Mary Elizabeth Burkett


Mary Elizabeth Burkett, was an author, adventurer, curator, historian and internationally acclaimed authority on felt. She held the position of Director of Abbot Hall Art Gallery, and Museum of Lakeland Life and Industry, 1967-86, and Borough Museum, Kendal, 1977-86. In 1962 she travelled by Landrover with Genette Malet de Carteret, a lawyer, to the Middle East. For seven and a half months they explored archaeological sites in Jordan, Persia, Afghanistan and Turkey. While in Gumbad-I-Quabus, now part of Iran, Mary purchased her first Turkmen felt, sparking an interest which culminated in an exhibition ‘The Art of the Feltmaker’, mounted at Abbot Hall Art Gallery, Kendal in 1979, and a catalogue with the same title. The exhibition was also shown at the Horniman Museum, which acquired a large number of the items in the exhibition after it closed. Mary Burkett served as the President of the International Feltmakers Association. In 2006, together with Genette Dagtoglou, she published a book ‘The Beckoning East: A Journey through Turkey and Persia in 1962.’

Brief biography

Author, curator and historian

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