The magic of discovering Liberty treasures in Derby

Posted on 30/08/2018 in Press Coverage

It’s not just the beauty of a fine, century-old Liberty necklace that enchants people as they browse our Fine Art Jewellery display in our Etwall saleroom – it’s the box it graces.

The beautiful gold fringe necklace, which dates back to circa 1900, shimmers with opals, emeralds and seed pearls but the elegant original case it rests snugly into also catches the eye.

Oval in shape, it brims with old-world grandeur and fits the necklace perfectly. That’s extremely important. That made-to-measure fit shows this necklace is genuine – it provides provenance, and that could add up to £1,000 more to its value at auction.

To underline its authenticity, the classic case has, printed in gold to the lid: ‘Liberty & Co Ltd, Regent Street, London’. Its estimate is £6,000 - £8,000.

We expect it to do very well at auction and TV’s Kate Bliss would certainly love to see more of the same, along with designer watches, dazzling diamonds and silver, when she joins us at our Etwall saleroom on Thursday (Sept 6), from 10am-4pm to do free jewellery valuations.

Kate, a familiar face on Flog It! and Bargain Hunt, is always a popular visitor at Hansons and the perfect person to advise on your treasures.

One item I was particularly happy to see at a recent free valuation day was an Archibald Knox silver Liberty clock – a stunning example of craftsmanship. Made in 1904, it’s the epitome of fine design and yet it was made nearly 120 years ago.

Knox, who lived from 1864-1933, is best known as being Liberty’s primary designer at the height of the firm’s success and influence upon UK and International design, so much so that in Italy Art Nouveau was known as Stile Liberty. Knox’s pioneering and prolific work bridged the Arts and Crafts Movement, Celtic Revival, Art Nouveau and Modernism.

Knox’s style became widely known thanks to hundreds of designs he did for Liberty. Most of his work for Liberty was for the Tudric (pewter) and Cymric (precious metals) ranges.

His design talent covered a wide range of objects, ornamental and utilitarian, and included silver and pewter tea sets, jewellery, inkwells, boxes, gravestones, watercolours, graphic designs, calligraphy, a house design, fonts and even bank cheques.

Suffice to say, we are always delighted to see any item relating to Knox or Liberty. They are highly sought after at auction and deservedly so. The Liberty clock has an estimate of £2,000-£3,000 but could reach £5,000.

Still on the Liberty theme, a reproduction Liberty art nouveau brooch with pearl droplets also caused a stir when we posted the find on social media, such is its striking originality.And a fabulous recent find was an Archibald Knox-John Baker Bennett art nouveau enamel brooch, which is destined for our October Decorative Arts Auction. Entries are invited until September 7 for that and also for our September Fine Art and Jewellery Auction.

Kate Bliss will be at Hansons, Heage Lane, Etwall, on September 6, 10am-4pm to offer free valuations of jewellery, silver and watches. No appointment necessary. Eminent UK jewellery expert David Byrne offers free valuations every Tuesday, 9.30am-4.30pm, and our head of jewellery Helen Smith can oblige every Friday, 10am-4pm. Helen will also be at Pickford’s House, 41 Friar Gate, Derby, on Wednesday (Sept 5), 10am-noon. Plus, we offer free general valuations on Wednesdays, 5-7pm; Fridays, 10am-4pm, and Saturdays, 9am-noon. Oriental art guest consultant Lars Tharp is at Hansons today (Sept 3), 10am-4pm, but appointments must be made on01283 733988.