Clarice Beckett

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Clarice Majoribanks Beckett (21 March 1887 – 7 July 1935) was an Australian painter born in Casterton, Victoria. Her works are featured in the collections of the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria and the Art Gallery of South Australia.

Early life

Beckett was born in Casterton, Victoria, the daughter of Joseph Clifden Beckett, a bank manager, and his wife Elizabeth Kate, née Brown. Her grandfather was John Brown, a Scottish master builder who had designed and built Como House and its gardens in South Yarra, Victoria.

She was a boarder at Queen's College, Ballarat until 1903, before spending a year at Melbourne Church of England Girls' Grammar School. She showed artistic ability, and after leaving school took private lessons in charcoal drawing at Ballarat. In 1914 she went to Melbourne’s National Gallery School, completing three years of study under Frederick McCubbin before continuing her studies under Max Meldrum, whose controversial theories became a pivotal factor in her own art practice.

In 1919 her parents moved from Bendigo to the bayside suburb of Beaumaris and, with their health failing, Beckett assumed household responsibilities that virtually dictated the structure of the rest of her life, severely limiting her artistic endeavour. Beckett could only go out during the dawn and dusk to paint as most of her day was spent caring for them.


Beckett is recognised as one of Australia's most important modernist artists. Despite a talent...
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