(21 March 1887 – 7 July 1935)
Education: She was a boarder at Queen’s College, Ballarat until 1903, before spending a year at Melbourne Church of England Girls’ Grammar School. She showed artistic ability, and after leaving school took private lessons in charcoal drawing at Ballarat. In 1914 she went to Melbourne’s National Gallery School, completing three years of study under Frederick McCubbin before continuing her studies under Max Meldrum, whose controversial theories became a pivotal factor in her own art practice.
Achievements: Beckett is recognised as one of Australia’s most important modernist artists. Despite a talent for portraiture and a keen public appreciation for her still lifes, Beckett preferred the solo, outdoor process of painting landscapes. She relentlessly painted sea and beachscapes, rural and suburban scenes, often enveloped in the atmospheric effects of early mornings or evening. Her subjects were often drawn from the Melbourne bayside suburb of Beaumaris, where she lived for most of her life, caring for her ailing parents during the day and spending time around dawn and dusk painting. She was one of the first of her group to use a painting trolley, or mobile easel to make it easier to paint outdoors in different locations.