Judith Perrey Memorial Retrospective Exhibition

Preparing for mum’s exhibition has been an emotional and exciting journey of discovery for my brother, Pete and me. We always knew mum was a hard-working person. She could excel at so many things yet, she was self-effacing.
At school, she excelled at arithmetic and English. She came equal second in the local essay competition at 10 years of age and had her first picture in the newspaper!
During her young years in Hawthorn, she would draw on the pavement with chalk-stones and on any other surface she could find. After Hawthorn West Primary School, mum went to Bradshaw’s Business College where she studied commercial art under Mr V Brown. When her brother, Frank, was tragically killed in a car accident, Judith’s mother used his life insurance pay out money to enrol Judith in the National Gallery of Victoria Art School where she remained and thrived between 1943-47. She won a number of student awards there. Charles Wheeler and William Dargie, Masters at the Gallery art school, both declared that Judith was highly talented
and hard working.
She worked jobs during her time at the Gallery art school and was the archetypal painter living from pay to pay, scraping to pay her fees. She drew for The Australian Journal; illustrated wartime postcards for soldiers to send home; and her letters and diaries reflect her efforts to
find employment.
After the NGV art school, she secured work as an illustrator and commercial artist at a studio connected with The Herald Newspaper. Her work included doing fine line illustrations, cartoons and advertisements in magazines, newspapers and books of all descriptions.
She was a finalist in the Archibald Prize in 1948 with a portrait of GP and war doctor, Joseph Fogarty.
Judith married in 1950 and ceased full-time employment as was the custom of the day.
However, she continued to paint and take on work from home, illustrating small jobs, such as Christmas cards, as they came to hand. She studied briefly at the George Bell art school in 1956.
She exhibited in group exhibitions and small private exhibitions throughout her life. She won many first prizes and ‘highly commended’ awards at local art shows throughout Victoria. After her husband, Tony, died at age 58, she found renewed vigour in her art and was very active in
the 1980s, 90s and 2000s. She was a Fellow of the Victorian Artists’ Society and was a Life
Member of both Melbourne Society of Women Painters and Sculptors and Waverley Arts Society. She was also a member of The 20 Melbourne Painters and found time for us, her family!
She learned to play the piano and played for her pleasure. She was a very good knitter and kitted out lots of her family with lovely woollen jumpers and baby clothes. My son, David, still enjoys the best wool sox! She sewed clothes for herself and others. In my calisthenics years,
Pete’s school concerts and her mothers’ club performances she created outstanding costumes!
She would create patchwork quilts while waiting for her swimming children at pools all over Melbourne.
She laboured for hours over swimming club honour boards, creating logos for primary school and swimming club badges, banners, whatever was needed. Super 8 home movies needed to have captions painted, filmed and put to music.
Peter and I hope you enjoy the exhibition of mum’s work and memories. A catalogue/coffee table book is available for you to enjoy as a keepsake of the Exhibition. -Jenny McAllister