Skip to main content

To help keep our visitors and staff safe, please book your spot before visiting.

Menu

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.

Mary Chomley

1909
Violet Teague

oil on canvas (frame: 152 cm x 118 cm)

Mary Chomley OBE (1872–1960), charity worker, arts patron and feminist, has been described as the 'divine angel of mercy' for Australian prisoners of war during the First World War. Founder of the Victorian Arts and Crafts Society, she was secretary of the committee who organised the First Australian Exhibition of Women's Work in Melbourne, now considered a landmark event in the history of women’s art in Australia. After travelling to England in June 1914, Chomley was prevented from getting home by the outbreak of war. She threw herself into work: teaching English to refugees and volunteering at the Robert Lindsay Memorial Hospital for Officers. In 1916, she joined the Australian Red Cross, coordinating a team of volunteers to distribute thousands of parcels to prisoners of war. Remaining in London after the armistice, Chomley worked with organisations investigating working conditions and opportunities for British immigrant women in Australia. She returned permanently to Melbourne in 1934, resuming her work with the Victoria League for Commonwealth Friendship and the Arts and Crafts Society.

Well-known for her sophisticated portraits of assured, commanding women, Violet Teague's elegant and vivacious painting of Chomley was considered to be a stand out when shown in a solo exhibition held at the Guild Hall in Melbourne in 1909. Teague and Chomley knew each other socially and were both involved in the Arts and Crafts Society.

Purchased with the assistance of funds provided by Jillian Broadbent AC 2021

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

Violet Teague (age 37 in 1909)

Mary Elizabeth Maud Chomley OBE (age 37 in 1909)

Related portraits

1. Eccleston Du Faur, 1911. All Violet Teague.

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.

The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance

The Gallery

Visit us, learn with us, support us or work with us! Here’s a range of information about planning your visit, our history and more!

The National Portrait Gallery building at night
The National Portrait Gallery building at night
The National Portrait Gallery building at night
The National Portrait Gallery building at night

Support your Portrait Gallery

We depend on your support to keep creating our programs, exhibitions, publications and building the amazing portrait collection!

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

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