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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.

Ethel Anderson and her daughter, Bethia, c. 1912

G.W. Lowrie

gelatin silver photograph (support: 17.7 cm x 24.5 cm)

Ethel Anderson (née Mason, 1883-1958), writer and artist, was an important figure in the Sydney modern art scene of the 1920s and 30s. Born in England to Australian parents, Anderson grew up and was educated in Sydney and was 21 when she married a British army officer, Austin Thomas Anderson, in India. Here, in 1907, their daughter, Grace Gwendoline Bethia Anderson, was born. The family left India when, on the outbreak of WW1, Austin Anderson was called up for service in France. Ethel settled in England - firstly in Cambridge and then Worcestershire - where over the next decade she began painting and exhibiting. In 1924, the Andersons returned to Sydney. Their Turramurra home, 'Ball Green', became noted for Ethel's open house policy and her support of a number of modernist painters, including Roland Wakelin, Roy de Maistre and Grace Cossington Smith, her neighbour. Anderson held exhibitions in her home and promoted the work of artists through her writing for newspapers and magazines including Home and Art in Australia. She also exhibited her own work and designed the murals that were executed in a number of churches by the Turramurra Wall Painters Group, which she established in 1927. Throughout the 1930s and 40s Anderson contributed to journals and magazines in Australia and overseas as well as publishing two volumes of verse and four collections of essays and short stories. Her novel, At Parramatta, was published in 1956.

Collection: National Portrait Gallery
Gift of Mrs SM Asplin 2011

Accession number: 2011.16

Currently not on display

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Artist and subject

G.W. Lowrie

Ethel Anderson (age 29 in 1912)

Grace Anderson (age 5 in 1912)

Donated by

Sonagh M. Asplin (2 portraits)

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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.