Liberty & Co
Directory of Liberty Manufacturers
Aller Vale Pottery, Newton Abbot, Devon
This pottery began making brown ware from 1865 and in 1868
was taken over by John Phillips. In 1887 the works became
known as the Aller Vale Art Pottery. Liberty & Co stocked
their wares between the years 1887 and 1901. Their work is
often adventurous, the decoration free and bold. Impressed
Murlle Bennet & Co, London
This firm frequently supplied small items of Art Nouveau
style jewellery to Liberty and Co during the early years of
the 20th Century. They specialized in pendants and brooches,
usually enameled. Their designs frequently follow the typical
Liberty Art Nouveau style of the early years, but are sweeter
and prettier than the purer and more geometric designs of
Archibald Knox. Murle Bennet & Co were an Anglo-German
firm who frequently advertised as their own production, pieces
which appeared in the Liberty and W.H. Haseler catalogues.
This was not uncommon practice at a time when there was a
great deal of pilfering and pirating of the designs of other
firms. These were often just sufficiently modified as to appear
'original'. A lot of Murle Bennet jewellery sold through Liberty
and Co was probably made in Pforzheim, although the pieces
often carried the marks of both Liberty and Haseler. There
has always been some confusion about the exact nature of this
firm's activities. Their jewellery was close to the Liberty
and Art and Crafts styles, but was also influenced by the
contemporary German geometric style. Their claim to have designed
all their jewellery is belied by their advertisements, which
illustrate pieces supposedly exclusive to Liberty and which
appear in the catalogues of that firm. They also supplied
Connell of Cheapside and the Goldsmiths' Company with jewellery.
C.H. Brannam Ltd, Barnstaple, Devon
Brannam's operated from Litchdon Street Pottery in Barnstaple,
and were notable for their grotesque and fantastic motifs:
animals, birds, sea creatures and dragons. They frequently
used the old Roman name 'Barum' for Barnstaple as their trademark,
but their marks are extremely varied, from incised markings
in cursive script to impressed markings in capital letters,
often using the words 'Made for Liberty'. Early pieces are
usually signed in a cursive script with the date, and often
the initials of the designer such as J.D. (John Dewdney) or
W.B. (William Baron).
In 1882 Liberty & Co became the sole agent for C.H.Brannam
and remained so until 1914, when control of the firm passed
into the hands of Brannam's two sons. They continues to supply
Liberty with pottery until the 1930s.
Giuseppe Cantagalli, Florence
Italian pottery whose wares were sold by Liberty & Co
in the late 1880s and 1890s. They made earthenware with painted
decoration in bronze lustres and blues.
Compton Pottery, Guildford, Surrey
Mary Fraser Tytler, wife of the Victorian painter George
Frederick Watts, founded the Compton Pottery in 1902 and produced
a range of garden pottery for Liberty & Co, many items
from Celtic designs originally created by Archibald Knox.
Messrs Connell & Co of Cheapside, London
Liberty sold off many exhausted lines of pewter to this firm
who produced their own adapted versions, often from the original
designs by Archibald Knox. Their shapes, however, were always
traditional and the use of blue and green ceramic tablets
was seldom as effective as the electric blue and marine green
so often employed by Liberty & Co. Most of the Knox designs
were sold to Messrs Connell around 1909 -10 when demand for
this type of pewter began to wane.
James Couper & Sons, Glasgow
Makers of Clutha Glass, mainly designed by Christopher Dresser
and sometimes by George Walton, and extensively used by Liberty
& Co as liners for their pewter ware, particularly for
designs by Archibald Knox.
Della Robbia Pottery, Birkenhead
This factory was started in 1894 by Harold Rathbone and Conran
Dressler and closed again only 7 years later in 1901. The
firm specialized in tiles, earthenware and particularly relief
plaques inspired by the panels, reliefs and fountains created
in Florence by the sculptor Luca della Robbia and his family.
Mark 'della Robbia', incised or impressed with ship device
and often the initials of designers and decorators. For example:
'C' for Charles Collis, 'C.A.W.' for C.A.Walker, 'C.M.' for
Carlo Manzoni, 'L.W.' for Liza Wilkins and 'R.B' for Ruth
Bare. Their work was widely sold by Liberty & Co between
the years 1894 and 1901.
