Georgiana McCrae – Artist

Georgiana McCrae, artist and writer, journeyed to Melbourne in 1841 before becoming an early settler at Arthur's Seat.

Before marriage to lawyer Andrew McCrae and immigration to Port Phillip, Georgiana Huntly McCrae (1804 – 1890) had been a professional portraitist, an unconventional career for a woman of her time.

After her marriage she painted only for pleasure. Her watercolours of the Arthur’s Seat homestead and surrounding bush express the scale of the rural landscape and empathy Georgiana felt for the country.

Her portrait of Bunerong woman ‘Eliza’ is a sensitively executed portrait of a ‘particular friend’ to the McCraes from amongst the tribe. Eliza and her partner Benbenjie taught Georgiana and her son George Gordon words from their language they wrote in a document they called ‘Lexicon’.

McCrae was born in London, the daughter of the fifth Duke of Gordon. Well educated, she spoke French and other languages and was a talented musician. Her major talent was as an artist. She studied with John Varley, John Glover and M. D. Serres, and miniature painting by Charles Hayter also attending the Royal Academy.  In  1820-21 she was awarded medals for a miniature and group of portraits in watercolour from the Society for Promoting Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.


The last 6 months of suspense - worry - Hurry, delays, packing, removing, detention in town - and now - living in scattered Huts waiting for the completion of our House, have grievously interfered with my home habits.

Georgiana McCrae, Journal, June 1845.

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