Skip to content

Update from the Gallery regarding COVID-19

The Art Gallery of New South Wales is open. We are observing strict physical distancing and hygiene measures to protect the health of visitors and staff and minimise the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus). Read the latest visit information




Australian art

View More:


Margaret Alice



Violet Teague


1872 - 1951


Melbourne-born Violet Teague achieved recognition as a fashionable portrait painter in the early 1900s. In the 1890s she had studied in Brussels and London. During this time, a diverse range of artists across the tradition of the grand portrait style, including Titian, Velazquez and Gainsborough greatly inspired her, as did the great innovators of modern portraiture, including the Americans Sargent and Whistler.

Returning to Australia in 1895, Teague continued her studies at the National Gallery School and attended summer schools run by Emanuel Phillips Fox, an artist she maintained a close association with.

The subject matter of 'Margaret Alice' is significant. It is rare to find images of women in relation to sport from this period of Australian art. As Victoria Hammond has noted in relation to this work “This kind of image represents a landmark in the suffragists’ battle for women’s health and greater physical mobility; in the 1880s it was considered risqué for a woman to engage in strenuous physical exercise”1.

The artist Stella Bowen recalled the ordeal of playing tennis in her youth: “it took great courage to cross those immense lawns, hoping you would have enough petticoats (it was a crime to reveal you were a bi-ped above the hem-line, a difficult thing to conceal in the slanting Australian sunlight).”

'Margaret Alice' is one of the outstanding portraits in Teague’s oeuvre. The work is sumptuously rich in its ambience and elaborations of dress, fabric, textures and colours schemes.

1. Hammond, Victoria, 'A century of Australian women artists 1840s – 1940s', 1993, p. 15




Media category


Materials used

oil on canvas


193.2 x 91.5 cm stretcher; 214.5 x 113.5 x 10.0 cm frame

Signature & date

Signed l.r. corner, black oil "Violet Teague.". Dated u.l. corner, black oil ".../ AD 1900.".


Purchased 2017 with funds provided by the Australian Masterpiece Fund, including the following major donors: Barbara Gole (in memory of), Antoinette Albert, Anita & Luca Belgiorno-Nettis AM, Andrew Cameron AM & Cathy Cameron, Krystyna Campbell-Pretty & the late Harold Campbell-Pretty, Rowena Danziger AM & Ken Coles AM, Kiera Grant, Alexandra Joel & Philip Mason, Carole Lamerton & John Courtney, Alf Moufarrige AO, Elizabeth Ramsden, Susan Rothwell, Denis Savill, Penelope Seidler AM, Denyse Spice, Georgie Taylor , Max & Nola Tegel, Ruth Vincent

Accession number


Artist information

Violet Teague

Works in the collection


Shown in 4 exhibitions

Exhibition history

Referenced in 8 publications


Victoria Hammond and Juliette Peers, Completing the Picture: Women artists and the Heidelberg era, Hawthorn East, 1992, pg. 87. 69

Victoria Hammond, A century of Australian women artists 1840s – 1940s, Malvern, 1993, pg. 15 (colour illus.). 38

Richard Neville, Violet Teague, ‘Violet Teague’s portraits’, Sydney, 1999, pg. 27, 39 (colour illus.), 51.

John Saxby (Editor), Look, Sydney, May 2018-Jun 2018, 27 (colour illus.).

Commonwealth exhibition of Australian art, Sydney, 1901, n.p.. In background of photograph of the selection and hanging committee

Table Talk, 08 Nov 1900, pg. 15.

The Age, Melbourne, 08 Nov 1900, pg. 6.

The Argus, Melbourne, 03 Nov 1900, pg. 15.