Skip to main content

To help keep our visitors and staff safe, please book your spot before visiting.

Menu

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders both past and present.

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander viewers are warned that this website contains images of deceased persons.

The Gallery’s Acknowledgement of Country, and information on culturally sensitive and restricted content and the use of historic language in the collection can be found here.

Paquita Mawson

late 1940s
Ingrid Erns

oil on canvas (support: 71.0 cm x 52.7 cm)

Lady Francisca Adriana (Paquita) Mawson OBE (1891–1974), community worker and writer, was seventeen when she met Douglas Mawson, shortly after his return from Ernest Shackleton's British Antarctic Expedition. Engaged before Mawson left for the perilous 1911 Australasian Antarctic Expedition, they eventually married in March 1914. Their first of their two daughters was born in 1915; she remained in Australia when Paquita went to England to assist Mawson in his wartime role with the Ministry of Munitions. Their second child was born in London in 1917. After the war, the family settled in Adelaide, where Paquita worked for the Mothers' and Babies' Health Association, including nine years as president, and the Australian Red Cross Society. Notable for her community work, Paquita was equally prominent in Adelaide's social and cultural life. She also wrote two books: biographies of her father, A Vision of Steel (1958), and her husband, Mawson of the Antarctic (1964).

It is thought that this portrait of Paquita Mawson came about when she was invited to pose for one of Ingrid Erns' art classes in Adelaide. In the portrait the sitter is striking and elegant, depicted seated and in profile, wearing an elaborate embroidered shawl. The painting remained in the Mawson family until being donated to the National Portrait Gallery in 2010.

Gift of Gareth Mawson Thomas and Pamela Karran-Thomas of the Mawson family 2010. Donated through the Australian Government's Cultural Gifts Program.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. Works of art from the collection are reproduced as per the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). The use of images of works from the collection may be restricted under the Act. Requests for a reproduction of a work of art can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

Artist and subject

Ingrid Erns (age 21 in 1940)

Francisca Adriana (Paquita) Mawson OBE (age 49 in 1940)

Donated by

Pamela Karran-Thomas (2 portraits)

Gareth Thomas (2 portraits)

Related information

The Companion

Permanent collection catalogue

Café and shop

On one level The Companion talks about the most famous and frontline Australians, but on another it tells us about ourselves: who we read, who we watch, who we listen to, who we cheer for, who we aspire to be, and who we'll never forget. The Companion is available to buy online and in the Portrait Gallery Store.

Sir Douglas Mawson
Sir Douglas Mawson
Sir Douglas Mawson
Sir Douglas Mawson

Staying home

True south #2

About Face article

14 July 2020

Joanna Gilmour brings a mindful Douglas Mawson’s perspective to bear on the concept of isolation.

The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance
The National Portrait Gallery building front entrance

The Gallery

Visit us, learn with us, support us or work with us! Here’s a range of information about planning your visit, our history and more!

© National Portrait Gallery 2021
King Edward Terrace, Parkes
Canberra, ACT 2600, Australia

Phone +61 2 6102 7000
Fax +61 2 6102 7001
ABN: 54 74 277 1196

The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

This website comprises and contains copyrighted materials and works. Copyright in all materials and/or works comprising or contained within this website remains with the National Portrait Gallery and other copyright owners as specified.

The National Portrait Gallery respects the artistic and intellectual property rights of others. The use of images of works of art reproduced on this website and all other content may be restricted under the Australian Copyright Act 1968 (Cth). Requests for a reproduction of a work of art or other content can be made through a Reproduction request. For further information please contact NPG Copyright.

The National Portrait Gallery is an Australian Government Agency