competition, and the National Gallery of Victoria. She is also the widow of Sir Keith Murdoch and mother of the publisher, Rupert Murdoch.

The tapestry was the first portrait commission for the Victorian Tapestry Workshop. The image is appropriately set in Cruden Farm, Langwarrin where Dame Elisabeth has lovingly tendered the garden for over 65 years. The image was composed by painter Christopher Pyett, adapted on computer by printmaker, Normana Wight and brought alive on the loom by Merrill Dumbrell. Funds were provided by Marilyn Darling for the commission to enter the Portrait Gallery's collection.

Related information

Portrait 4, June - August 2002

Magazine

This issue of Portrait Magazine features articles on Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, George Lambert's self-portrait, Professor Peter Doherty, the man behind the Dr. Who theme, and more.

Michael Kimmelman

Magazine article by Pamela Gray

Michael Kimmelman, Chief Art Critic of The New York Times and author of Portraits: Talking with Artists at the Met, the Modern, the Louvre and Elsewhere, presented the National Portrait Gallery Third Anniversary Lecture on 2 March 2002. He was generously brought to Australia by the Gordon Darling Foundation and Qantas.

David Williamson, 1974 (printed 2001) Gordon Glenn
David Williamson, 1974 (printed 2001) Gordon Glenn
David Williamson, 1974 (printed 2001) Gordon Glenn

The Story So Far...

Magazine article by Simon Elliott

A reflection on the National Portrait Gallery's first four years.

Self portrait with gladioli, 1922 George Lambert
Self portrait with gladioli, 1922 George Lambert
Self portrait with gladioli, 1922 George Lambert

Courage, Self-analysis and Skill

Magazine article by Andrew Sayers AM

The story behind George Lambert's Self-portrait with Gladioli.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.