Violet Teague

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Violet Teague
Self portrait (1899)
Born21 February 1872
Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
Died30 September 1951(1951-09-30) (aged 79)
EducationNational Gallery of Victoria Art School, Melbourne
Known forEtching, lithography
Notable work
AwardsBendigo Jubilee Exhibition gold medal, 1901

Violet Helen Evangeline Teague (21 February 1872 – 30 September 1951) was an Australian artist, noted for her painting and printmaking.

Early life and training[edit]

The only daughter of Melbourne homeopath James Teague and his wife Eliza Jane Miller, Teague was born on 21 February 1872 in Melbourne. Her mother died while she was an infant, and she was raised by her father and his second wife, Sybella, along with Sybella's two children.[1] Teague was taught by a governess at home, and her education included French and the classics.[2] She completed college at the Presbyterian Ladies' College, Melbourne.[3]

Teague travelled with her family in Europe as a young woman. She toured widely, and visited galleries in Germany, France, Belgium the Netherlands and England. In 1901, she recalled visiting Spanish galleries during her childhood, and commented "never shall I forget the Velazquez, with their beautiful horses and exquisite colouring, or the lovely Raphaels".[4]


Teague was "the first Australian to demonstrate a sustained interest in, and an understanding of Japanese woodblock printmaking".[5] Printing from woodblock had a long history in Japan.

Teague exhibited regularly at the Paris Salons, including with a portrait of a Colonel Rede in 1897.[6]

Her painting Boy with a Palette won a silver prize from the Old Salon, Paris when exhibited in 1920, and was later hung at the Royal Academy of Arts, London.

Following the 1920 Paris Salon, Australian artist Rupert Bunny wrote to Teague, and observed that The Boy with the Pallette was one of the best works in that year's exhibition at the Old Salon.[7][8]

One of the most unusual aspects of Teague's oeuvre, one that lacks almost any referents in Australian art, was the creation of altar paintings and banners for Protestant churches. The first was a 1910 commission (now in the Hamilton art gallery)[9] for a church in Wannon, Victoria, where her brother worshipped. The frame for the work was designed by her friend, artist Jessie Traill.[10] In 1921, Teague exhibited an altar piece (now at St. Paul's Cathedral, Melbourne)[9] for a new church at Kinglake, Victoria, built as a memorial to soldiers who died in World War I. Inscriptions to accompany the picture were again prepared by Traill, and placed on the base of the work. The painting was Teague's most prominent work at a solo exhibition held at the Melbourne Athenaeum in 1921.[6]


Teague has been reckoned among the best portraitists Australia has produced.[3] Teague has also been identified as one of Australia's first female art critics.[11]



  1. ^ Peers 1995, p. 461.
  2. ^ Clark 1995, p. 10.
  3. ^ a b Lee, Mary Alice (1990). "Teague, Violet Helen (1872–1951)". Australian Dictionary of Biography. 12 (MUP). Retrieved 8 February 2014.
  4. ^ "Miss Violet Teague "at home"". Table Talk. Melbourne. 25 July 1901. pp. 18–19. Retrieved 23 June 2014 – via National Library of Australia.
  5. ^ Butler 2007, p. 123.
  6. ^ a b "Art exhibitions". The Argus. Melbourne. 29 November 1921. p. 4. Retrieved 23 June 2014 – via National Library of Australia.
  7. ^ "Items of interest". The Argus. Melbourne. 30 June 1920. p. 10. Retrieved 23 June 2014 – via National Library of Australia.
  8. ^ Clark 1999, p. 9.
  9. ^ a b "Anglican Parish of the Otways". Retrieved 7 August 2016.
  10. ^ Vernon 1999, p. 83.
  11. ^ Peers, Juliet (8 March 2018). "Violet Teague: the (woman) artist as critic". Australasian Victorian Studies Journal. 6: 84–101.


  • Butler, Roger (2007). Printed. Images by Australian Artists 1885–1955. Canberra, ACT: National Gallery of Australia. ISBN 978-0642-54204-5.
  • Clark, Jane (1999). "Introduction". In Jane Clark and Felicity Druce (ed.). Violet Teague. Roseville, NSW: The Beagle Press. pp. 9–19. ISBN 0947349294.
  • Peers, Juliet (1995). "Teague, Violet Helen Evangeline". In Joan Kerr and Anita Callaway (ed.). Heritage: The National Women's Art Book. Roseville East, NSW: G + B Arts International / Craftsman House. pp. 461–462. ISBN 976-6410 45-3.
  • Vernon, Kay (1999). "A Markedly Cultured Mind and a Devotional Spirit: Violet Teague's Altar Paintings". In Jane Clark and Felicity Druce (ed.). Violet Teague. Roseville, NSW: The Beagle Press. pp. 9–19. ISBN 0947349294.

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