Wallpaper lengths (3), 'Jungle', multi-colour screenprint on silver foil on paper, designed and made by Florence Broadhurst Wallpapers Ltd, Roylston Street, Paddington, New South Wales, Australia, 1971
Florence Broadhurst's ambitiously bold 'Jungle' scenic panoramic wallpaper design incorporates an eclectic mix of motifs similar to those found on other Florence Broadhurst wallpaper patterns including palms, bamboo, birds and butterflies. It fits into a tradition of scenic panoramic wallpaper production which originated with the block printed wallpapers of the late 18th century by the French manufacturer, Zubar and the scenic papers of another French manufacturer, Dubour et Cie which date from the early 19th century.
Florence Broadhurst was a flamboyant, Sydney-based wallpaper designer and businesswoman. She established Australian Handprinted Wallpapers in St Leonards around 1960, moving to Roylston Street, Paddington in 1969 when she renamed her wallpaper business, Florence Broadhurst Wallpapers.
The Broadhurst design library was revived in the late 1990s by David and Helen Lennie of Signature Prints in Rosbery an inner city suburb of Sydney. Signature now hold world-wide rights to reproduce Florence Broadhurst designs commercially. The Powerhouse Museum's Florence Broadhurst collection evolved in connection with this revival and now includes wallpaper sample books, photographs, photopositive designs, select silkscreens, wallpaper lengths and fashionable dress by Akira Isogawa featuring Broadhurst textile patterns.
Hundreds of wallpaper designs came out of the Broadhurst studio during the 1960s and 70s, but only a few panoramic wallpapers are recorded. In the late 1960s Broadhurst commissioned David Miles to create 'Terrace House' a panoramic mural wallpaper for the Top of the Cross Hotel, a 'Tree of Life' design was installed on the staircase wall of Florence's Paddington studio (against which Florence was photographed by Kerry Dundas) and this 'Jungle' wallpaper printed by Trevor Oxnam, one of Florence's printers, at the Roylston Street factory during 1971.
'Jungle' reflects Broadhurst's interest in screenprinting onto metallic foils, including the new polyester Mylar film which she imported from the United States. Metallic foil surfaces and marbled metallic paper finishes, together with bold colourful graphic designs like the 'Jungle' pattern, became part of Broadhurst's signature style. 'Jungle' is one of her boldest designs, perhaps even surpassing Florence's iconic 'Peacocks' design in both scale, and visual impact.
Anne-Marie Van de Ven, Curator June 2009
'Jungle' wallpaper design produced by Florence Broadhurst Wallpapers Ltd.
Printed by the Trevor Oxnam at Florence Broadhurst Wallpapers Ltd, Paddington in 1971.
'Jungle' combines numerous motifs from other 'signature' Broadhurst wallpaper designs - tree branch, cranes, an egret, butterflies and foliage.
These three rolls of wallpaper were brought in to the Powerhouse Museum by journalist and author Helen O'Neill, author of the Broadhurst biography titled 'Florence Broadhurst: her secret and extraordinary lives'.
O'Neill had found or 'discovered' these papers while researching her Broadhurst biography, and encouraged the owner to donate the papers to the Powerhouse Museum. The papers are a gift of Trevor Oxnam, who printed the papers while working as a screenprinter with Florence Broadhurst during the 1970s. The ABC filmed Helen O'Neill donating the wallpapers to the Museum for the ABC's Sunday Arts program 'The Lost Broadhursts' during 2008. This program included interviews with the Museum curator, Anne-Marie Van de Ven and with Trevor Oxnam.
Florence Broadhurst produced many remarkable wallpaper designs in her Roylston Street, Paddington factory and studio - including this bold multi-colour panoramic 'Jungle' design. The design is well provenanced as it is being donated by the Florence Broadhurst printer who printed the paper for his own use. The Powerhouse holds an extensive collection of Florence Broadhurst's wallpapers with one entire showcase of the 'Inspired! Design across time' exhibition dedicated to her work.
After travelling through Asia as a performer in the 1920s, living in England from the late 1920s through the 1930s to the late 1940s, Broadhurst returned to Australia in 1949 to re-invent herself as an artist, business woman and designer. She advertised her wallpaper business in the pages of Vogue Living and the Australian Home Journal as 'the only studio of its kind in the world'.
The Powerhouse Museum has worked closely with Signature Prints and the Broadhurst biographers over the last decade, making an important contribution to the success of the recent revival of interest in her work and growing awareness of Broadhurst's pioneering work, which supports the success of the global Broadhurst revival. This wallpaper donation, like other donations of Broadhurst's work, is made possible through this ongoing collaborative process.