Portraits: Women Designers

Dr Marianne Straub

Textile Designer (1909-1994) Born in Amriswill, Switzerland, 23 September 1909, Straub studied weaving at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Zurich, (1928-31). She then completed her technical training at Bradford Technical College, (1932-33). After leaving Bradford, Straub worked briefly for Ethel Mairet in her handweaving workshop in Ditchling, Sussex and the two maintained a friendship from then on. In 1934,…

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Jacqueline Groag

Textile Designer (1903-1986) Born in Prague, Austria-Hungary on 6 April 1903, Groag studied under Josef Hoffman and Frank Cizek at the Kunstgewerbeschule in Vienna. Groag worked as a textile designer, producing designs for the Wiener Werkstatte (under the name Hilde Blumberger). In 1933, she exhibited at the Milan Triennale. She was a member of the…

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Barbara Jones

Illustrator, mural artist, writer and campaigner (1912-1978) Born in Croydon on Christmas Day, 1912, Barbara Jones studied mural decoration at the Royal College of Art and was part of the circle of artists associated with its heydey in the 1930s. A painter and illustrator, she was actively involved in the Britain Can Make It exhibition 1946, Enterprise…

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Sylvia Crowe

Landscape Architect and Writer (1901-1997) Born in Oxfordshire in 1901, Crowe was educated at Berkhamsted Girls School and at home by her mother. The family moved to Sussex, and after 1912 Sylvia spent much of her time on her parents’ farm as ill health prevented her from attending school. She attended Swanley Horticultural College from…

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Pat Albeck

Textile Designer (1930-2017) Born in 1930, Albeck attended Art school in Hull when she was 16 and then the RCA in 1950. Work: Before leaving the RCA, Albeck was ‘discovered’ by the head of Horrockses Fashions, Jimmy Cleveland Belle, who asked her to come to work for them when she graduated. Albeck worked there from…

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Althea McNish

Textile Designer (1924-2020) Born in Port of Spain, Trinidad and Tobago. Althea McNish moved to London in the early 1950s and studied at the London College of Printing and then the RCA. She graduated in 1957 and was immediately commissioned by Liberty (link to VADS) Cebollas (1958) and Hibiscus (1958). In 1961, she designed furnishing…

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Lucienne Day

Textile Designer (1917-2010) Born Desiree Lucienne Conradi in Coulson, Surrey, 1 Jan 1917 to a Belgian father and English mother, Lucienne studied at Croydon School of Art and then continued her design education at the RCA in 1937. Lucienne did very well at the RCA and some of her graduate designs were bought by the…

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Gaby Schreiber

Industrial/Interior Designer (1916-1991) Born in Austria, 1916, Gaby Schreiber studied theatre and interior design in Berlin, Florence and Paris. Schreiber then took up interior decoration and worked in a professional studio for two years. In 1935, she opened her own studio as decorator and designer, and gained a reputation for her designs for pottery, glass,…

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Shirley Craven

Textile Designer (1934-2019) Born in Hull in 1934, Shirley Craven studied art at Hull College of Art and then printed textiles at the Royal College of Art, 1955-58. In 1959, aged 25, she started work at Hull Traders, a textiles firm founded two years earlier in Willesden, London, by entrepreneur Tristam Hull, who had ‘ambitious…

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Ethel Mairet

Weaver (1872-1952) Born in Barnstable, Devon, Ethel Mairet was a self-taught weaver, spinner and dyer. Awarded a teaching diploma in piano from the Royal Academy of Music in 1899, she initially worked as a governess in London and Bonn from 1899-1902. Mairet’s original interest was in geology, which is how she met her husband Ananda…

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