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Mrs Larritt

29 October, 2019 - 9 November, 2019

29 October – 9 November 2019

Tuesday – Friday 11am to 5pm,
Saturday 11am to 3pm
admission: Free

What was life like for Maggie Larritt, a colonial woman in the first years of her marriage?

Untitled (Blue Chocolate Lily), 2018, stone lithograph with coloured pencil, 290 x 260mm

Mrs Larritt Blue #1, 2018, coloured pencil & watercolour, 570 x 380mm

Untitled (Murnong with Map), 2018, stone lithograph with reproduction map, 300 x 420mm (map - State Library of Victoria)

Bulbine Lily on Shelbourne, 2018, stone lithograph layered reproduction map, 280 x 200mm (map - State Library of Victoria)

Bulbine Lily (Blue), 2018, lithograph with hand colouring, 290 x 260mm

Murnong, 2018, stone lithograph with hand colouring, 290 x 170mm

Mrs Larritt presents the second iteration of Mrs Larritt in Upside-down Country – an exhibition of lithographs and drawings celebrating the caring role and early married life of Maggie Larritt (1835 -1908), wife of the first Surveyor of Bendigo.  This body of work acknowledges the singularly European view of the colonial migrants as they lived on Dja Dja Wurrung land.

This exhibition was originally presented at Dudley House, Bendigo – once the Surveyor’s Office and residence – and home to Maggie and her family.

(NB Upside-down Country – The name given by the Dja Dja Wurrung to their land desecrated by gold mining.)

Building was started at Dudley House Bendigo in 1858. It was to be the Surveyor’s Office and residence. Perhaps there was some sense of urgency to have the building finished for Richard Larritt and his new bride Maggie? Their wedding was in April 1858, although the building wasn’t finished until sometime in 1859.

What was life like for Maggie Larritt, a colonial woman in the first years of her marriage? Her husband was mapping the streets of early Bendigo and women were encouraged to be the ‘Angel in the House’ as per Coventry Patmore’s poem of that name. The poem was popular in the era, espousing ideals of devotion grace and purity for women who would primarily remain in the domestic sphere. It is interesting to note that Virginia Woolf wrote later of ‘Killing the Angel in the House’.

Flowers were seen as an appropriate subject for a woman to explore and while there is little information available about Maggie Larritt, it is highly likely she was aware of Indigenous flowers. Yet it is unlikely that she appreciated their importance as a food source.

Works for Mrs Larritt have been made in consultation with Dja Dja Wurrung elders who provided information regarding food plants of significance.

Meticulous, considered drawing is the basis for Catherine Pilgrim’s practice including lithographs, drawings and textiles. Fastidious attention to detail is the work’s common element – fueled by curiosity and a commitment to accessible imagery. Absence, contemporary still life, personal and historical narratives influence much of the subject matter.

Catherine has exhibited widely since 1994, when she returned to Australia after studying lithography and drawing in Washington DC, USA. In 2011 Catherine completed her Master of Fine Art (Research) at Monash University, Melbourne. Her research was based on the subjective process of capture, which occurs in making a representational image.

Catherine has won a number of awards for her intricate works on paper including the Australian Print Workshop Collie Trust Award.

The artist’s works are held in public and private collections including the National Gallery of Australia, Geelong Regional Art Gallery, National Australia Bank, Perri Cutten and Castlemaine Art Museum.

Catherine’s most recent solo exhibition titled Mrs Larritt in Upside-down Country was held at Dudley House Bendigo in November 2018. This exhibition was supported by Creative Victoria through a Regional Centre for Culture, Local Makers Grant. Mrs Larritt at fortyfivedownstairs, Melbourne is the second iteration of this exhibition.

Saturday 9 November, 1.30pm
fortyfivedownstairs, 45 Flinders Lane, Melbourne
Join us in the gallery on the final day of the exhibitions to hear Ella Whateley and Catherine Pilgrim speak about their current work and artistic process.


29 October, 2019
9 November, 2019
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fortyfivedownstairs gallery
45 Flinders Lane
Melbourne, Victoria 3000 Australia
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03 9662 9966
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03 9662 9966


Catherine Pilgrim
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