Lots 875 and 874
Specializing in selling ornaments, fabric and objects from Japan and the Far East, the shop was crucial in introducing and popularizing Japanese arts and crafts in the West. The company became synonymous with this new style, to the extent that in Italy, Art Nouveau became known as Stile Liberty after the London shop. In the 1890s Arthur Lasenby Liberty built strong relationships with many leading English designers and studios. Many of these designers were key figures in the Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau movements which meant that Arthur Liberty became instrumental in the development of British Art Nouveau. The store became one of the most prestigious in London. Liberty’s main goal for his store "was to combine utility and good taste with modest cost." Unlike other retailers of Art Nouveau products, Liberty kept its manufacturing costs down in order to keep its prices low. Liberty himself said that his store aimed for "the production of useful and beautiful objects at prices within the reach of all classes.”
In 1899, Archibald Knox began designing for Liberty & Co. He was focused particularly on the new Celtic design work such as ‘Cymric’ and ‘Tudric’ range, (silver and pewter respectively). The Cymric catalogue states, “The feature of this development is, its complete breaking away from convention in the matter of design treatment”. Archibald was held in such high esteem that, even after his association with Liberty & Co. ended, he was commissioned to design the headstone for Arthur Lasenby Liberty’s grave, where it still stands to this day at Lee, Buckinghamshire.
Stephan Welz & Company Pty Limited, in Johannesburg, has on auction on Wednesday, 8th August 2012 at 10:30 am, lot 875, a Tudric pewter and glass claret jug and cover, by Archibald Knox for Liberty & Co., 1904. The enchanting pale emerald green glass body is highlighted with a pewter neck, handle and hinged cover, decorated with entrelac motifs. It is stamped model no. 0310 and Rd. no: 426580 (pre-auction estimate of R6 000 – R8 000).
Also on offer, is lot 874, An Archibald Knox Art Nouveau pewter 1 pint golf mug. The baluster shaped body with martelé finish and tinned interior and raised golfer decoration is stamped "Tudric" (for Liberty & Co.) and numbered "066". (pre-auction estimate of R6 00 – R8 00).