Farnham Potteries, Farnham, Surrey
Managed by A.H. Harris & Son and operated as early as
1893, Farnham Pottery was sold in large quantities by Liberty's.
Their ceramics appear in the Liberty catalogues of the day
as 'Green Ware'. The shapes are often simple and similar to
those of the Brannam Ware produced around 1915-16.
This Dutch pottery centre produced highly colourful and distinctive
pottery, frequently bearing the mark 'Made for Liberty'.
W.H. Haseler, Birmingham
Goldsmiths, Silver smiths and jewelers, founded in 1870 by
William Hair Haseler. The firm of Haseler & Co went into
formal partnership with Liberty & Co when the two firms
joined forces to launch the Cymric silver scheme under the
title Liberty & Co (Cymric) Ltd.
J.P. Kayser & Sons, Krefeld, Germany
German metalwork form founded in 1885 near Dusseldorf by
Jean Kayser. From the mid 1890s they manufactured pewter Jugendstil
objects such as ashtrays lamps, beakers, vases, tea and coffee
sets best known as 'Kayserzinn'. Their main designer was Hugo
Leven, a name to e compared with that of Liberty's main pewter
designer, Archibald Knox.
German pewter manufacturers from whom Arthur Liberty imported
pewter, mainly tableware, for sale in his Regent Street shop
E. Littler & Co, Merton Abbey, Surrey
Block printed textiles and scarves were printed for Liberty
by Littler & Co. (William Morris had his print works at
Merton Abbey but his property was downstream form Littler's
works. 'We sent our dirty water down to Morris!' was a favourite
Liberty remark.) In 1904 Liberty took over the works, and
they acquired the freehold in 1922. By the 1890s Liberty were
taking up the whole of Littler's production. The firm continued
to hand print there until 1973 when the premises were sold.
Loetz Witwe, Klostermuhle, Austria
Founded in 1836, Loetz were glass manufacturers, particularly
celebrated for their fine iridescent glass, comparable in
type with Tiffany. It was sold by Liberty & Co in the
1890s. Marks: two crossed arrows with a star in each intersection,
with 'Loetz, Austria'; crossed arrows in circle with 'Lotz';
crossed arrows in circle with 'Lotz, Klostermuhle'.
John MontcrieffLtd, Perth, Scotland
Scottish glassmakers founded by John Montcrieff, c1864. They
produced heavy glassware, mainly Art Deco, streked with various
colours and inclusions within the body of the glass, which
was sold by Liberty & Co in the 1920s and 1930s and earlier.
Monart Glass, as it was known, was unmarked except for a paper
label affixed to the base.
William Moorcroft, Staffordshire
Arthur Liberty first encountered Moorcroft in 1898, when
the latter was in sole charge of the art pottery workshop
of the firm of James Macintyre & Co at Burslem. The two
men rapidly became friends, and Liberty's began to sell Moorcroft's
earliest range of 'Florian Ware'. After 1913, When Moorcroft
left James Macintyre & Co to start his own workshops at
Cobridge, he continued to supply Liberty with such lines as
'Hazeldene' (trees in a landscape setting), 'Claremont' (toadstools)
and the green and red 'Flaminian' ware which he created specially
for Liberty. Some pieces of Moorcroft, such as vases and tazzas,
were set in Tudric pewter bases. Many pieces carry the mark
'Made for Liberty'. Signature W.Moorcoft in bold script always
appears. Until the 1920s this is in green, after which it
is mainly in blue.
Alexander Morton & Co, Kilmarnock, Scotland
Morton's power loom carpet and textile factory produced carpets
and tapestries designed by William Morris (not for Liberty)
and C.F.A. Voysey. The man responsible for the association
between Liberty and both Littler's hand printing works and
Alexander Morton's factory was the imaginative and enterprising
young Welshman John Llewellyn. Morton's became weavers for
Liberty in the 1890s, manufacturing all styles of Liberty
designs in woven fabrics.
'Osiris', (See Walter Scherf & Co)
'Orivit', Cologne, Germany
General pewter manufacturers whose products Liberty sold
in the early 1900s. Mark 'Orivit'.
