My Mum bought me this dinky little book for Christmas. She must have sneaked it in her shopping bag when we visited Liberty together in December. The book, called ‘V&A Pattern Liberty & Co. is a historical look back at how Liberty began, and more importantly, a catalogue of the Liberty fabrics held at the V&A which were collected during the 1950’s and 1970’s.
Liberty began purely as a fabric shop trying to introduce something different into the plethora of fabric and haberdashery shops of the time. It appealed to the ‘artistic set’ by choosing to stock Asian silks, rather than the more common French silks. Within 5 years though it had already began to stock cottons and furnishing fabrics and by 1904 Liberty opened it’s own printworks in Merton. I went to see what remains of the Merton Abby Mill a few years back and wrote about it here.
Liberty didn’t start to credit their textile designers on their selvedge until 1950’s, which is fairly similar to other print houses, I’ve certainly found over the years of collecting vintage textiles, it’s rare to see an artist’s name on older prints.
This book is more of a technical look and historical review rather than how Liberty’s fabrics were applied (such as in Liberty & Co in the fifties & sixties, a taste for design – which I’ve also reviewed here). It’s a cute little reference book with a broad spectrum of scarves, furnishing and fashion fabrics in a variety of styles. It has got me in the mood for another London trip to the V&A collections.
You can buy this book at Waterstones online.