Manchester's Whitworth to Host the First Major Exhibition on the Caribbean Textile Designer who Transformed British Design

The Whitworth is pleased to present Althea McNish: Colour is Mine, a major retrospective of Althea McNish (1924 – 2020) on tour from William Morris Gallery, Walthamstow.

By Manchester's Finest | 8 September 2022

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McNish was the first Caribbean designer to achieve international recognition and one of the most influential and innovative textile designers in the UK. Drawing on extensive and continuing research, this exhibition explores McNish’s extraordinary career and her transformative impact on mid-century design, along with her enduring influence today.

“Everything I did, I saw through a tropical eye.”

“The flowers of the English countryside, I transform into Caribbean flamboyance.”

“My designing is functional but free, you can wear it, sit on it, lie on it, stand on it.”

The exhibition in Manchester is an opportunity to reveal the Whitworth’s unparalleled collection of fabrics and wallpapers McNish designed on display together for the first time as well as unseen works from the McNish Family Archive.

This show will also feature works by McNish’s friends and contemporaries including: fellow member of Trinidad Art Society Sybil Atteck, tutors Edward Bawden and Eduardo Paolozzi alongside contemporary designers Barbara Brown and Shirley Craven, fellow members of the Caribbean Artist Movement Ronald Moody and Winston Branch and protégé Leslee Wills, creating a display of the very best of post-war British design.

The exhibition is curated by Rowan Bain, Principal Curator at the William Morris Gallery and Rose Sinclair, Lecturer in Design Education at Goldsmiths, University of London. Althea McNish: Colour Is Mine is part of a three-year research, exhibition and archiving project generously supported by the Society of Antiquaries through its Janet Arnold Award.


Althea McNish – Colour is Mine

Dates: 21st Oct 2022 – 23rd April 2023
Venue: The Whitworth
Cost: FREE