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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.

The Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

Portrait of Dame Elisabeth Murdoch

2000
Australian Tapestry Workshop, Christopher Pyett (photographer), Normana Wight (computer treatment) and Merrill Dumbrell (weaver)

warp: cotton No.12 seinetwine; weft: wool and cotton (overall: 144.8 cm x 120.4 cm)

Dame Elisabeth Murdoch AC DBE (1909–2012), philanthropist, was the widow of Sir Keith Murdoch and mother of the publisher, Rupert Murdoch. Over her life Dame Elisabeth contributed unstintingly to Australian artistic, cultural, educational, medical, environmental and community causes, particularly in her home state of Victoria. She endowed the Murdoch Children's Research Institute, the Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Sculpture Foundation, the Dame Elisabeth Murdoch Arboretum, and the Australian Ballet. Dame Elisabeth 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 provided scholarships for research into childhood deafness, funded digitisation projects and supported programs to help troubled and ill youth. In 2003 she received the Great Australian Philanthropy Award and in 2005 – at the age of 96 – she was named Victorian of the Year. Dame Elisabeth died at her home Cruden Farm near Langwarrin, Victoria at the age of 103.

Dame Elisabeth was a founding member of the Victorian Tapestry Workshop's Board of Management (now the Australian Tapestry Workshop). Its founding 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'. The image is appropriately set in Dame Elisabeth's lovingly tended garden at Cruden Farm.

Commissioned with funds provided by Marilyn Darling AC 2000
© Australian Tapestry Workshop

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Australian Tapestry Workshop (age 24 in 2000)

Christopher Pyett (age 24 in 2000)

Normana Wight (age 24 in 2000)

Merrill Dumbrell (age 24 in 2000)

Dame Elisabeth Murdoch AC DBE (age 91 in 2000)

Supported by

Marilyn Darling AC (30 portraits supported)

Related portraits

1. The Honourable Margaret Lusink AM, 2019. All Pamela Joyce, Australian Tapestry Workshop.

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.

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
Portrait of Dame Elisabeth Murdoch
Portrait of Dame Elisabeth Murdoch
Portrait of Dame Elisabeth Murdoch

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.

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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 past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

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