Ignored or pilloried by her critics and forgotten for decades, her works were rediscovered by art academic Rosslyn Hollinrake who held a retrospective exhibition of Beckett’s works in 1971. Public galleries across Australia bought extensively from this exhibition and a new appreciation of her work developed.
Beckett is now recognized as an important early modernist, trained by Frank McCubbin [National gallery Art School -Melbourne] and later in 1917 by Max Meldrum who opened an art school that trained students in tonal realism. Beckett’s paintings are mostly landscapes of scenes from local beaches and Beaumaris, which she painted out of doors in all weathers. A few late paintings from Nariyal in the Western district have survived, although most of these were burned by her father after her early death aged 48. A sister stored around 2000 of her paintings in a farm shed near Benalla. Of these about 300 survived the rigors of this type of storage. Others had been bought by private patrons during the 1920s and 1930s when she held annual exhibitions.
Although she remained unmarried and caring for her parents, she never gave up her art practice, working in the very early mornings or late evenings after her home duties were finished. Her soft, misty views of beaches and street scenes are a unique picture of suburban Melbourne as no other artist saw it.
You should go to our own Benalla Gallery to see one of her paintings on display [Spring Morning] in the salon hang of the Ledger Collection. In 2023 the Geelong Regional Art Gallery will have a major exhibition of her works which should be well worth seeing.