Liberty & Co firescreen
A copper firescreen attributed to Liberty & Co and possibly made by the Fivemiletown Class in Ireland, circa 1900.
When I first bought this repousse copper firescreen I was pretty sure it had been made by the Fivemiletown Class from County Tyrone in Ireland. The design is almost certainly by John Williams who worked with the class in the late 1890 and early 1900s along with his sister, Mary. A very similar design by John Williams can be found in an archive of designs that he produced for the Newton School from Cambridge. .Williams used the same motifs in the designs he produced for both the Fivemileton Class and the Newton School but, from the research I have completed to date, he never gave exactly the same design to both organisations. This makes sense when you think that they would have been exhibiting alongside each other at the Home Arts and Industries Exhibitions each year.
The design of the feet on the firescreen is quite distinctive and I have only ever seen it used on Fivemiletown Class firescreens.
However, I also suspect that this firescreen was made to be retailed via Liberty & Co of London. A firescreen illustrated in their 1901 Yuletide Gifts catalogue shows a firescreen of very similar construction.
It’s thought by some that John Pearson may have produced pieces for Liberty & Co so I can only assume that his fellow ex-Guild of Handicraft member, John Williams, was also involved in some way with Liberty & Co.
Dimensions: 24″ wide and 27″ high
Condition: Good. Recently polished. Frame has a little movement to it and the bottom bar sits just proud of the screen at the edges