Fredda Brilliant Marshall

Fredda Brilliant was brilliant, indeed.

Thus, her art adorns Supreme Court of India.


Freda or Fredda?

“One afternoon the sculptress, Freda Brilliant, and her husband, Herbert Marshall, dropped in to see me. She came in with open arms, pouring out a stream of endearments. ‘Darling, darling Khushy! How are you?’ They had been to an exhibition of Indian handlooms and bought a brightly colored shirt full of small, round mirrors. She held it for me to admire. ‘Don’t you think it will look nice on me?’ I assured her it would. ‘Let me put it on for you,’ she said. ‘Both of you turn your faces to the wall and I will change my shirt.’ Her husband and I dutifully turned our faces to the wall. Suddenly Freda shrieked, ‘Get out!’ Her shriek was followed by a crash of chinaware. We turned round to see what had happened. There was Freda trying to cover her bare bosom with her hands. The bearer who had brought in the tea saw the half-naked memsahib and in panic dropped the tray. The story did the round of the office for many days.”

– Khushwant Singh, Truth, Love and a Little Malice.


“Her speech was peppered with Polish sayings: “If you’re born a donkey you can’t become a race horse”; and, vis-a-vis her recalcitrant tenants, “No greater tyrant than a slave who becomes a master.” With her emotions unleashed, her language let loose and her clothes trailing behind her, she became something of a local legend. The memory of her standing stranded behind a giant copy of the statue of Gandhi stuck between the front door and her studio remains a telling image of her constant struggle with her art and the world about her.”