Marion Hall Best – from Decorator to Designer

Marion Hall Best (nee Burkitt) attended Thea Proctor’s art and design classes in Sydney. Another country girl. Along with her sister Dora Sweetapple.

Marion studied architecture for a year and became intrigued with the ideas of Harry Seidler and Buckminster Fuller. ‘Red, yellow, and blue being so forceful they bounce the walls apart’.

She became very good at bouncing walls apart. The first interior designer of Sydney set up shop in Queen Street Woollahra and became an expert in all things modern.

For example Best painted one wall bright coral, another deep chartreuse, and another deep orchid pink, under a ceiling of brilliant acid yellow.

Her unique ability was to create incredible glazes. She admitted ‘I just did to architectural finishes what friends who were artists were doing to their paintings’. Friends like Justin O’Brien. The undercoat was an equal mixture of flat and enamel house paint, and the contrasting glaze a coat of Dulux gloss stained with translucent artists’ oils. Very tricky stuff.

One glazing project still vibrantly in existence is the Regent Theatre in Wollongong. I know how hard it is to execute glazing on small areas. Imagine the effort to create this.

| Marion Hall Best, Janet Single, Douglas Annand, Regent Theatre Foyer, Wollongong, 1957 |

How great does Marion look in her Marimekko dress?

| Marion Best in the Courtyard of The Grove c 1970 |

Julia Ritson

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