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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.

Portrait of Dame Elisabeth Murdoch, 2000

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
© Australian Tapestry Workshop

Accession number: 2000.24

Currently on display: Gallery Seven (Ian Potter Gallery)

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Artist and subject

Victorian Tapestry Workshop (age 24 in 2000)

Dame Elisabeth Murdoch AC DBE (age 91 in 2000)

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Interview with Sue Walker and Christopher Pyett video: 2 minutes
Interview with Sue Walker and Christopher Pyett video: 2 minutes
Interview with Sue Walker and Christopher Pyett video: 2 minutes
Interview with Sue Walker and Christopher Pyett video: 2 minutes

Dame Elisabeth Murdoch

'Weaving the Dame'

Portrait story

An interview with Victorian Tapestry Workshop artists Sue Walker and Christopher Pyett.

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

The spirit of the gift

Magazine article by Andrew Sayers AM, 2003

Former NPG Director, Andrew Sayers celebrates the support given to the Gallery by Gordon and Marilyn Darling.

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

Dame Elisabeth Murdoch

Magazine article by Simon Elliott, 2002

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

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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.