Feature
Liberty Fabrics AW19

In The Studio: Aesthetic Renaissance

The artistic inspirations behind Liberty Fabrics’ latest collection – heritage motifs with a vibrantly modern twist

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For Liberty Fabrics’ Autumn/Winter 2019’s Aesthetic Renaissance collection, the in-house design team drew upon motifs inspired by the adventurous life and artistic inspirations of our founder, Sir Arthur Lasenby Liberty. An inveterate adventurer with an epoch-defining eye for aesthetics, Arthur’s passion for globetrotting and treasure-hunting with his wife Emma has formed the basis of Liberty’s long-lasting appeal.

The collection is split into three key stories from Arthur and Emma’s life together. ‘Artistic Interior’ draws inspiration from the Arts and Crafts homes of Liberty customers in the late 1800s, while ‘A Merchant Travelling’ evokes the photographic records and descriptive journals that the couple kept during their escapades around the globe. ‘Sir Arthur Liberty’ takes an in-depth look at Arthur himself, from his humble beginnings as the son of a lace merchant to his eventual knighthood.

Artistic Interior

“Frieze was painted onto coloured card – a thick application of acrylic paint gives the design this feeling of free expression. We were looking at the ways artists like Henri Matisse and Pierre Bonnard captured interiors in their paintings.”

“Sunflower was a pencil drawing, which was then coloured using watercolour washes – the final design ended up becoming flat colour to increase its vibrancy. It is inspired by the sunflower as a joyful emblem, as it was used by the Aesthetic Movement.”

A Merchant Travelling

“Legs Eleven is a line drawing inspired by the quotes from Arthur’s journals – especially during his travels in Tangiers. The insects are drawn in fine liner pen and filled with pops of jewel-like colour, to bring them to life and make them fun.”

“These vases were drawn in fine liner pen, with a washy watercolour pattern forming the background. They’re simplified interpretations of Chinese vases – like the ones Arthur and Emma Liberty collected during their honeymoon in Paris.”

“Serpentine was painted with watered-down gouache, using chisel-shaped brushes and sponges. It captures something free and organic, which doesn’t feel contrived. This technique abstracts the design – it’s almost like a geometric pattern, rather than an obvious snake motif.”

Sir Arthur Liberty

“Opera is a flat-colour design painted with gouache – a paint medium that can create really flat-and-matte, beautifully opaque colour. The end result is very different to acrylic paint, which is textured in appearance.”

“For Liberty Lido, a variety of mediums such as inks, acrylic, watercolour and gouache paint were used to create a variety of patterned papers. These were collaged together with tissue paper splashes. We like our conversational prints to really tell a story.”

“Sir Peter is drawn with pen and ink – it’s very quirky, and there are a lot of hidden elements to discover within the design. Look out for surreal sights like a lazy sloth, as well as a snail sitting on a knight’s helmet.”

Liberty London

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