Pilkington Lancastrian Pottery, Clifton Junction, Lancashire
Established in 1892, Pilkington's were manufacturers of tiles,
vases and bowls, some pieces with designs by Walter Crane,
the tiles often by Crane and Voysey. They were sold by Liberty
& Co in the early 19oos.
James Powell & Sons, Whitefriars, London
Glass makers who provided Liberty & Co with distinctive
green glass liners for their metalwork.
Royal Doulton, Staffordshire and London
Liberty sold a variety of Doulton lines, many decorated with
characteristic Art Nouveau designs such as stylized plant
Walter Scherf & Co, Nuremberg, Germany
Manufacturers of pewter produced under the trade name of
'Osiris' and sold by Libert & Co at the turn of the century.
Silver Studio, Hammersmith, London
General design studio established in 1880 by Arthur Silver
(1853-96). These studios provided Liberty & Co with textile
designs, pewter, silver and jewellery, and many designs for
Cymric ware. Later, Arthur's eldest son Reginald 'Rex' Silver
directed the practice, at first with his brother Harry and
then by himself. After Arthur Silver's early death, it was
continued by Harry Napper until Rex came of age. It continued
William Howson Taylor, West Smethwick, Birmingham
English Art potter who established the Ruskin Pottery in
1898, producing 'Buttons' which were often set into Liberty
mirror frames or into the lids of boxes. Colours, rich and
high-fired, ranged from dark blues and greens to turquoise,
apple green, purple and mauve.
Thomas Wardle, Leek, Staffordshire
Fabric printers to Liberty & Co in the 1880s, specializing
in oriental silks
Directory of Artists and Designers
M.H. Baillie-Scott (1865-1945)
English architect, furniture and textile designer, Baillie-Scott
also worked with metal and ceramics, producing designs for
Liberty & Co from 1893.
Oliver Baker (1856-1939)
A Birmingham painter and designer, and a frequent exhibitor
at the Royal Academy from 1883, Oliver Baker was a key figure
in the Liberty Cymric scheme for which he produced many designs.
He also designed pewter for the firm.
William Birch, a furniture maker of High Wycombe, provided
Liberty & Co with chairs and some cabinet furniture at
the turn of the century. In 1901 he was joined by E.G. Punnett.
Lindsay P Butterfield (1896 - 1948)
A fabric designer who worked for Liberty & Co in the
1890's. His work was based mainly on stylized floral motifs.
Walter Crane (1845 - 1915)
A designer and illustrator, Walter Crane was closely associated
with William Morris and the Arts and Crafts Movement. He designed
fabrics for Liberty & Co in the 1890's
H. C. Craythorn (1881 - 1949)
Craythorn was a silversmith and designer and a pupil of Arthur
Gaskin. His brilliant talents were recognised by W. H . Haseler
in 1898 when Craythorn was seventeen. He worked for Haseler's
for some forty years and produced most of the designs executed
by them for Liberty & Co. His most distinguished and now
celebrated work, designed by Archibald Knox and executed by
Craythorn, is the silver casket supplied by Liberty to the
Rockefeller family c 1900 and is now in the Museum of Modern
Art, New York.
Bernard Cuzner (1877 - 1956)
A silversmith and jeweller who designed many items for Liberty
& Co around 1900 - 5.
Dr Christopher Dresser (1834 - 1904)
Botanist, designer, metalworker and writer on art and the
principles of art and design, Dresser, born in Glasgow, was
a key figure in the history of modern design. IN contrast
to his early enthusiasm for the Japanese taste and the Aesthetic
Movement, he was a radical and revolutionary designer of glass
and metalwork who fully accepted the machine and the approach
to modern methods of mass production, and demonstrated a remarkable
ability to anticipate the Bauhaus manner as early as 1879.
He was a close friend of Arthur Lasenby Liberty who owned
shares in the Bond Street firm, the Art Furnishers Alliance,
of which Dresser became manager in 1880. In 1883 this firm
went into liquidation, and in 1889 Dresser moved to Barnes
in West London where he ran a studio with the help of some
ten assistants. Among them were Archibald Knox and almost
certainly Rex Silver of the Silver Studio. His son Louis joined
the furniture department of Liberty & Co in 1896. Dresser's
main practical association with Liberty was through the design
of Clutha glass.
