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Clothes, Cloth & Culture Group Dr. Althea McNish and John Weiss

30 Apr 2015

Althea McNish is a painter and textile designer. She came to Britain from Trinidad and Tobago in the 1950s to study at the London College of Printing and the Royal College of Art.

  • Venue

    Stuart Hall Library

  • Time


  • Admission


Audio recordings of the event are available at the bottom of the page.

Althea McNish is famed for her innovative work with Liberty’s and Hull Traders and was associated with the Caribbean Artists Movement. Her art work draws on diverse cultural influences. Dr.McNish works in partnership with her husband, designer John Weiss, who will interview her for the event.

Althea’s first produced design in 1959, Golden Harvest, was Hull Traders’ best-selling line. She designed the fabric, in which she tropicalised the Essex wheatfield, during a stay in rural England with British artists.” … I have always seen myself as a citizen of the world, drawing inspiration from the flora and fauna of every country and the art and artefacts of all cultures”.

In 2011 Althea was featured in the exhibition RCA Black organised by The Royal College of Art in collaboration with the African and African-Caribbean Design Diaspora (AACDD). The exhibition celebrated art and design by African and African-Caribbean graduates and students; a group who are often marginalised within the creative industries.

Althea describes her experiences as an artist and designer in her interview with John Weiss in Building Britannia: Life Experience With Britain, 2009. She talks about how she worked with the major international textile companies, her use of colour and ‘tropicalisation’ of English flowers.

“In the context of the unacknowledged contribution and influence of the Black artist, Althea McNish had a visible effect on British textiles and thus on, and in, British culture” John Weiss 1998