A few weeks ago I was in The Works (a chain of discount bookshop here in the UK) when I stumbled upon this book about Liberty. The bright colours on the cover drew me in at first, but then I discovered that this book was quite special indeed. As was the price because it was only £15, and although I’m not supposed to really buy any ‘fun’ things at the moment, there was no way I was leaving the shop without that book. ;-) The usual price is £35! I really don’t know how they can sell it this cheap..
The book, it’s called Liberty: British Colour Pattern, is a hardback book, but it is also inserted in a card case. Makes it feel quite fancy! Throughout the book there are envelopes with various ephemera, reproductions of different posters, vintage advertisements and artwork. Fun to look through.
The book is divided into sections:
The Art Fabrics
Art Nouveau Revisited
Lots of original drawings, photos, prints used throughout the book. And the book is beautifully laid out. I only have one bad thing to say about this book, and that’s just a minor annoyance, really. The body text is set across columns of grey colour, the text doesn’t follow the columns as you might expect and it kinda messes with my eyes. Why not just have columns with text? Or a white background perhaps. Anyway, it’s a minor thing – and doesn’t take away from the images! :-)
The book is an interesting introduction to the story of Liberty and Arthur Liberty who founded it. I didn’t know that originally they were mostly selling goods from the near and far east, like rugs and ceramics, I thought it was mostly fabrics.
And I was surprised to find out that there was a whole style known as Stile Liberty which was popular in France, including jewellery, metalwork and ceramics.
There is a section about the Liberty scarf of course. It was also interesting to read about how Liberty was breaking new ground with their window displays.
Of course there is quite a bit about the fabric designs. And there are lots of pictures! Although there could easily have been more included and I wouldn’t have been bored. With information about what inspired some of the designs. It even includes some of the first lifestyle fabrics.
Although the sections about other parts if the Liberty business are interesting I kinda feel like the book could have done without it – or maybe have less of it and focus in the fabrics. But you know, that’s just me. I think if you like (love!) Liberty you would enjoy this book. Or even if you are just interested in design or fabric design in general.
You can get the Liberty: British Colour Pattern from Amazon (affiliate links) and other bookshops no doubt. I’ve also got a (referral) code you can use to get 20% off at The Works website. That code is valid until the beginning of May this year.
Below are some more photos of the book because I think that gives a much better impression of it than I can possibly write with words. ;-)
I love this drawing on the inside of the front cover…
An example of ephemera tucked into envelopes: drawings by Grayson Perry.
There’s a double sided poster tucked into a pocket at the back. Cute.
Fabric printing. Tana Lawns.