By Jacky Parker
Florence Broadhurst (1899-1977) was a prolific Australian wallpaper and textile designer through the 1960s and 70s. From her design studio in Sydney, she created more than 500 colourful and eclecticwallpaper designs – a visual diary of sorts, documenting a lifetime spent cavorting across the globe among some of society’s most elite figures -including the Queen Mother and Winston Churchill
A new UK-based design studio, founded by Rebecca Lawrence, Carole Spink, and Jane Martin,has obtained exclusive rights to Broadhurst’s archive, bringing it to life in a dazzling range of products that pay homage to her extraordinary life of design.
Charismatic and fearless, Broadhurst was an eccentric who lived a colourful life of self-reinvention.From humble beginnings in the Australian outback, she went on to explore the Far East as a show girl and laterset up an Academy of the Arts in Shanghai before moving toEurope where, in London, she famously set up a Bond Street salon as Frenchcouturier 'Madame Pellier'from which she clothedthe aristocracy.
Afteracquiring the necessary skills, experiencesand inspiration,she became the legendary designer that we know of today.
Ahead of her time, she experimented with and pioneered many innovative processes for wallpaper production.Importing bronze, copper, gold and silver papers from Norway and Sweden to her Australian studio, she embellished shimmering metallic accents onto her designs.
She was also a visionary in adding pearlescent effects to her papers – using them to add depth and glamour to the patterns.Sadly, in 1977, Florence’s whirlwind life of eccentricity and design was brought to an end with a sudden and tragic death.
Find ideas for beautifulwallpapered bedrooms.
The initial launch comprises61 wallpapers across 12 designs, and 23fabrics across six designs. The patterns originate from scans of Florence’s original silk screens, making them faithful re-creations of the work she created more than50 years ago.
The collection is made upof a diverse range of patterns with international influences - from delicate chinoiserie and Far Eastern-influenced motifs, to flamboyant florals, bold geometrics and elaborate tapestries and brocades. The colourways are equally diverse, spanning bold and bright, dark and moody, soft pastels and warm neutrals.
Broadhurst loved to layer patterns and the collection has been designed to make it easy to do the same. Many of the wallpapers have ‘companions’ that can be used to complement or contrast one another in the same room – such ason different walls, on and around panellingor above and below a dado or picture rail.
Likewise, the fabrics have been designed in clever 'layering palettes' making it easy to mix and match fabrics within the theme of a room or, even on the same piece.
This exuberant archive taps into the trend for maximalism and the resurgent wave of colour and pattern in interiors, being as relevant today as it was when Broadhurst created thedesigns.
Available at florencebroadhurst.co.uk
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