NH_FB Header.png

Nora Heysen was Australia’s first woman to win the Archibald Prize and Australia’s first female official war artist.

Australian art historian and biographer Janine Burke writes: “In this exemplary biography, a tender and complex portrait emerges of a tough and vulnerable artist – as all women artists must be.”

This assessment from one of this country’s leading authorities distinguishes this work that was developed with unprecedented access to the archives, family, and friends of Nora Heysen. Anne-Louise takes us into Nora’s world – from the young portraitist and flower painter working alongside her famous father, landscape painter Hans Heysen, to art school in London and an establishment that did not or would not fully recognise her talent. And from a passionate love affair against the backdrop of war in the Pacific, to her friendship with renowned artist Jeffrey Smart, to the ‘adopted’ son Nora took into her heart and home.

This is the story of an artist driven by an all-consuming desire to draw or paint – one who re-emerged at the age of seventy-eight when long-overdue attention restored her place as a significant artist celebrated by the nation’s major institutions.


Published by Fremantle Press and distributed by Penguin Random House. Available to purchase from Fremantle Press here and leading online and in-store retailers.