When David Bromley discovered that the late Victorian Boom premises on Chapel Street, affectionately known in more recent years as the “Old Dan Murphy Building”, was available for lease, he jumped at the opportunity. In its heyday, the grand three storey, multi-front building was the Prahran Arcade and then housed such diverse tenants as the Arcade Club Hotel, an operator of Turkish baths and, towards the end of the 20th century, a studio for the late Howard Arkley. The space was dilapidated and it’s only inhabitants a flock of pigeons. It was very much a shell; with walls revealing through crumbling plaster, the bones of a grand old building that was yearning for some vision, some love and some fun!
When David first set eyes on the longest Victorian corridor in the Southern Hemisphere, which runs the entire length of the building, it was then that he began to conceive what would become David Bromley’s studio, gallery and a beautiful private space to bring clients for discreet viewings and gatherings. The space was so different and unique in Melbourne that everyone wanted to use it. Over the last five years, Barry Humphries has chosen it for a book launch, Penfolds for a wine campaign and no less than the iconic fashion house, Chanel, decided David’s studio would provide the perfect backdrop for one of their famed fashion shows. So for more than five years, this grand but personal space has been seen by few, but has excited the curiousity of many. Now, David opens his doors to the public for this unprecedented auction.
The atmosphere of the rooms, and the collection they house, is a thoughtful contrast from the magical setting that, until late last year, was his space in Daylesford. Occupying both extraordinary light-filled spaces and dark, moody corners, this collection is as diverse and eclectic as the previous two auctions. Here, within this vast Victorian wonderland, collectors and admirers of David’s work are given the opportunity to see how his very specific collecting can be enjoyed and presented. Having now dispersed his collections from South Yarra and Daylesford, Leonard Joel is delighted to be offering this final part of the David Bromley Collection in Melbourne.
In addition to the collection, David is now seeking expressions of interest for the leasehold of this landmark property at 280 Chapel Street, Prahran. It is with mixed emotions that he offers another individual or corporation the rare opportunity to occupy what must surely be one of Melbourne’s most coveted spaces.
Having moved north to establish a new studio by the sea and with new creative visions to occupy him, this auction represents a final opportunity to secure a piece of the magic that is David Bromley’s world.
Leonard Joel is thrilled to be part of this final dispersal of David’s collection in Melbourne and to be assisting him in the marketing of this unique Chapel Street leasehold. We look forward to welcoming you at the viewing and wish you every success at the auction.
Assistant Head of Art
t: 03 8825 5624
e: Nicole Salvo