Liberty and Tudric
Sir Arthur Lazenby 1843-1917
In 1875, Arthur Lasenby Liberty borrowed £2,000 from his future father-in-law and took over half of 218a Regent Street with three dedicated staff. Within eighteen months he had repaid the loan and acquired the second half of 218 Regent Street. Liberty acquired 142-144 Regent Street in 1885 - extending its ranges further.
In the 1890s Arthur Lasenby Liberty built strong relationships with many leading English designers who were key figures in the Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau movements. He was instrumental in the development of the British Art Nouveau style through his encouragement of such designers.
The store became one of the most prestigious in London. Liberty later opened another store in Paris. With its evolution, Liberty & Co. quickly expanded to include fashionable clothing and furniture as well as decorative items such as vases, clocks, jewellery, textiles, and wallpapers. Liberty's policy of selling items marked only with their own name or trademarks (such as Tudric) helped promote the Liberty style across Europe - the Art Nouveau movement in Italy often being called "Stile Liberty". Of course, Arthur Liberty concerned himself with the commercial popularity of styles, often combining Aestheticism, Art Nouveau, and Arts and Crafts in his ranges.
Liberty launched its Cymric silver range in 1899 followed by its Tudric pewter range in 1902. Initially Liberty imported as well as commissioning pieces from producers, eventually investing in the Birmingham firm of W H Haseler (using the “Solkets” mark). Haseler reportedly manufactured all pewter ware for Liberty until 1926 using a number of marks other than the Solkets mark - including "English Pewter". The Tudric range included both functional household ware as well as decorative items - with innovative designs by leading designers such as David Veasey, Oliver Baker, Arthur Silver and, his most prolific designer - Archibald Knox.
Archibald Knox (1864-1933) was born on the Isle of Man to Scottish parents. Clearly influenced by Celtic and Manx traditional designs - by 1899 he was designing for Liberty & Co on their Cymric (Silver) range and on their Tudric range (introduced 1902). Knox's designs for Liberty & Co made his style widely know despite his name not appearing on any of the objects. His innovative designs bridged Arts & Crafts, Art Nouveau and Modernism.
Archibald Knox 1864-1933