The journalist Keith Murdoch commissioned this portrait of his mother Annie, née Brown, wife of the Reverend Patrick John Murdoch, who emigrated from Aberdeenshire, Scotland, in 1884. Her Presbyterian background was basic to her character; she brought her children up under the stringent economy of a clergyman’s large family.
Her son had been a successful managing editor of the Melbourne Herald since 1921. He was still a bachelor at 42, when he commissioned the portrait of his mother, but married the next year. In 1931 he produced a grandson for Annie Murdoch; the boy was Rupert Murdoch, who became an international media tycoon.
Lambert painted Mrs Murdoch in Melbourne in September 1927, writing to Amy Lambert from Melbourne on 16 Sept. that ‘Tomorrow I finish or try to finish the portrait of Mrs Murdoch which portrait ... is looking well’. The portrait, titled ‘Mrs Murdoch’, was awarded the 1927 Archibald...