Florence Broadhurst Fabric & Wall Coverings

Florence Broadhurst... Born in 1899 in isolated Northern Queensland, this legendary Australian woman embodies the modern image of a female entrepreneur and businesswoman.
Way ahead of her time, she travelled extensively and lived a colourful life as singer, teacher, couturier, painter, aristocrat and of course designer of exquisite, luxurious wallpaper and textiles.

Her diverse, daring personas and eccentric nature injected her designs with extraordinary results… Flamboyant, vivid and bold.

Making The World Colourful

Florence Broadhurst settled in Paddington in her late 60’s, announcing that she would colour Australia. Ultimately, she coloured the world.

An intensely creative period began with her new company, Australian (Hand Printed) Wallpapers Pty Ltd which later became Florence Broadhurst Wallpapers Pty Ltd.

Her archive grew to over 500 images ranging from tapestries to geometrics, florals, psychedelic, and delightfully eccentric Chinoiserie.

Initially Florence hand painted everything and as technology advanced, she was able to produce more and more.

It is said that there were approximately 800 designs of wallpaper, in 80 colourways.


Wallpaper & Fabric Production in the 1970's

As Florence Broadhurst’s business grew and demand for her work became far too great for her to deliver every ‘stroke’ of the brush, she engaged artists, directed by her in every tiny detail to capture and document her inspiration.

The technique to transfer the designs onto substrate, through a mesh, is known as screen printing, or silkscreen printing due to silk used in the production.

The process of silkscreen printing dates back centuries where, at the end of the tenth century, Chinese were using this means of reproducing images. This has remained pretty much unchanged, except for the advent of polyester replacing silk for the screen and the ‘cutting or engraving’ of the screen by means of photography and chemistry.

In the twenty-first century this labour intense process has largely given way to digital printing.

The Appeal Of Handmade Designs

A large part of the romance of silkscreen printing is the slight irregularities that occur when doing so many processes by hand. 

The design, being carefully engineered into repeat for continuous application and then transferred from the artwork, is often slightly less than precise. Then there is the process of batching the inks. This too holds potential for slight variation in and between batches.

The process of forcing the ink through the perforations in the screen is dependent on each swipe of the squeegee to be consistent. Humans err!

How Materialised Are Preserving Florence Broadhurst's Legacy

Nowadays, computer generated printing produces absolutely perfect print results however, the aforementioned ‘romance’ of the imperfections can fortunately be preserved, even in this digital era.

Like most artists, Florence concentrated on the art more than its implementation. This becomes evident in the process of transferring her designs into digital format.

The temptation to correct is overshadowed by our desire to preserve, intact, this wonderful legacy of someone responsible for changing interior design landscape forever!

What happened to Florence Broadhurst?

Her tragic murder in her studio in 1977 (aged 78) lead to the business being sold. From the 1980’s the popularity of wallpaper waned and it wasn’t until much later that the love affair with fabrics and wallpapers was reignited.

Materialised's Role In Rediscovering The Archives

Bridging the gap between style and practicality, Materialised deliver Florence Broadhurst designs to the contract market.

Printing iconic designs on high performance base fabrics ensure they are suited to the hospitality and health care industries; fabrics with flame retardancy, high abrasion, water resistance, colour stability and launderability properties.

The Florence Broadhurst collection consists of new designs to the Materialised print range, some iconic and some not as widely recognised.

Materialised have adapted the colours to complement today’s trends, while keeping true to the colours Florence used herself.

Essentially a beautiful collection of prints, perfect for any project.

Discover more about our role in rediscovering the archives as well as examples of Florence Broadhurst fabrics, furnishing textiles, wall coverings and how to specify custom designs.

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