May Vale c.1885
(Collection National Library of Australia, Canberra)
1862 - 1945
May Vale, painter and teacher, was born in Ballarat West, Victoria in 1862. Her art studies began in London in 1875 where she was staying with her family and continued, on her return to Melbourne at the National Gallery School. She travelled overseas again to paint and study between 1890-92.
Vale was notable for her portraits and held art classes at her studio in Swanston Street, Melbourne. In 1906 she travelled again to London to study painting, enamelling, jewellery and metalwork. On her return to Australia in 1908 she settled permanently in Melbourne. While she continued to execute portrait commissions, enamelling became her life work. From 1920 she regularly exhibited and sold her jewellery and bowls, brightly coloured and often decorated with Australian wildflower motifs. She died in Melbourne in 1945.
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