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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.

Gladys Moncrieff, (1920s)

Ruskin

gelatin silver photograph on paper (sheet: 18.5 cm x 13.7 cm)

Gladys Moncrieff (1892–1976), Bundaberg-born soprano, first toured as ‘Little Gladys – The Australian Wonder Child’ with a small musical road show in Queensland. She made her stage debut in HMS Pinafore in Sydney in 1914. Seven years later she cemented her reputation with a two-year run as the Maid of the Mountains, which opened in Melbourne in 1921 and toured extensively; early in its run critics noted the ‘snowy purity and velvet lusciousness’ of the young star’s voice. With a repertoire comprising The Merry Widow, Floradora and other roles that have long since lain dormant, by the mid-1920s Moncrieff was established as one of the highest-paid performers in the history of the Australian stage. After proving herself on the London musical comedy scene, she returned to Australia in 1928. Henceforth she revelled in great popularity, earning the soubriquet ‘Our Glad’ in about 1935. During World War 2, and in Korea and Japan in 1951, she performed for army personnel. After retiring in 1959, she settled in Surfers Paradise.

Gladys Moncrieff gave this glamorous photograph to the Antarctic aviator Eric Douglas; his daughter, Sally, donated it to the National Portrait Gallery.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Sally Douglas 2009

Accession number: 2009.93

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

Ruskin

Gladys Moncrieff OBE (age 28 in 1920)

Subject professions

Performing arts

Donated by

Sally Douglas (2 portraits)

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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.

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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.