Spotlight: Florence Broadhurst

Hi There !

Cadrys has translated a selection of Florence Broadhurst's iconic designs into exquisite hand-woven rugs and is just one of the lines Couture Knots represents.  Huge fan.  Unfamiliar with  Ms. Broadhurst?  You might have seen her designs in the Kate Spade Showrooms back in 2012 and didn't know it.  Kate Spade carried a line of dinnerware and their entire showroom was filled with her signature pattern, the ginko leaf (a.k.a Japanese Floral).

Florence Broadhurst has such an amazing story and is a true design icon.  In my coffee table book library, this is a must read.

I haven't seen her rugs up close, so it was a delight to see them at Couture Knots.  Made in Nepal using Tibetan wool, silk and natural fibers, these are showstoppers. Her Japanese Floral one of my favorites and one of her most celebrated designs.  Inlaid silk married together with a lush palette of colors.  How gorgeous !

Take a look at a few of her other amazing patterns.

And it doesn't stop there, fabrics and wall papers are just as gorgeous !  Always been a fan of the Deco inspired.

Her story is fascinating and her style - way ahead of her time!

Years ahead of her time, the complex, eccentric and talented Florence Broadhurst was born in rural Queensland, Australia in 1899.
By the time of her death in 1977 Broadhurst had lived and worked in Australia, Asia, and England; performed professionally on stage; been befriended by royalty; exhibited her paintings; and started an internationally successful wallpaper company whose success was based upon her own designs.
A multi-talented legend, Broadhurst expressed herself creatively through multiple mediums, platforms and continents around the world. After winning a singing competition in 1915, Broadhurst started performing in various towns and cities in Queensland.
By the early 1920s, she was performing in India, South-East Asia and China. In 1926, Broadhurst founded a modern academy of arts in Shanghai, known as the Broadhurst Academy, offering tuition in violin, pianoforte, voice production, modern ballroom dancing, classical dancing, musical culture and journalism. Never one to settle, Broadhurst moved to London and reinvented herself as Madame Pellier, running a dress salon on Bond Street in 1933.
After spending more than a decade in the United Kingdom, Broadhurst returned to Australia and settled in Sydney where she started painting enthusiastically and prolifically. Transforming her creative talent into a business opportunity, she started a revolutionary wallpaper business in 1959, creating hundreds of unique and luxurious patterns with rich and vibrant colours all perfectly matching her flamboyant personality.
By the mid 1960s, her company monopolised the Australian market and started exporting to America, Peru, Paris, the Middle East and Norway. She continued to work actively until her death in 1977 at the age of 78.
Florence’s life and personal experiences reads like the script of a romantic Hollywood fairytale; the life of a girl from a remote Queensland cattle station who travels the world and becomes a flamboyant performer, socialite, artist, entrepreneur and internationally successful business woman in the process.
Florence made her mark as a globetrotting entertainer during a time when travel around the world was still seen as something that was inaccessible, mysterious and somewhat magical. Places in the far east were still shrouded with a sense of romantic idealism in many people’s eyes. Celebrity and mixing in the elite of social circles was still highly exclusive and not so readily obtained as it is today.
Florence was a renegade and a forward thinking individual for her time. More remarkable for the fact that she was also a woman in a strongly male dominated society. She played by her own rules, was highly ambitious and entrepreneurial in her business pursuits. She was spurred on by obstacles and challenges and would not let them stand in the way of her goals and ambitions.
She once stated that she wanted to “colour Australia”. Florence was a flamboyant individual and the life of the party who commanded attention wherever she went. This is reflected in the boldness, brashness, scale and colour in many of her designs.
Her designs were distinctively bold and timeless, still remaining relevant even to this day when reinterpreted for our and future generations. You can see a discernible evolution of her style reflecting the times, travels, personal experiences and influences they were created against.

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