Eleanor Fortescue-Brickdale (1871 - 1945)
A designer and enamel painter for Liberty & Co who specialized
in figurative painting, such as friezes for bowls, depicting
figures in landscape settings. She was also a book illustrator
Arthur and Georgie Gaskin (1862 - 1928 and 1868 - 1934)
A husband and wife team - painters, illustrators and metalworkers
- who designed jewellery for Liberty & Co during the first
decade of the century from their Birmingham Studios.
E. W. Godwin (1833 - 86)
An English architect and furniture designer, widely known
for his Anglo- Japanese style furniture, Godwin was a passionate
supporter of the cult of Japonisme. He was appointed supervisor
of the Costume Department at Liberty & Co on 17 January
1884 at an agreed fee of 'one guinea for each hour in the
studio. The hours in any one week were not to exceed six hours
A. E. Jones (1879 - 1954)
Jones, a Birmingham jeweller, produced a number of designs
for Liberty & Co. Less well known than his contemporary
and associate Bernard Cuzner, he was considered very promising
in his day.
Jessie M. King (1876 - 1949)
A Scottish painter, designer and book illustrator, Jessie
King studied at the Glasgow School of Art and became a prominent
member of the Glasgow School. She designed jewelry and silverwork
for Liberty's Cymric range, and also textiles.
Archibald Knox (1864 - 1933)
Born in Cronkbourne on the Isle of Man, Knox, the principal
silver and pewter designer for Liberty & Co, created Celtic
designs of the highest quality for the Cymric and Tudric schemes.
He had previously worked for the Silver Studio and for Christopher
Dresser's Design Studio in Barnes, south-west London, and
had taught design at the Wimbledon and Kingston-on-Thames
School of Art. At Kingston his teaching methods were considered
too unorthodox by the South Kensington Examiners and he resigned
his post in 1911.
A description of Knox's new Celtic range from a Liberty catalogue
of 1899 - 1900 shows how keen Arthur liberty was to promote
The especially interesting feature
is its complete
and unmistakable differentiation from all other descriptions
of modern silverwork. The suggestion, as it were, having its
origin in the work of a far earlier period than the greater
part of the gold and siler plate ornaments to be found even
in the Royal Collections today, the bulk of which only dates
back to the Restoration. Cymric silver, although original
and initiatory of a new school of work, is suggestive of a
more remote era than this, and simplicity is the keynote of
After 1912, when Knox ceased to work for Liberty's, he went
to America where he designed carpets for Bromley & Co
Max Läuger (1864 - ?)
German architect, engineer, sculptor, and artist potter chiefly
known for his glazed bowls, vases, wall plaques and jugs in
stylized Art Nouveau designs. Liberty & Co were the first
to import Max Läuger's pottery into the country in the
late 1890's. Mark: M.K.L. in monogram with arms of the Grand
Duchy of Baden.
W. R. Lethaby (1857 - 1911)
English architect, metalworker, furniture and pottery designer,
Lethaby was also a founder member in 1884, of the Art Workers
Guild, and Professor of Design at the Royal College of Art
in 1900. He designed simple, unpolished furniture, primarily
in oak, sometimes in rosewood, and some of it decorated with
floral marquetry in ebony, sycamore and bleached mahogany.
He also designed fabrics for Liberty & Co in the 1890's.
Ernest Léveillé (flourished 1885 - 1900)
French Art Nouveau glass designer. Pupil of E. Rousseau with
whom he produced experimental glass including many pieces
of sculptured crackle glass sold by Liberty & Co at the
close of the nineteenth century.
Sidney Mawson (c1876 - 1937/8)
A textile designer for Liberty & Co in the first decade
of the last century.
Frank Miles (1852 - 91)
Miles was a textile designer for Liberty & Co in the
late 1880's and 1890's when, possibly to meet the competition
of Morris & Co, began to commission work from leading
artists and designers of the period.
Harry Napper (1860 - 1930)
Textile, furniture and metalwork designer with the Silver
Studio (c1893-8), Napper provided Liberty & Co with many
of their finest fabric designs. He managed the design production
of the Silver Studio after Arthur Silver's death in 1896.
Mario Amaya wrote: 'Around 1900 the strongest personality
at Liberty's appears to have been Harry Napper whose fabrics
depended less on undulating curves that drifting geometrized
motifs, strident with angular petals and thorny leave.'
