Ruth Tuck

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Ruth Tuck
Ruth Tuck, self portrait.jpg
"The Triple Mirror" self-portrait of Ruth Tuck
Ruth Edith Tuck

(1914-07-22)22 July 1914
Cowell, South Australia
Died8 October 2008(2008-10-08) (aged 94)
Known forPainting
Mervyn Ashmore Smith (m. 1943)

Ruth Edith Tuck OAM (22 July 1914 – 10 October 2008) was a modernist painter of South Australia, noted for joint exhibitions with her husband Mervyn Ashmore Smith (11 December 1904 – 18 March 1994), and her influence as a teacher of painting. She was related to the better-known Marie Tuck.


Ruth Tuck was born at Cowell, South Australia, a daughter of Arthur Edward Tuck (1855 – 8 April 1925) and his wife Minnie née Wallis.

She studied painting under Dorrit Black and exhibited regularly with the Royal South Australian Society of Arts and was a foundation member of the Contemporary Art Society.[1]

She met Mervyn Smith in 1943 and married him on 15 October the same year;[2] they lived in Adelaide, then Mervyn moved to Newcastle, New South Wales in 1949, where he was employed as a County Council planning officer; she joined him few years later.[3] In 1953 they returned to Adelaide, where they remained and held numerous joint exhibitions of their watercolors, both modernist in outlook with Mervyn's work being generally characterised as the more ambitious.[4]

Her written work includes biographies of Mary Packer Harris and Marie Anne Tuck for the Australian Dictionary of Biography.

Ruth established the Ruth Tuck Art School in 1955; it continues to this day in Burnside, South Australia. She was awarded the Order of Australia medal in 1981 for services to art.


Ruth was a granddaughter of noted Baptist minister Rev. Henry Lewer Tuck (11 September 1820 – 26 August 1880), an early immigrant to South Australia, whose brother Edward Starkey Tuck (13 March 1827 – 9 August 1898) was the father of Marie Tuck (5 September 1866 – 3 September 1947). See her article for more details of the Tuck family in South Australia.

Ruth had a son Mark in 1945[5] and twin daughters Michele and Angela in 1953.[6]

For further information on the family see Tuck family.


  1. ^ "Art Show By Husband And Wife". The Advertiser. Adelaide. 24 July 1947. p. 10. Retrieved 10 December 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
  2. ^ Smith, Mervyn; Tuck, Ruth, 1914–2008; Brown, Ron (1980), Interview with Mervyn Ashmore Smith, retrieved 10 December 2015CS1 maint: Multiple names: authors list (link)
  3. ^ "Art Show By Husband And Wife". The Newcastle Sun. NSW. 27 June 1952. p. 5. Retrieved 9 December 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
  4. ^ "Artistic Partnership Has Same Outlook". The Advertiser. Adelaide. 24 August 1954. p. 10. Retrieved 10 December 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
  5. ^ "Today's Social News for Women". The News. Adelaide. 22 April 1949. p. 13. Retrieved 10 December 2015 – via National Library of Australia.
  6. ^ "South Australian water colour artist and teacher Ruth Tuck dies at 94". The Advertiser. Retrieved 10 December 2012.