miniature, fan and easel painter and sculptor, was born in Gippsland, Victoria, daughter of Richard Butler George, one of the district’s pioneer settlers. Although she claimed in 1925 never to have received an art lesson in her life, she nevertheless exhibited professionally – with the Victorian Artists’ Society in 1908 and the Yarra Sculptors’ Society in 1910 – while the miniature portraits she showed at the Australian Artists’ exhibition in Melbourne in 1912 earned her enough to pay her passage to England. There she painted miniature portraits of several eminent people, including Lord Kitchener, Princess Henry of Battenberg and many 'ladies of the manor’ in some of England’s 'most beautiful homes’ as well as Sir George Reid and other Australians in London. One of her miniatures was shown in the Old Salon, Paris, and her portrait of Miss Fairleigh Cunninghame was shown in London in the Royal Society of Miniature Painters’ exhibition (near a group by Bess Norris – the first Australian to add 'RMS’ after her name, an example May George was to follow). Later she exhibited at the Three Arts Club and at the Women’s Work Exhibition at Alexandra House, London, 'where she showed fans and water colour drawings as well as miniatures’, she told William Moore. Her miniatures were also shown at the Royal Academy, 'on the first try’. 'Her next exhibition will be at the Autumn Salon, Paris, of which Rodin is the president. She has received what is known as a “special invitation” on the strength of the work shown at the Old Salon’, Moore reported in 191(7?).

After returning to Melbourne May Butler George continued to exhibit miniatures and paintings on silk throughout the 1920s as well as the sculptures for which she was increasingly becoming known. She had joined the Melbourne Society of Women Painters and Sculptors as early as 1913 and exhibited with it in 1923. She also exhibited with the NSW Society of Artists and the Royal Art Society at Sydney in 1933.

Staff Writer
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