Exhibitions:
Rugby Art Gallery & Museum

A Life in Pattern: The Life & Works of Sheila Bownas
25th June 2016 – 3rd September 2016

This exhibition explores Sheila’s life, the development of her artistic and textile design practice and the relevance of her designs to the contemporary textile design field.


On display will be early paintings and archive material, on loan from Sheila’s cousins and god daughter, including photographs, private letters, business invoices and catalogues for her research. There will also be an exciting collection of Botanical studies created by Sheila, on loan from the Natural History Museum. In addition to this there will be a display of Shelia’s surface pattern designs dating from the 1950’s and spanning three decades.

The highlight and centre piece of the exhibition will be a to-scale living room set full of items such as wallpaper, cushions, upholstered furniture and lighting featuring Sheila’s designs. These new contemporary pieces have been made in partnership with UK artisans and will bring Sheila’s designs to life demonstrating the relevancy of her design work to today.

“This exhibition firmly shines a spotlight on Sheila’s unique talent, a talent which was so nearly lost to history. To finally see the work go on show for the very first time is the ultimate dream come true for me and something I am sure Sheila would have been incredibly proud of.”
– Chelsea Cefai

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  • Bownas wallpaper on display at Rugby Art Gallery & Museum
    Bownas wallpaper on display at Rugby Art Gallery & Museum
  • Exhibition centrepiece - room set showcasing Sheila's designs.
    Exhibition centrepiece - room set showcasing Sheila's designs.
  • Display of 1960s Bownas designs
    Display of 1960s Bownas designs