Learn about Liberty & Co.
The world renowned department store Liberty, was originally founded in 1875 as a furniture and drapery shop in Regent Street, London and was known as "East India House".
The business was established by Arthur Lazenby Liberty, (1843-1917). As the original name of the shop suggests, there was a strong emphasis on Oriental & Moorish objects, furniture and fabrics as well as more traditional European items. Under the heading of "curios", he also sold Japanese bric-a-brac of all kinds.
East India House was one of the first major shops to stock extensively products of the Arts and Crafts movement. Goods subsequently produced for Liberty showed both Oriental and Arts and Crafts influence.
In 1884 Liberty opened a costume department and in 1885 a wallpaper department.
Liberty commissioned leading designers of the time to create carpets, ceramics, clothing, furniture, silver and wallpaper exclusively for them.
In 1889 Liberty opened a branch in Paris which was instrumental in exposing Europeans to English Art Nouveau style. more...
Learn about Pewter
Pewter is an alloy of tin hardened with small amounts of other metals such as copper, lead, zinc, antimony and sometimes silver. The craft of pewtering started in antiquity - the earliest known item, a flask dating from c1450 BC, was found in Egypt.
Pewter is believed to have been introduced to Britain by the Romans, who exploited the main source of tin in Europe at the time, which was in Cornwall. The craft fell into decline after the Romans withdrew from Britain but it is thought that the Cistercian monks reintroduced it after the Norman Conquest in AD 1066.
Known as "the poor man's silver", production spread throughout the country with a wide range of mainly domestic goods being made.
In the year 1348 Articles were granted to the Worshipful Company of Pewterers in London, which enabled them to control the quality of pewter. Two grades of pewter were specified, and then later a further grade was added, and these three grades were adhered to until the 20th century. more...