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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 by Victorian Tapestry Workshop
Portrait of Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, 2000 by Victorian 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.