Frances Burke was Australia’s most influential and celebrated textile designer of the 20th century.
From the late 1930s to 1970, her designs achieved a prominence unparalleled in Australia before or since. Displaying imagery and colours from native flora, marine objects, Indigenous artefacts and designs of pure abstraction, Burke’s innovative designs remain fresh and distinctive, and evocative of Australia. Collaborating with leading architects including Robin Boyd, her fabrics made arresting contributions to influential modern buildings.
Photographed in Calcutta by Cecil Beaton, Lady Casey wore a suit in Frances Burke’s ‘Bengal Tiger’ when her husband was appointed Governor of Bengal. Lady Casey commissioned further Burke fabrics for the Australian Legation in Washington in 1940.
Join Nanette Carter and Robyn Oswald-Jacobs as they talk about her journey of discovery of the different components of a body of work never presented as art or intended simply for display, but which contributed so much to the felt experience of Australian life in the middle decades of the 20th century.
Cecil Beaton, Lady (Maie) Casey, Baroness Casey in ‘Bengal Tiger’ suit designed by Frances Burke, Calcutta, 1944
cover design Frances Burke: Designer of Modern Textiles