Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Gift of the Brooklyn Museum, 2009; Gift of Amelia Beard Hollenback, 1966
Not on view
Liberty & Co. began in London in 1875 as a purveyor of goods from Japan and the Far East. The store expanded its range to include household goods and textiles. Arthur Lasenby Liberty (1843-1917), the store's founder, was an advocate of affordable, distinctive design and a strong proponent for artists of the Aesthetic Movement and, later, those of the Art Nouveau. In 1884, Liberty opened a costume department headed by Edward William Godwin (1833-86), an architect and kindred spirit. The Liberty workrooms created garments that defied Paris fashion, inspired instead by artistic movements, dress reform, and non-Western costume. This stole, most likely produced in those workrooms, was owned by Amelia Beard Hollenback (1844-1918), the wife of prominent financier and philanthropist John Welles Hollenback (1835-1923). The Hollenback family were avid travelers, making trips throughout Europe and the United States. The stole, a fine example of Art Noveau design, with which Liberty & Co. was synonymous, was most likely purchased between 1900 and 1910.