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Give Me Liberty

~Give Me Liberty~
 "Blue and green should not be seen without a colour in between". Remember this old saying that guided color choices for the discriminating lady or gentleman? Well I think of it, since my mother used to quote it to me now and again, every time I look at some of my most favored buttons. I never could quite understand the reason it should be so discordant. Certainly, the colors are found together everywhere in nature. Peacocks, for instance. I actually seem to be attracted to the combination and hence it has affected my button collecting. Irresistible to me, are the enamel buttons with these two colors. So much so that the very first button I spent "big money" on was a Liberty and Co, Sterling, hallmarked, absolutely gorgeous enamel button with a baroque pearl in the center.

The Arts and Crafts movement of 1861 through 1925 was a revolt against everything Victorian. The overdone, the cluttered and the ornate. Simplicity of lines and use of materials that were common and inexpensive like silver, copper, and brass were utilized by the artisans. Motifs came from medieval Celtic designs and from nature, peacock feathers, flowers and leaves. Proponents of the movement wanted to create art at prices the working class could afford.

Archibald Knox was instrumental in Liberty design and through the Silver Studio, Liberty engaged in his help to design two ranges of Liberty metalwork. "Cymric", the silver range, was launched first in 1899. Some of the most beautiful sterling silver jewelry and buttons were in this line. Of primary interest are pewter and silver objects with strategically placed areas of colored enamels in blue, green, orange, violet and red and semi-precious stones. Including buttons. They are beautiful objects that elicit intense desire on the part of the collector.

The back of a Liberty button is easy to identify. It carries the logo, "L & C" in diamond shapes, hallmarks and a soldered shank that looks like a humped up inchworm. The Cymric buttons will be marked Cymric as well. Usually the buttons were sold in boxed sets of six.

As desirable as these buttons are, I fear I may never have a varied collection of them. Amazingly, even though the artistes who created these gems of buttons, meant them to be available to "the common man", they have reached such a desirability that the buttons are often beyond touch.

But I will never cease to be drawn to the blue and green of Liberty.


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