The text of this book is in the public domain.
A History of Liberty Furniture by Barbara Morris There is a considerable variety in the furniture and styles of interior decoration produced by Liberty's between and The catalogue of oriental goods, Eastern Art Manufactures and Decorative Objects, published inincluded a section labeled 'Department D', with carved wooden pieces from China and Japan, together Jobs and work and r r donelly cane chairs, stools and wastepaper baskets from North Africa.
Apart from these imported foods, small items of bamboo furniture such as overmantels and shelves are described as 'Anglo-Oriental'. The catalogue also offered to have 'Special designs made to order drawings post free'. This Anglo-Oriental furniture was made by a French craftsman, Monsieur Ursin Fortier, originally - a basket maker, who had premises in Soho.
Liberty's placed their first order with M. Fortier in and he continued to work exclusively for Liberty's throughout the 's, supplying a variety bamboo furniture including chairs and tables, cabinets and writing desks inset with panels of Japanese lacquer, leather paper or 'old fold' matting, and smaller items such as hanging shelves, easels and cakestands.
Liberty are evidently educating their Oriental producers as to the wants of our market and the result is that an English home can he almost entirely furnished with Eastern goods'.
Such furniture, however, would have had a limited appeal, and it became obvious that a wider range should be available. The Thebes stools Among the earliest items of furniture that can be fully documented were two stools, based on ancient Egyptian prototypes, both called the 'Thebes' and registered in One, a four-legged stool, usually made in walnut but also in mahogany, with turning on the lower legs and a leather seat attached to the frame with thonging, has the Patent Office Design registration No.
It was hardly an original design, as the ancient Egyptian prototype had already inspired a number of artists and designers earlier in the century.
A drawing of a similar Egyptian stool by J. A number of other artists, including Christopher Dresser and E. Godwin, produced drawings of ancient Egyptian furniture in the s. It is tempting to suggest that Godwin, who was then in charge of Liberty's Costume Studio, may have had a hand in the origin of this 'Thebes' stool, for a drawing of the prototype occurs on a page of museum studies in a Godwin sketchbook of about The stool was to prove immensely popular and was produced over a number of years.
One can be seen in a contemporary photograph of Arthur Lasenby Liberty's drawing room at The Lee Manor, the house he lived in from The other 'Thebes' stool had three curved legs fixed directly into the dished seat which was carved from a solid piece of wood.
It was made both in oak and mahogany, sometimes stained or lacquered red, and bears the registered number It was to prove equally popular, appearing in the firm's catalogues certainly as late as It was sold by Samuel Bing when he opened his shop, La Maison de ]'Art Nouveau, in Paris in November and in a number of other retail outlets in Europe, finding its way into museum collections as far afield as the Nordenfjeldske Kunstindustrimuseum in Trondheim, Norway, which purchased one from Bing in It was copied by the Austrian architect Adolf Looswho claimed it as his own design, and also stained it red.
Liberty's owned a copy of Les Arts Arabes by Jules Bourgoin, published inwhich as Viollet-Le-Duc stated in the preface, "as a practical and complete treatise which reveals a whole new order of composition'.
This, no doubt, provided an important source of inspiration for Wyburd. At first he seems mainly to have relied on imported furniture from North Africa, including inlaid coffee tables, Kharan stands, screens etc.
J Moyr-Smith illustrated a Moorish smoking room as well as an occasional table and rush-seated chair incorporating Mushrebiyeh panels.
Having described the Moorish style of Messrs. Cooper, the writer stated that: They have applied the style, more or less successfully, to cheap forms of ordinary furniture. The accompanying illustration showed three Anglo-Moresque chairs.
The wooden armchair in the centre, which has panels of Musharebeyeh was stained darkish green and was as said to be 'remarkably easy and not uncomely' When made comfortable by the addition of a few cushions.Contents 1 The Four Boys 2 4th Graders 2.
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