A combined experimental–numerical method was used to investigate the role of microstructure on the fracture of advanced ceramics. In particular, the effect of grain size and matrix content were examined. Two dimensional representative finite volume (FV) microstructures were created using Voronoi tessellation to synthetically represent the microstructure of a two phase ceramic composite. It is shown, by comparing with real micrographs, that the method captures the features of real microstructures in terms of grain size distribution, grain aspect ratio and the distribution of second phase agglomerations. Simulation results indicate the computed elastic parameters are within the Hashin–Shtrikman bounds and also agree well with the Eshelby–Mori–Tanaka method. It is found that the underlying microstructure significantly affects the local stress and strain distributions in these advanced ceramics.