Marion Hall Best collection




A collection of papers, plans, photographs, and furnishings related to the career of Australian interior designer Marion Hall Best. The papers include autobiographical material, ephemera and exhibition catalogues related to her business, Marion Best Pty Ltd. The furnishings include examples of wallpaper, soft furnishings and some items of furniture once part of interior decoration commissions undertaken by Marion Best Pty Ltd as well as examples of furnishings purchased from Marion Hall Best in Queen Street, Woollahra and items of unused stock shop and samples. The collection also includes colour boxes: colour samples made by the staff of Marion Best Pty Ltd to show clients potential colours/colour combinations for interior furnishing schemes.

Marion Hall Best (1905-1988) was one of Australia's most important and influential 20th century interior designers. She was an outstanding figure in the dissemination of the ideas of international modernism in relation to interior design in Australia. Her early career developed out of contacts made in Sydney's arts and crafts circles in the 1920s, including those gained while attending art and design classes with Theo Proctor. She took on a series of private decorating commissions in the 1930s and continued to study, enrolling in first-year architecture at the University of Sydney in 1938 and, in 1939-40, completing a New York-based correspondence course in interior decoration. In 1938 Best opened Marion Best fabrics, a workroom with display area in Queen Street, Woollahra, to which she later added a retail business. Up until its closure in 1974 the shop stocked local designs - furniture by Gordon Andrews, Clement Meadmore, Roger McLay; printed textiles by Frances Burke, Douglas Annand and others - as well as a wide range of imported textiles, wallpapers and furniture - textiles by Marimekko and Jim Thompson; wallpapers from Nobilis and Follot; furniture by Saarinen, Bertoia, Aarnio, Danese Milano and McGuire Company. In 1949 Marion Best opened a small shop in Sydney's Rowe Street, an enclave of shops and galleries specialising in art, craft and design. These retail outlets were a source of inspiration for the local design profession.Marion Best's career spanned a period in which the very concept of an interior designer was invented, a period of transition from the department store decorators and art furnishers of the 1920s to the independent professional designers of today. She was a founding member of the Society of Interior Designers of Australia and instrumental in the emergence of the profession.


Colour; Design; Interior decoration; Modernism; Wallpaper

Exhibition catalogues; Soft furnishings

Marion Hall Best

Coverage Spatial

Sydney, New South Wales, Australia

Coverage Temporal



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2014-11-04 12:55