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Wednesday, March 5, 2014

Florence Broadhurst Limited Edition Woven Silk Jacquard Ties - Buying Into A Little Bit Of Australian History

Florence Broadhurst's life was very mysterious. I have never watched the documentary made by director Gillian Armstrong but I am told it is rather insightful and I am going to make a point to watch it sometime soon. What shrouds that mystery is of course her death. She was bludgeoned to death by a large piece of timber in her Paddington studio in 1977. Her death remains unsolved but she is thought to have been the victim of a serial killer named John Wayne Glover who went around killing old ladies but who was convicted for another spate of murders between 1989 and 1990.

Her life was as vibrant as her work. She was born in rural Queensland in 1899. She became a singer, then a comedian and then moved to Shanghai where she opened The Broadhurst Academy where she taught a variety of disciplines. She then went to England, married, separated, met another man, returned to Australia, pretended she was English, began painting and showing her work and then opened a studio where she began working on prints. Her second husband left her for a very young woman and she went on to produce her work until her death in 1977 from her studio in Roylston Street in Paddington. 

Her collection of work is about 800 prints strong in about 80 different colours. Today the work of Florence Broadhurst is heavily guarded under license. Although she was commercially successful in her own lifetime, after her death there was a decline in use of wallpapers and many of her designs lay in limbo for many years until there was a resurgence in demand for wallpaper in the early 2000's. Today of course designers have begun to realise the cultural importance and beauty of Broadhursts work and some Australian designers such as Akira Isogawa, Nikki Zimmerman and Karen Walker have used her work in their own design collections whilst the designs are also available in home furnishings as bed linen and other decorative items. It's at about this point that I shall explain to you how we have become involved. 

A Sydney based designer began working with the people who own the rights to Broadhurst's work over a year ago. They have been busy since then trying to translate some of Broadhurst's work to another medium - woven jacquard silk. The silk designs were shipped to Italy where they were translated by a reputable mill in Como who re-worked the designs for jacquard weaving machines. The final results are very very interesting. Some of the designs remind me of vintage Charvet ties from the 1920's whilst others remind me of the private collection of President Harry S. Truman. And yet all have never been seen before in tie silks. 

Each tie is 8cm in width. The ties are made with a slip stitch and feature a woven Florence Broadhurst signature in the rear blade of each tie. These designs are limited by design and by colourway and being under strict license the price is also affected by royalty fees. We are offering these first ties at $180.00 Australian each. As we have been able to secure only small number of these ties, it will be on a first come first serve basis. This is a chance to own a piece of Australiana history and, I might think, a collectable that shall go up in value with time. To own one of these ties, contact us here.

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