John Pearson (flourished 1890 - 1910)
A designer and metalworker whose imagery was often fantastic
and highly original. Pearson was the first instructor in metalwork
at C. R. Ashbee's Guild of Handicrafts and was dismissed in
1890 because 'Mr Pearson had been outside the Guild supplying
Messrs Morris and others with goods
' He was reinstated
but again failed to honour his undertaking not too deal with
other firms, and was allowed to resign on 29 August 1892.
Thereafter he worked for William Morris and later at the Newlyn
Class in Cornwall. Although there is no conclusive documentary
evidence that he did supply Liberty & Co, there is some
circumstantial evidence that he did supply Liberty with designs.
E.G. Punnett (flourished 1900)
A furniture designer known to have worked for Liberty &
Co from the fact that he joined William Birch of High Wycombe
in 1901. This firm supplied Liberty with a great deal of furniture
and many of their surviving pieces bear Punnett's signature.
E.G. Reuter (1845 - after 1912)
A designer of fabrics for Liberty & Co in the 1890s.
'Liberty & Co were regular exhibitors in the various Arts
and Crafts Society Exhibitions beginning with a stand at the
New Gallery (Regent Street) in 1893. The company exhibited
a large selection of fabrics designed by Arthur Silver, Thomas
Wardle, E.G. Reuter and W.R. Lethaby. It is from this source,
and not the company that the names of the various designers
were made known.
Richard Reimerschmid (1868 - 1957)
A furniture designer whose work was imported by Liberty &
Co in the 1900s, Reimerschmid first became generally known
after his participation in the Paris Exhibition of 1900.
Provided Liberty & Co with textile designs in stylized
floral patterns in the late 1880s.
Arthur Silver (1853 - 1896)
Designer and craftsman, founder of the Silver Studio in 1880
and father of Reginald 'Rex' Silver and Harry Silver. The
Silver Studio specialized in every aspect of design form plasterwork,
metalwork, furniture and book jackets to the design of complete
interiors, and they provided Liberty & Co with a great
number of furniture designs.
Harry Silver (1882 - 1972)
Metalwork and textile designer with his father's studio.
Influenced by Archibald Knox, he executed designs for Liberty
Cymric silver after 1906, and supervised the design production
of the Silver Studio from 1901 to 1916, when he joined the
Reginald 'Rex' Silver (1879 - 1965)
The son of Arthur Silver and the brother of Harry, he administered
the Silver Studio from 1901 until its closure in 1963.
Liberty & Co are known to have put into production at
least one deign by David Veazey: the winning design for a
silver tea caddy in a competition organised by Liberty through
'The Studio' magazine in 1899. It was produced both in silver
and, later, in pewter, bearing the number 049C. The signature
used by the artist on this occasion was 'Tramp'.
C.F.A. Voysey (1857 - 1941)
An English architect and designer of furniture, textiles,
carpets, tapestries, wallpapers, ceramics and metalwork. His
furniture was generally austere and architectural, using straight
lines and very little ornament except for a characteristic
pierced heart shape, and other cut-out motifs, in the backs
of chairs. He produced many textile and wallpaper designs
for Liberty & Co between 1890 and 1910. Charles Voysey
and George Walton were among a distinguished group of furniture
designers who worked directly for Liberty.
George Walton (1867 - 1933)
Scottish architect and member of the Glasgow School, he collaborated
with C.R. Mackintosh on the Cranston Tea rooms, Glasgow, in
1897. Walton was closely associated with the Arts and Crafts
movement, and worked as a furniture designer in the late 1890s
and early 1900s.
Leonard F. Wyburd
Although Leonard Wyburd set up the Liberty Furnishing and
Decoration Studio as early as 1883, at the height of the Aesthetic
Movement, it was not until the late 1890s that he began to
design the avant-garde furniture which was to help revolutionize
the whole concept of furniture design, not only in England
but also in Vienna, Berlin and Paris (where in 1889 Liberty
opened a branch, at 38 Avenue de l'Opera). Leonard Wyburd
is as much a part of the creation of Liberty Style as Archibald
Information from 'Liberty Style' by Mervyn Levy