Wallpaper roll, screen-print, 'Stairwell Stripe', inks on metallic foil paper, designed by Florence Broadhurst, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1960-1977
Florence Broadhurst (1899-1977) and David Miles (b. 1945) belonged to a very small coterie of individuals producing wallpapers in Australia. The majority of wallpapers used in local commercial and domestic interiors were imported. This wallpaper design is characteristic of Florence Broadhurst's large, flamboyant designs printed on metallic foil papers. Items from the Powerhouse Museum's Florence Broadhurst collection were exhibited in the 'Mod to Memphis' exhibition during 2002 and appear in the museum's publication of the same title.
The wallpaper roll was designed by Florence Maud Broadhurst, born Mungy Station, near Mt Perry, Queensland Australia, 28 July 1899; died Paddington, Sydney, 15 October 1977. Florence Broadhurst was a highly acclaimed Sydney-based wallpaper and textile designer, businesswoman, painter and performer (singer and banjolele player) whose colourful career spans the 20th century.
From beginnings on an outback Australian cattle station, Florence travelled to South East Asia and then China where she performed from 1922 under the stage name 'Miss Bobby Broadhurst', and established a performing arts academy in Shanghai in 1926. In 1927, she returned briefly to Australia before travelling to England and marrying Percy Kann in 1929, with whom she became co-director (as well as designer and dress consultant) to Pellier Ltd, a fashionable 1930s dress salon in New Bond Street, Mayfair. After returning to Australia in 1949, she painted and exhibited, and then in 1959, established her much-admired wallpaper business, Australian (Hand Printed) Wallpapers Pty Ltd (renamed Florence Broadhurst Wallpapers Ltd in 1969). The collection reportedly contained around 800 designs at the time of her brutal murder on 15 October, 1977. Many continued to be printed by Wilsons Fabrics and Wallcoverings during the late 1970s and 1980s as part of their Signature Handprints range and fortunately many of Florence's original wallpaper designs are preserved in the collection of the Powerhouse Museum, Sydney. Reproductions of Florence's vibrant handcrafted and luxuriously oversized wallpaper patterns are also available through Signature Prints, Sydney.
The wallpaper roll was made in Sydney probably around 1970.
The wallpaper roll is a sample from the collection of interior designer, Barry Little. The roll came from the working collection of Sydney interior designer, Barry Little to the donor, proprietor of Chee Soon and Fitgerald, dealers of 20th century and contemporary decorative arts and design.