By Paladian

Liberty & Co

This beautiful Arts & Crafts chair was retailed by Liberty & Co of London between 1886 and 1901.  How it got to South Australia is a bit of a mystery, but it's likely to have been imported by a very rich family called the Barr-Smiths.

Adelaide holds the biggest collection of William Morris outside of the UK.  

Apparently the V & A has one of these chairs, and this is the information taken from their website.
This armchair was designed by E.G. Punnett. It was made in 1901 by the furniture-manufacturing firm of William Birch Limited in High Wycombe, Buckinghamshire. E.G. Punnett’s name appears more than ten times in one of Birch’s cost and design books in October to November 1901. However, it is not clear whether Punnett designed the objects his name appears by or whether he simply estimated how much they would cost to make. Birch also supplied furniture to Liberty's and several of their pieces bear Punnett's signature.

This chair is an interesting example of the way in which Arts and Crafts ideas about design filtered through to commercially produced objects. Like much Arts and Crafts furniture the chair is made of oak to a sturdy, solid-looking design. It incorporates traditional craft techniques in its use of rushing on the seat and back panels but combines this with an inlaid floral motif in ebony, the design of which shows some influence of the emerging Art Nouveau taste.

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