-----In 2004 we bought a falling-down house and 30 acres. This blog documents our progress-----

Sunday, May 22, 2005

Liberty's 2005 arts & crafts sale

Liberty is my favourite store in the whole world. It's in central London and even though it has now been given a modern glass extension, the original store building still thrives. It's made out of wood salvaged from a sailing ship, coupled with Tudor decorations on the outside. I always walk up the staircase there rather than the catching the lifts because I just love the polished oak rails. Visiting the shop is an experience in itself, and it isn't as expensive as you might always think. They have a gift section in the basement part that sells great candles and pewter / silver-plated things. I've bought gifts there for under £20 that looked like they cost £200. It's just a lovely place.

Anyway, I am forbidding myself from going there for the next few months because I've just discovered they have an Arts & Crafts exhibition on with all these gorgeous antiques on show WHICH YOU CAN BUY!!! Now, if I had to pick my favourite style it would be Arts & Crafts (although I am more eclectic... sometimes just having it *all* is just a little spartan and puritan). Anyway, Liberty's are the spiritual home of Arts & Crafts in the UK... William Morris, Archibold Knox, etc all were supported by them.

I've been through the show catalogue online (which you can look at here) and these are my favourite pieces. I thought I'd include them here partly to share, and partly to have as inspiration if we ever get round to doing some furniture DIY.

This is my absolute favourite - an upholstered arm chair in oak with carved decoration. Circa 1905. And it's only £2800! which of course I can't afford but it is not as extreme as what I was expecting...

upholstered armchair
Originally uploaded by lynetter.

p>...considering that this clock costs £8,500!!! Now, fortunately I don't have to be tempted by this or attempt to make it myself, because Dave bought me a replica of something similar for my birthday in Liberty's sales a few years ago. (The joyous thing about Liberty is they have proper sales... things marked 50, 75% off and thus bringing them within the just-affordable bracket). It has pride of place on our dresser. Anyway, this one is the real thing: Liberty & Co Tudric mantle clock in pewter, copper and enamel. Designed by Archibald Knox. Model 0608. Circa 1902

archibald knox tudric clock
Originally uploaded by lynetter.

Back to the chairs... this one I like because it's such an interesting shape, although it doesn't seem like it'd be as comfortable to sit in as the other. Upholstered porter's chair in mahogany. Glasgow School. Circa 1905.

upholstered porters chair
Originally uploaded by lynetter.

Finally, here is a gorgeous chunky sideboard in oak with adzed decoration and burr panel doors. Designed by Robert Thompson (The 'Mouse man') circa 1930.

Originally uploaded by lynetter.


Jocelyn said...

Boy do you have lovely taste! My Mom and sister are in England right now and I'm jealous. That place sounds wonderful. Will have to check out when I go there. My family all lives in Reading, England including my grannie and I need to visit her! Just been so focused on the house- next year we are hoping. I am going to jot this shop down-thanks...

Anonymous said...

I'm going to do some browsing online right now! It sounds like an awesome place. My sister travels to London quite a bit for business, I'll suggest that she check it out next time she's there!

Anonymous said...

You do have good taste in liking Liberty. The more you get into their style, the more you may realize that they had the best pure designer in the world. At the turn or the century, Archibald Knox was their principal designer. There really was not anyone close to him in talent. Some of his very best designs border on perfection. look closely and you will see what I mean.