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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.

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Study for a portrait of Dame Merlyn Myer DBE

1960s
Sir William Dargie CBE

oil on masonite (frame: 63.0 cm x 54.5 cm, support: 49.0 cm x 40.2 cm)

Dame Merlyn Myer DBE (née Baillieu, 1900–1982), philanthropist, was born in Queenscliff, Victoria and raised in Melbourne. At sixteen she met Sidney Myer, who'd arrived in Victoria as Simca Baevski in 1898. By 1911, he'd opened a sophisticated American-style department store, the Myer Emporium, on Bourke Street. He married Merlyn in 1920. After his death in 1934, Merlyn devoted herself to the business and to fundraising, administering the Sidney Myer Charitable Trust, which financed the Sidney Myer Music Bowl among many other projects. She was an active board member of the Royal Melbourne Hospital for four decades, and was appointed OBE for her work on behalf of the Red Cross during the war. She raised large sums for cancer and heart disease research and supported many community welfare organisations. She was promoted to DBE for her philanthropy in 1960.

A professional portraitist for almost 70 years, Sir William Dargie's output constitutes a who's who of leading Australian figures. This work – a study for a portrait in the Myer family collection – was a gift to the National Portrait Gallery from the estate of Marion Orme Page, whose father, the pastoralist and businessman Sir Clive McPherson, was another of Dargie's many subjects, and a colleague of Dame Merlyn's on the board of the Royal Melbourne Hospital.

Gift of the Estate of Marion Orme Page 2016
© Roger Dargie and Faye Dargie

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

Sir William Dargie CBE (age 48 in 1960)

Dame Margery Merlyn Baillieu Myer DBE (age 60 in 1960)

Donated by

Trustees of the Estate of Marion Orme Page (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 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.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency