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Published: 13 November 2022

By Andy Ross

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Frances Hodgkins - textile designer?

Born in Dunedin Ootepoti in 1869, Frances Hodgkins is known for her art work, but, for a short time, she was a textile designer in the UK, at Manchester's Calico Printers’ Association.

This article from Te Papa Tongarewa The Museum of New Zealand describes how the artist, the country's most iconic expatriate artist, left England to go to Paris for the Exposition Internationale des Arts Decoratifs et Industriels Modernes in 1925. This was a three week trip as part of her new job as textile designer. This new post was short-lived - a year and a half at most but the artist-designer never lost a love for textiles, depicting herself as a scarf, beret, bag and shoes.

Sadly, most of the designs that the artist made have been lost but a small collection is held in Te Papa. These were once the property of John Piper and Myfanwy Evans, who were close friends and executors of Frances's estate, and, luckily, did not make their way into the Tate Collection but came back to her birth home. 

This page shows the textile designs and some other works in the collection. Exciting and colourful, these deserve to be better-known.