Beatrice Kate Leviny (1877-1965)
Kate (Beatrice Kate) Leviny was born in 1877 and spent most of her life at Buda, apart from a short period around 1925 when she lived in Sydney with a friend, artist, Ursula Ridley Walker.
Kate was keen photographer and many of her pictures can be found in the Buda family albums. Some of her images were published in The Australasian Photo-Review magazine between 1914 and 1922. She also did embroidery and appliqué needlework and made rag rugs from scraps of fabric which are kept at Buda. Two of her embroideries were included in the landmark First Australian Exhibition of Women’s Work 1907.
Kate was a keen and knowledgeable collector of art. Among her purchases retained at Buda are works by Margaret Preston, Mildred Lovett, Norbertine Bresslern Roth and other women printmakers of the era. Kate, like her sister Mary, was involved in the establishment of the Castlemaine Art Gallery in 1913, and in the late 1920s was involved in developing the gallery’s fine collection of prints. She died in 1965 aged 87.
Buda historic house and garden in Castlemaine contains a rich legacy of the creative spirit of the Leviny Family, who lived there for over 118 years. The Leviny daughters were encouraged to pursue their artistic interests at a time when women were being given more opportunities to study art and take up careers. They worked across a range of media including painting, woodcarving, metalwork, needlework and photography.
It was largely due to the foresight of last surviving sister, Hilda, that Buda was preserved as a house and garden museum when she sold the property to the Castlemaine Art Gallery in 1970. Her sisters, Mary and Kate, left a broader civic legacy through their involvement in establishing the Castlemaine Art Gallery in 1913, and assisting with the development of the gallery’s fine collection of prints in the late 1920s.
Text adapted from the booklet Buda and the Leviny Family, Lauretta Zilles (2011)