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Portrait of Dame Elisabeth Murdoch
, 2000

by Victorian Tapestry Workshop

warp: cotton No.12 seinetwine; weft: wool and cotton

Dame Elisabeth Murdoch AC DBE (1909-2012), philanthropist and matriarch, was the widow of Sir Keith Murdoch and mother of the publisher, Rupert Murdoch. Over the past sixty years she contributed unstintingly to Australian artistic, cultural, educational and community causes, particularly in her home state of Victoria. She endowed the Murdoch Children’s Research Unit, the Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Sculpture Foundation, the Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Arboretum, and the Australian Ballet. She provided scholarships for research into childhood deafness and the development of chamber music groups; she funded digitisation projects; and she lent her support to a range of programs to help troubled and ill youth. In 2003 Murdoch received the Great Australian Philanthropy Award and in 2005 – at the age of 96 – she was named Victorian of the Year. Dame Elisabeth Murdoch was a Founding Member of the Victorian Tapestry Workshop’s Board of Management. Its former Director, Sue Walker, recalls that Murdoch took great interest in the process of her own portrait, enquiring into each of the weavers and ‘exhibiting her famous exuberant excitement at the completion of weaving’. Dame Elisabeth died at her home in Langwarrin, Victoria, at the age of 103.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Commissioned with funds provided by Marilyn Darling AC 2000
Accession number: 2000.24

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