# 44229

EDWARDS, Mary [aka EDWELL-BURKE, Mary] (1894-1988)

Silk shawl with parrot design.

$12,000.00 AUD

[Sydney, NSW : Mary Edwards, aka Mary Edwell-Burke, 1926]. Hand-painted silk shawl, 201 x 190 cm, with long silk tassels extending on all sides. Signed Mary M. Edwards and dated 1926.

A stunning Art Deco painted textile by a gifted but little-known Sydney woman artist.

Exhibited: Bush curiozities : flora and fauna in art and design : an exhibition to celebrate the fiftieth anniversary of the Shepparton Art Gallery’s Collection. October, 198. (#138 in the exhibition catalogue, illustrated p. 19).

Painter and carver Mary Edwell-Burke (1894 Sydney – 1988 Fiji) studied at the East Sydney Technical College. In the 1920s, under the name Mary Edwards, she exhibited at the Royal Society of Arts. In pre-war Sydney Edwards was known chiefly for her accomplished portrait paintings. Her 1936 self-portrait is now in the AGNSW collection. The artist later became embroiled in the William Dobell-Joshua Smith Archibald Prize scandal of 1944, as one of the two plaintiffs in the court case who argued that Dobell’s supposed portrait was nothing more than a caricature. At the end of the war she settled in Fiji.

‘Edwards travelled extensively in the South Sea Islands and painted picturesque vistas of the area. Her love of the exotic is evident in the radiant colours in the shawl. The grouping of the motif into rhythmical patterning is a feature of ‘twenties and ‘thirties decorative design. Mary Edwards’ loose, topsy turvy placement provides an interesting contrast to works by Margaret Preston in the exhibition….’ (Bush curiozities exhibition catalogue. 3-4)