A carefully designed life
Florence Broadhurst was a glamorous wallpaper designer born in Queensland, Australia, in 1899. She also was a dancer named Bobby in 1920s Shanghai and, later that decade, a London socialite named Madame Pellier. In the 1960s and '70s, Broadhurst settled into the role of artist and designer. She presided over her Sydney studio until 1977, when she was murdered; no one was ever convicted of the crime. It's fitting, then, that journalist Helen O'Neill's biography, Florence Broadhurst: Her Secret &andamp; Extraordinary Lives, depicts a woman devoted to reinvention and fabulousness. Nearly 100 of Broadhurst's vivid, large-scale silkscreened patterns appear in the book. They aren't for the faint of heart: Covering walls with the lush Florentine Tapestry or the pop-alicious Turnabouts requires commitment and a sense of adventure. Even as Broadhurst's work continues to sell (often in the form of fabrics for dresses and linens), her design skills and ethics draw questions. Nevertheless, with its clever silkscreened cover with embossed wrap-around, this book will look smashing on a coffee table.