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85/2253 Textile length, 'Staccato', screen-printed cotton, designed by Frances Burke, manufactured by Frances Burke Fabrics Pty Ltd, Richmond, Victoria, Australia, 1949. Click to enlarge.

'Staccato' textile length designed by Frances Burke

Textile length, 'Staccato', screen-printed cotton, designed by Frances Burke, manufactured by Frances Burke Fabrics Pty Ltd, Richmond, Victoria, Australia, 1949


Object No.


Object Statement

Textile length, 'Staccato', screen-printed cotton, designed by Frances Burke, manufactured by Frances Burke Fabrics Pty Ltd, Richmond, Victoria, Australia, 1949

Physical Description

Textile length, 'Staccato', screen-printed cotton, designed by Frances Burke, manufactured by Frances Burke Fabrics Pty Ltd, Richmond, Victoria, Australia, 1949



1210 mm



Frances Mary Burke (1904-1994)
Biography prepared by Anne-Marie Van de Ven, Curator

1935-1938 Studied art and design at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT), National Art School and the George Bell School, Victoria.
1937 Founded Burway Prints, one of the first registered textile screen printeries in Australia with fellow art school graduate, Morris Holloway. Burway Prints became Frances Burke Fabrics Pty Ltd in 1942, when Holloway left to establish Textile Converters, printer of most of Burke's textiles.
1938 Foundation Member, Contemporary Arts Society
1938 Held first exhibition.
1940 Exhibiting Member, Arts and Crafts Society
1941 'Rangga' textile design commissioned for architect Roy Grounds flat at Glover Court, near the Yarra River, Toorak, Victoria.
1942 Commissioned to design fabrics for first Australian Embassy Washington DC, USA
1947 Early member, Society of Industrial Designers (SDI) with Grant Featherston, Frederick Ward, Richard Haughton James and Selwyn Coffey.
1948 Opened Good Design shop, later New Design Pty Ltd, 55 Hardware Street (between Little Bourke Street and Lonsdale Streets), Melbourne where Burke exhibited and sold her fabrics as well as furniture by Clement Meadmore, Grant Featherstone and others. This shop had a variety of city locations until it closed the final Richmond outlet in 1967.
1948 Exhibited, '7 Designers' exhibition, David Jones gallery, Sydney, 30 September - 15 October, 1948 (with James Linton, Gordon Andrews, Steven Kalmar, Richards and Buchanan, Allan Lowe and Professor George Korody).
1951 Worked on design and furnishings for Ansett's Hayman Island holiday resort, Queensland with architect, Guilford Bell.
1954 Article, Modern Furnishing Fabrics by Frances Burke, published in Architecture & Arts journal [or possibly November 1957 check]
1956 Exhibited work with other industrial and graphic designers, Society of Designers for Industry-coordinated exhibition of industrial design, Royal Melbourne Technical College (now RMIT), part of 1956 Melbourne Olympic Games Arts Festival.
1958 Foundation Member, Industrial Design Institute of Australia IDIA, now Design Institute of Australia (DIA).
1958 Council Member, Museum of Modern Art and Design Australia (1958-1966)
1968 Foundation Council Member, National Printery Council
1968 President, Arts and Crafts Society (1968-1971)
1970 Appointed Member of the British Empire (MBE) on the 1 January 1970 for her contribution to art and design.
1977 Council Member, University College, Melbourne (1977-1981)
1980 Chairman, Course Advisory Committee, Textile Design, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) (1980-1983)
1987 Awarded Honorary Doctorate of Arts, Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) for services to design.
1994 The Frances Burke Textile Resource Collection located within the School of Fashion and Textiles at the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) named in her honour. This collection now forms part of the RMIT Design Archives.
1996 Exhibition, Frances Burkes Fabrics Pty Ltd, joint project of RMIT University and Museum of Victoria.
1997 Exhibition, Frances Burke + 4: comparisons in printed textile design in Australia 1937-1997, University of Technology, Sydney gallery.

Powerhouse Museum (Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences), Sydney
National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne
National Gallery of Australia, Canberra
RMIT Design Archive, Melbourne
Tamworth Regional Gallery, New South Wales
Ararat Regional Art Gallery, Victoria

Architecture, Vol 44. No 1, January-March 1954
Australian Home Beautiful, Vol 33. No 10, October 1954 and Vol 35. No 6, June 1956.
Australian House and Garden, April 1953
Bogle, M., Frances Burke biography, Design and Art Australia online, 2011.
Bogle, M., Obituary - Fabric designer at cutting edge: Frances Burke MBE, The Australian, 10 November 1994
Burke, F., 'Modern Furnishing Fabrics', Architecture & Arts, November [1954 or 1957]
Cochrane, G., The Crafts Movement in Australia: A History, New South Wales University Press, 1992
Heywood, A. and Land, C., 'Frances Burke Centre' and 'Frances Mary Burke (1904-1994)', Australian Women's Register, Australian Women's Archive Project, University of Melbourne, 2002/ modified 2010. Accessed 30 June 2013.
O'Callaghan, J., 'A New Direction: 1940-1980', in Decorative Arts and Design from the Powerhouse Museum, Powerhouse Publishing, 1991
Oswald-Jacobs, Robyn, 'Dr Frances Mary Burke MBE 1907-1994', Frances Burke Fabrics exhibition catalogue, RMIT, Melbourne, 1996 (unsourced quote above is from the back cover of this catalogue)
Richards, M., 'Frances Burke' and 'Burke, Frances Mary in Kerr, J. (Ed), Heritage: the National Women's Art Book, Craftsman House, Sydney, 1995, p293-294 and p.323.
Recent acquisitions, Frances Burke MBE (1907-1994), RMIT Design Archives. Accessed 30 June 2013.
Correspondence and notes, Frances Burke Curatorial Research File, Powerhouse Museum, Sydney.


Credit Line

Gift of Frances Burke under the Australian Government Taxation Incentives for the Arts Scheme, 1985.

Acquisition Date

10 November 1985

Cite this Object


'Staccato' textile length designed by Frances Burke 2021, Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, accessed 16 October 2021, <>


{{cite web |url= |title='Staccato' textile length designed by Frances Burke |author=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences |access-date=16 October 2021 |publisher=Museum of Applied Arts & Sciences, Australia}}


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