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Pat Prichard Remembered. Scarves and Vintage Textiles

May 30, 2016

Fishinkblog 10039 Pat Prichard Scarves 5

I’m very excited to bring this post to you today, because it sheds a little light on another fabulous designer from the 1950’s.

I have previously spoken here and here about the talented Pat Prichard, who designed hundreds of tea towels, scarves and linens during her lifetime. Sadly there is very little written online about Pat or her work, so I was delighted when a lovely gent, ‘Larry’ from the U.S.A contacted me, to say that his mum had been a good, close friend of Pat’s and would I like her to write down some memories and share them with us all on Fishink Blog! Well, you can imagine that it didn’t take me long to consider their kind offer and below are the fascinating recollections.

My story is from a long time ago. Pat and I met at the Parson’s School of Design sometime between 1947 and 1950. The class was then called ‘Advertising Design’ (‘Graphics’ may be a more appropriate subject title for today), Parson is now part of The New School in Manhattan.

Pat and I were the same age, well just a month difference, she was intelligent, well-read and culturally up to date. Occasionally working in a studio, Pat was creatively quite an original and did well when freelancing and producing work for different companies. During our friendship, I noticed how Pat’s style developed, her handwriting emerged and she experimented with a much freer look, which proved to be very fashionable.

I remember in the late 50’s taking a huge bouquet of hand-picked flowers, (from my mother who loved Pat), over to her place. Large Hydrangeas and many lesser sized, but equally lovely flowers, transported all the way from NJ to NYC (however did I do it ?.. I may even have walked the distance). The bouquet, however, became Pat’s inspiration, and the next time I visited, there, in the hallway, just waiting for me to view it was a stunning painting of my flowers.

Perhaps the bouquet could have inspired the design below ?

Fishinkblog 10038 Pat Prichard Scarves 4

When our friendship began Pat and her mum were living in Queens, (her father had sadly passed away soon after she was born). As Pat became autonomous, she discovered and rented a unique two-story apartment made of stone over on the east side of Manhattan. I still lived with my parents, so I really admired her gumption and strength to achieve so much so early. Pat’s apartment was furnished generously with Victorian pieces collected through ‘antiquing’ a pastime she loved to do, and which soon became the subject matter for many of her designs.

Fishinkblog 10040 Pat Prichard Scarves 6

I remember the stairs in her apartment were painted black (probably Pat’s choice) and built right into the wall. The landlord did a great job in making the changes and the place looked stunning. The living room was carpeted in deep lavender, a daring shade and at the same time,Victorian in feeling and the marble top tables fitted in splendidly well. Pat married and lived towards the end of her life in Pennsylvania, where she had many friends, who I imagine, have many of her paintings. I have two of her works, one was a gift and the other I purchased.

The first is of one of Pat’s trips to Italy. This is Venice, St Mark’s Square on a wet, but still crowded afternoon. How wonderfully she depicts the flight of the pigeons, the tourists with their dark sunglasses and the porticos on both sides pointing to the Cathedral in the distance.

Fishinkblog 10033 Pat Prichard Painting 1

No prizes for guessing where Pat got the inspiration for these designs from!

Fishinkblog 10035 Pat Prichard Italy Scarves 1

I love how she has simplified the decoration on the buildings but still manages to get enough detail into each design so that we can easily tell where it depicts. They must have been very popular judging by the number of colourway variations I’ve seen produced.

Fishinkblog 10036 Pat Prichard Italy Scarves 2

Such beautiful designs.

Fishinkblog 10037 Pat Prichard Italy Scarves 3

The second painting depicts the harbour of Cape Cod in Massachusetts. It’s similar in style to the Venice piece but a little more mysterious and slightly haunting too.

Fishinkblog 10034 Pat Prichard Painting 2

Sadly Pat passed away when she was in her early sixties. I had many of her handkerchiefs and cards that she had painted for me over the years but with downsizing, only one scarf now remains with me.  It’s tattered and torn, faded and sports a hole but, like my memories, doesn’t take up too much room !

I want to send out a huge vote of thanks to both Larry and his mum for making this post possible. For taking the photos, typing two pages of the warmest, fondest, memories I’ve read for a long time (gosh I hope some of my friends remember me with such warmth : ) ) and for keeping me up to date with everything as we got the story together. How fascinating to share a glimpse into Pat’s world through the eyes of a good friend.

