- John Mawer
(b Chesham, Bucks, Aug 13, 1843; d The Lee, Bucks, May 11, 1917).
English merchant. In 1862 he joined Farmer & Rogers’s Oriental Warehouse in Regent Street, London. In 1875 he left to set up on his own and on 15 May 1875 he opened his first shop, East India House, at 218A Regent Street, London, which was an immediate success. His imported coloured Eastern silks were an important element in the Aesthetic Movement and their weaves and dyes were later produced for him in ‘Liberty colours’ by English textile converters. He imported a wide range of furnishings from Japan and the Far East, soon supplemented by the products of the Arts and Crafts Movement. In 1884 he opened a dress department managed by E. W. Godwin, a crusader for dress reform, and Liberty gowns soon became high fashion (see fig.). The Paris branch, set up in 1890, helped to introduce the English version of the Art Nouveau style to the Continent. Liberty’s became a public company in ...