Bale was born in Richmond, Victoria. She studied under Frederick McCubbin and Lindsay Bernard Hall at the National Gallery School between 1895 and 1904. She came to prominence as an artist in Melbourne in the 1920s and 1930s, developing a reputation as one of Australia’s pre-eminent flower and still life painters. Distancing herself from her fellow female artists who were more aligned with the suffragette movement, Bale preferred to work hard within the constraints of the traditional structures of the art world, and never left Victoria. An active member of the Pickwick Club of Kew, she would gather with young members, some of whom were fellow Gallery School students, for weekly discussions where they adopted the personas of Charles Dickens‘ characters. There she developed an intimacy with fellow club member Norman Brown, which came to an end by 1906 with Brown’s departure and Bale’s reluctance to leave her ordered family life. As a painter Bale did landscapes and portraits but was best known for her flower studies. She was able to sell her paintings and exhibit in not just Australia but also London and Paris.

Flowers in Window