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Sold Archive: Modern Textiles

Ensign screen-printed cotton sateen
Barbara Brown for Heal's Fabrics
British, ca. 1965
110 x 50 in. (279.4 x 127 cm)
Crowned "the golden girl of Heal's Fabrics," Barbara Brown (b. 1932) designed her abstract, geometric patterns for the firm throughout the 1960s and early 1970s. Ensign, with its parabolic curves, circles, and chevrons, reveals the importance of mathematics and technology for Brown. The title—a reference to British Royal naval flags—links Britain's military and maritime history with Brown's futuristic, forward-looking designs, which were among the most recognizable in England during the postwar period.

Lengths of Ensign in other colorways are preserved at the Victoria & Albert Museum (CIRC.270-1967; T.470-1998). Lengths in this colorway are at the Art Institute of Chicago (2017.390) and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston (2017.229).

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