Roy de Maistre was born into a New South Wales pastoral family, and moved to Sydney in 1913, to study the violin. After some time at Dattilo Rubbo's art school, and other studies under Julian Ashton, he joined the army in 1916, but was discharged wth tuberculosis soon after. He won the Society of Arts Travelling Scholarship for 1923 and spent time in London and Europe. He returned to Australia in 1926, but the criticism he received following his first one-man exhibition in Sydney the following year convinced him that his art could not flourish in this country. In 1930 he again travelled to Europe, and never returned to Australia. Patrick White was a great friend and bought many of his works.
De Maistre had a very ordered, analytical mind, and applied the theory of music to painting. His early experiments in Cubism were considered by him to be inconclusive, and he gradually returned, to some extent, to figurative work. His religious works stemmed from his profound Catholic belief in the truth of the images they represented.
MOTHER AND CHILD, c.l947, had hung in Campion Hall, Oxford, for a long time before presentation to the Carrick Hill Trust. The effect of wood fires and smoking had all but obliterated the blue and yellow, and the whole painting looked brown and grey. After cleaning, the highlights of the yellow, blue and pink became obvious, and emphasise the close relationship between mother and child.
De Maistre's know lege of the nature of colour, and his undersstanding and love of the forms of music enabled him to arrange rhythms, echoes, curves and inventions, creating in MOTHER AND CHILD, c. 1947, a work that is as intricate and as disciplined as any musical composition.