I’m certain there will be many of you who will enjoy reading these recollections, please leave a comment if you do.

If anyone else knows someone I may have covered in one of my posts and would like to share their thoughts and images, then please do get in touch. You can reach me here   Craig at

A very happy Bank Holiday to all in the UK too.

20 Comments leave one →
  1. May 30, 2016 2:02 pm

    I love those designs. I’ve never heard of Prichard, I confess, but I will need to look up more of her designs. I’m struck by the colour palettes. Colors I would never think to put together work so well.

    • May 30, 2016 2:56 pm

      Thanks Laura. You’re spot on about the colour palettes too. If you look at some of the earlier posts you’ll see how much Pat plays with colour in her other designs.

  2. neatokeenetsy permalink
    May 30, 2016 5:25 pm

    Amazing post! Wonderful to hear a firsthand account of a supremely talented artist. As always, I’m so impressed with your investigative prowess!

    • May 31, 2016 6:51 am

      Thank you Cindy, it’s much easier when the people you are communicating with are both responsive and friendly lol A real pleasure to be involved with the piecing together of this post.

  3. June 6, 2016 5:17 pm

    Loving the Italian themed scarves – she really captured the watery city architecture beautifully!

  4. alibrookes permalink
    June 13, 2016 7:03 pm

    What a fantastic story! I’ve been an admirer of Pat Prichard for a long time, and it was great to hear a firsthand account of her life. Brilliant!

  5. ohholland permalink
    September 2, 2017 4:43 pm

    Adore Pat Prichard designs and am gobsmacked by her original paintings. What rare treasures!

  6. Stephanie Maruska Gustafson permalink
    April 29, 2019 2:51 pm

    Thank you so much for sharing this!

  7. laurie faust permalink
    July 24, 2019 6:20 pm

    I just sold one of Pat’s Hankies on Ebay. It sold to Pat so I wandered if she was buying her own (different last name, married married?) I looked her up and found your Fishlink. Love the articles. Sad to hear she passed so young. I love her work. Thank you for posting about her. God Bless

    • July 25, 2019 5:39 am

      Loved the idea she might be buying her work back. Thanks for sharing Laurie.

  8. Darla L Legg permalink
    April 27, 2021 1:57 pm

    Thank you for this information. I have a kitchen towel of Pat’s and wanted to do some research on it. I enjoyed reading this information. I feel it was very informative.

  9. Susan Ellis permalink
    June 12, 2021 5:09 pm

    I have a very nice collection of Pat’s amazing hankies, handed down to me. They are in pristine condition. I would love to donate them to a museum, if there is one.

  10. May 25, 2022 11:31 am

    Pat also did some work for The Salem China Company (Salem, Ohio). Although I no longer live in Salem, I was born and grew up there, and I collect Salem China pieces. I am very happy to have a couple of her patterns in my collection.

  11. October 11, 2022 12:04 am

    I just found a hand towel or small wall hanging imprinted lower right corner Pat Prichard. It is truly unique, brown background with a bright chartreuse /avocado green border. It features a black skillet labeled fried chicken, a black pot labeled shrimp creole, another black pot labeled bouillaraisse, a banjo and a bold blue(blue as a bluebird or a robin bird egg) trumpet misc tableware items (salt pepper shakers, oil cruet, a flour jar, a white, blue and black rooster, then two larger images ; the Missouri Queen paddle boat and the Robert E Lee paddle boat. I assume this depicts New Orleans. Truly stunning with such unusual color combination. My mother was born in 1922 and deceased. Found this in her fine linen collection today. 10/10/2022.

    • October 11, 2022 9:14 am

      Such a lovely story, and link to your mum. Thanks for sharing Holly

  12. November 5, 2022 7:00 pm

    Thank you so much for the delightful post and memories about Pat Prichard from her friend, Larry. I was unfamiliar with her work until last year when I purchased a collection of scarves from an estate and one her scarf designs was included as were napkins and scarves by Tammis Keefe. I seem to remember in my research on Keefe that her father passed away a week before she was born and you mention Prichard’s father died soon after she was born. I thought it was an interesting coincidence. Maybe that is why they became such enterprising independent women who both made successful careers for themselves.

    • November 7, 2022 8:20 am

      It’s a good point. I have also covered Tammis’s work on my blog. Enter her name in the search box to read the article if you are interested. Thanks for your comments

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