Inside the Collection

Leslie Walford AM, 1927-2012

Teddy bear laying in four poster bed in a bedroom setting
A bear with fond memories, 86/1053 Leslie Walford’s teddy bear, Collection: Powerhouse Museum

In 1986 Leslie Walford donated a flamboyant collection of clothing and memorabilia to the Powerhouse Museum. Including this charming musical teddy bear. It was a gift from his father who died when Walford was two. This little toy has now outlasted its owner and will be fondly associated with Walford’s exuberant and generous personality. Walford remarked – He seems to be a bear of quality and his expressive features indicate his benign character.

The donation included Walford’s Mr Fish psychedelic shirts, Nutters of Saville Row suits, a kangaroo skin coat, an Yves Saint Laurent safari suit and set of Christian Dior ties. The collection tells of a time during the 1960s and 1970s when men’s clothing was exciting and exuberant.

 Mr Fish's psychedelic shirt and Milano trouser
86/1036, 86/1030, back of Mr Fish’s psychedelic shirt and Milano trousers. Collection: Powerhouse Museum

Leslie Walford’s dramatic aesthetic perfectly suited this time. His perspective on interior design was eclectic and colourful and led to a very distinguished career. After studying in Paris and London he became a prime mover in this field in Australia and served on numerous committees and foundations including the Art Gallery of New South Wales and the Powerhouse Museum.

Walford’s Double Bay penthouse was bursting with intriguing stories reflecting his life and objects such as Fortuny silk lanterns and paintings by Jeffrey Smart that he collected through his extensive interests, friends and travels. In 2010 he received the Member of the Order of Australia for service to the performing arts and to the profession of interior design.
Leslie Walford will be sadly missed.

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