Saturday, March 1, 2014


Although born in Tasmania, Ada Whiting's work appears to turn up just as frequently in England and America as in Australasia.  During her career as a photographic colourist and later as a miniature painter, Ada painted many of the foremost families of her time, both Australian and visiting British and American dignitaries from her Collins Street, Melbourne studio.  

Two charming portraits of the same sitter, Margaret 'Peggy' Woolrabe (1876-1909) recently came up for auction around the same time; one in Australia and one in England. Peggy Woolrabe, nee Leask, was born in Scotland and married Frederick William Woolrabe in 1902, an Edinburgh-trained doctor ten years her senior.  Peggy died tragically young and the two miniatures, one a head and shoulders and the other a three quarter portrait, were probably both painted after her death.

Ada Whiting usually signed her work in monogram, but it is often overlooked.

Several members of the prominent Ross-Soden family were painted by Ada Whiting around 1906. The miniatures of two charming daughters of Isabel Ross-Soden went out of the family and appeared in an Australian auction at Charles Leski on 30th March 2005.  Lots 84 and 85 at estimates of Aus. $300-400 and Aus.$400-600 failed to find buyers, despite looking so charming. 

 Their mother's portrait, too, Lot 82 and described as 'oil on card' was passed in.  The descendants of this family would love to know what happened to these miniatures.  

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