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Liberty Prints: A Brief History


aout-7Liberty London Flagship Store (Credit:


Liberty London – we’ve all heard the name & we all love the brand. Think quintessential Britain & quintessential quirkiness. As one of the best-known department stores in the UK, Liberty London offers a diverse range of products, but one of their staple products & absolute best sellers are their fabrics – specifically their Tana Lawn cotton. Not surprising, then, is that the founder of Liberty London has his roots in fabric.


Floral Thyme Cotton Tana Lawn


Arthur Liberty began his career as an apprentice for a draper. He then took on a job at Farmer & Roger’s Great Shawl and Cloak Emporium – a position that set him on course of his life’s work. After ten years of work there, learning about textiles & other arts, he decided to branch out and open his own business in 1875, named ‘East India House’ where he solely sold Oriental imports – namely rugs, decorative objects and…fabrics!

Arthur_Lasenby_Liberty00Arthur Liberty (1843 - 1917)

After a few years, East India House grew & demand for their gorgeous fabrics became stronger. It was then that Liberty made the decision to import undyed fabrics and have them handprinted in England in the style of Oriental fabrics. At this point, Liberty started marketing their fabrics as ‘Made in England’ and their growth as a British brand began.

Untitled-1A selection of Liberty Print Tana Lawn Cottons

In the 1920s, Liberty began to produce miniature floral, paisley & abstract prints that became known as ‘Liberty Prints’ and the rest, as far as we are concerned, is history! Liberty Prints are an absolute best seller in our online collection with over 150 prints to choose from available in cottons, silks, and even PVC & corduroy! Despite all this choice, their Tana Lawn cotton is by far the most popular - a specific lightweight cotton that is ideal for dresses, blouses, shirts & skirts.

Fornasetti Forest Tana Lawn Fornasetti Forest Tana Lawn from the new Spring Summer 2016 Collection by Liberty Art Fabrics


At Joel & Son Fabrics our Liberty Prints collection is constantly updated with both classic & new prints. Find their latest designs as well as their hard-to-find prints all in one place.


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