Wednesday, 13 August 2008

Report from NYC: Florence Broadhurst

Today, I'd like to share with you about a talented designer I've been reading about in Florence Broadhurst: Her Secret and Ordinary Lives by Helen O'Neill, which I bought at Abitare, down the street from where I live in Brooklyn Heights.

Florence Broadhurst was a savvy Australian who reinvented herself at different stages of her life, from stage performer to boutique owner to painter. In 1959, at the age of 60, she began to engineer the identity for which she became most famous: wallpaper designer.

Broadhurst built her design company into an internationally successful business, working right up until her mysterious death at the age of 77. A chic and colourful character, she captured the zeitgeist of her times so well that her designs have become iconic.

Over the breadth of her career, she embraced a wide range of styles.

An Australian company called Signature Prints very cleverly preserved Florence's legacy when it bought the rights to her design library, and now Broadhurst's designs are enjoying a revival worldwide.

The book I'm reading about Broadhurst is a treasure, with lavish images of her designs interspersed throughout the narrative of her life, and is a fascinating read about a complex woman. I haven't got to the end yet, but I really hope that some of her secrets are unravelled!


Freshly Found said...

What an inspiring story! I didn't know about her, but I recognise some of her work - especially the horse pattern.

Joseph Rudi Pielichaty said...

This is incredible. Broadhurst's work is stunning. My friend studies Surface Pattern design and I just know she'll fall in love with this. I'm letting her know right away!!

copenhagencollage said...

these are beautiful.Interesting post.