Althea McNish: Colour is Mine

William Morris Gallery
Covid 19 Information
It is now mandatory to wear a face covering in the Gallery, unless you are exempt.

You no longer need to book General Admission tickets but if you wish to ensure capacity for your visit you can still book in advance using the safe and secure Art Tickets platform. Booking guarantees access to the Gallery and saves time. Admission is free but please make a donation if you can.

Please consider the following information when planning a visit:

To help protect those around you we encourage you to take a lateral flow test before arrival. If the test is positive please do not visit the Gallery.
To aid social distancing, please don’t visit in groups larger than 6 people.
Please check in with the Covid-19 app on entering the Gallery.
Please stick to the one way routes and spaced queuing systems around the Gallery.
While you’re visiting the Gallery please keep to social distancing guidelines, ideally two metres for anyone not from the same household.
Please sanitise your hands before entering the Gallery.
You may be asked to queue if the Gallery is too busy when you arrive and in exceptional circumstances we may turn visitors away. If you are planning a special visit please book in advance.
Our Covid-19 risk assessment is available on request.

Saturday 2nd of April 2022 to Sunday 26th of June 2022

Event Times

Tuesday - Sunday: 10.00 - 17.00



Venue Information

William Morris Gallery
Lloyd Park, Forest Road Walthamstow, E17 4PP

Nearest Stations

Walthamstow Central 0.52 miles


Althea McNish: Colour Is Mine is a landmark retrospective of one of the UK’s most innovative textile artists and the first designer of Caribbean descent to achieve international recognition.

Born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, McNish (1924-2020) moved to the UK in 1950, completing a postgraduate textiles degree at the Royal College of Art and rising to prominence as a Black female designer. On graduating McNish began designing bestselling furnishing and fashion fabrics for iconic firms including Liberty, Dior, Conran, Heal’s and Hull Traders, for whom she created one of her most famous patterns, Golden Harvest, in 1959. As her career progressed McNish took on major interior design projects and mural commissions around the world, as well as creating wallpapers for leading companies.

McNish’s painterly designs incorporated natural botanical forms from Britain and the Caribbean, using a riotous colour palette that overturned the staid rules of mid-century British textile design. Her technical mastery gave her the freedom to create ever more complex prints. “Whenever printers told me it couldn’t be done, I would show them how to do it,” she said. “Before long, the impossible became possible.”

Drawing on extensive new research and her personal archive, Colour Is Mine will explore McNish’s extraordinary career, her transformative impact on mid-century design and her enduring influence today. Althea McNish: Colour Is Mine is curated by the William Morris Gallery and Rose Sinclair, Lecturer in Design Education at Goldsmiths, University of London and is part of a three-year research, exhibition and archiving project generously supported by the Society of Antiquaries through its Janet Arnold Textile award.

Althea McNish: Colour is Mine is sponsored by Liberty Fabrics, who will also be reissuing a capsule collection of Althea McNish’s original fabric designs in Spring 2022 to coincide with the exhibition, available to purchase at Liberty in store and online.

Part of the BBC Art That Made Us Festival for Spring 2022.


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