Artists / Frances Burke

(1907 – 1994) 

Artist and acclaimed industrial designer. Burke, made a close private study of Aboriginal motifs, was a student at the National Gallery School, the Melbourne Technical College and from 1936 -1938 with the pre-war George Bell School in Burke Street. Frances Burke was regarded as highly intelligent, motivated and with a flair for business. In 1937, while studying with Bell, she founded Burway Prints, becoming the first registered textile screen-printer in Australia. 


Bell took a keen interest in her design work and often visited her studio. She exhibited her designs for the first time in 1938 to excellent reviews. Frances Burke Fabrics became widely recognised and in 1942 she received her first important commission for the Australian Embassy in Washington. By the end of WW11, modern architects such as Robin Boyd and Roy Grounds featured her designs in their clients’ houses. to showcase the latest trends. In 1948 she opened New Design, a studio featuring the work of modern Melbourne designers along with her own fabrics.  By 1950 her interest in Aboriginal motifs led to a change in direction with her Aboriginal inspired fabric, totem.


Man wearing fes 1940 by Frances Burke

Man wearing fes

oil on canvas


Purchase for $2,500.00