Pretty / Disturbing


Florence Broadhurst

Her Secret & Extraordinary Lives
by Helen O’Neill

Who knew that  a book about a wallpaper designer could be so full of deception and intrigue! Florence Broadhurst was a woman who changed her identity, nationality and profession to suit her personal goals and desires. From a career as a songstress in Shanghai, to a French couturier named Madame Pellier, to a British socialite/painter depicting the Australian landscape, Florence went from one glorious creative career to the next. (At least, she made her incarnations seem glorious… she had no qualms about telling lies about her credentials, associations and past.)

The book attempts to unravel the truth of Florence's true nature. Interspersed throughout are pretty, kitchy, outlandish and modern wallpaper patterns that ultimately Broadhurst is most famous for. Interviews with past associates reveal that it is likely Florence never actually drew any of her designs (she was going quite blind while at the helm of her company!) and that most are the creative work of the young women whom she employed and left uncredited.

Although Broadhurst lived to be in her seventies (she'd proclaim that she was twenty years younger), she was brutally murdered in her wallpaper showroom in 1977. Her murder remains unsolved, although clues link Australia's notorious Granny serial killer as likely suspect.

The book itself is beautifully designed with a lush red cloth cover with opaque white silkscreened florals. Pretty and disturbing - a rare thing in the realm of design books.

Available at UPPERCASE $32.95