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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.

Self Portrait in a Brown Coat

1936
Christine A. Pecket

oil on canvas (image: 68 cm x 51 cm, frame: 85.5 cm x 69.5 cm)

Christine Audrey Pecket (1908–1996), artist, was three years old when her family emigrated to Sydney from Yorkshire. Five when she contracted poliomyelitis, she relied on braces and crutches and many years of painful orthopaedic treatments. Despite these challenges and those entailed in being from a large, working-class family with no artistic leanings, Pecket determined on becoming an artist. 'Disabilities are supposed to take everything from life, to leave it hollow and empty,' she said in a 1937 interview, 'but they don't. They make you try all the harder. One makes up one's mind to succeed despite the odds, and one does.' From around 1934, and with financial assistance from the NSW Society for Crippled Children, Pecket studied full-time at East Sydney Technical College, undertaking courses in drawing, printmaking, painting and modelling. Her solo exhibition in 1937 was comprised of over 60 works and included etchings, drawings, watercolours and mural designs along with oil paintings. Having completed her diploma, Pecket established a studio in Castlereagh Street, Sydney, where she painted and offered tuition. When that business failed to flourish she focused on pottery, establishing a studio at her home in Ashfield, teaching, and producing a range of slip cast decorative objects under the 'Christine Ware' label. In 1955 Pecket moved to her own home in Cammeray, where she later built a studio and returned to painting, sculpting and teaching. She also took in lodgers to help make ends meet. She published an autobiography, Some facets of my life, in 1976.

Purchased 2020

Artist and subject

Christine A. Pecket (age 28 in 1936)

Subject professions

Visual arts and crafts

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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 National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency