Liberty 1920s staircases, panelled entrance hall and column casings
£ 40,000 plus VAT
Liberty is selling a single collection of historic woodwork from its original Liberty & Co c1925 store, now known as Liberty House on Regent Street, London. The sale is a single lot comprising two grand staircases and a grand entrance hall. The staircases contain a total of six flights across three storeys, with handrail over moulded panels and skirtings. The entrance hall is a panelled room with several doors and doorcases, panelled column casings, panelled ceilings, skirting, architrave, dado and cornice. The following descriptions were compiled by Salvo Ltd on behalf of Liberty.
See some of the elements on 4th floor in Liberty's London store until 2 August 2023.
The timber used is believed to be mahogany, oak, some softwood supports and French walnut. The substructure includes several large newel posts, curved heavy side strings, and the stair flights with integral bearers. There are curved double curtail steps at the the base of the two matching lower flights. There are some separate treads and risers believed to connect the curtail steps to the flight above. Before the construction of the Liberty Tudor building, Arthur Lasenby Liberty was known to have purchased the dismantled hulks of two old Royal Navy ships, HMS Impregnable and HMS Hindustan, both built at Chatham in the 19th century, of which 24,000 cubic feet of reclaimed oak and teak were reused in Liberty's famed Tudor building, adjacent to Liberty House. The Tudor building and Liberty House were built at the same time in the early 1920s. There is no evidence that the woodwork offered here is old ships timbers but there exists a possibility that some of the oak was reclaimed from the old ships.
The elements removed from the basement, ground floor and first floor showrooms of the building broadly comprise of:
- a grand double staircase which connected the basement showrooms to the ground floor grand entrance hall;
- a grand panelled columned entrance hall and showroom;
- a grand dogleg staircase which connected ground and first floors.
The grand double staircase connected the basement showrooms to the ground floor grand entrance hall. Approximate dimensions of the staircase elements:
- overall rise approx 3.0m;
- lower double staircase width approx 1.2m, overall length approx 7.5m;
- upper central flight width approx 2.8m, length approx 4.0m.
The grand panelled columned entrance hall and showroom on the ground floor includes panelling, doors, doorways, lift door casings, brass grills, and several column cases and pilasters in stylised Louis XV bombé curved marquetry quartered book-matched walnut veneer. The ceiling was partially panelled, possibly around the perimeter and around some structural beams. Also included are large internal entrance frames, and doors or door cases removed from either the ground, basement or first floor. The approximate dimensions of the entrance hall elements - please note that some dimensions were missing and have been deduced from drawings - do not rely on the dimensions given:
- approx overall floor to ceiling height 2.9m
- approx height of column cases and pilasters 2.75m
- approx thickness of ceiling cornice/panels 0.15m
- approx overall length of the entrance hall 10.6m
- approx overall width of entrance hall 8.9m
The grand dogleg staircase connected the ground and first floors and formed a right-angled ‘L’ shape in plan with three flights of stairs and two quarter landings. Each flight and landing had moulded panels below the handrails. The lower flight was the short leg of the ‘L’ and incorporated column casings and pilasters (described above). The upper flights are the longer leg of the ‘L’ and had moulded panels below the handrail and moulded panels around the stairwell to the floor above. There were two quarter landings, one at the angle of the ‘L’ and one midway up the upper flights.
Approximate dimensions - please note that some dimensions were missing and have been deduced from drawings:
- overall rise approx 2.9m
- overall width of the flights approx 1.2m
- lower staircase including columns and quarter landing length approx 4.0m
- upper staircase length including landings approx 5.4m
The staircases carry the Truly Reclaimed label, started by Salvo, to share the provenance and positive carbon consequence of choosing authentic reclaimed materials. Discover more - https://trulyreclaimed.org/liberty-heritage-staircases/
The woodwork is currently in a secure store 30 minutes from London Gatwick Airport. In total there are approximately 400 packages, currently in 28 crates. Overall there may be a thousand individual pieces. Salvo estimated the net mass to be more than 13 tonnes with a net volume of more than 8m3 of timber. The woodwork will need four 18 tonne 40m3 curtain-sided trucks to transport. The goods are offered for sale as found, in crates and packages covered with wrappings and fleeces which were used to protect the contents for the past 25 years. Most of the package wrappings have codes, for example ‘EK13-14’, that were hand-written with marker pens in the late 1990s or early 2000s, at the time of dismantling, and relate to codes written on drawings and on lists of package contents. It is believed that all the elements are present. Missing, damaged or unidentifiable pieces will not be identified until the entire goods have been unpackaged and assembled.
Buyer's information pack
The buyer's information pack is available for on request to buyers who make a provisional offer. The pack includes survey drawings and photos. The scanned digital copies are of survey drawings undertaken by Liberty’s contractors in the late 1990s prior to dismantling. The drawings were annotated, and the elements were packaged and marked with reference codes which related to the annotations. Potential buyers who make a provisional offer, pending a viewing of the goods, will be invited to arrange a viewing of the goods in a secure storage unit near London Gatwick Airport during normal working hours.
During viewings the wrappings cannot all simply be entirely removed because:
- the more the protective wrappings remains intact, the better protected the Goods will be during the move from their present storage;
- the eventual buyer will want the wrappings to be as intact as possible so that handwritten identification markings remain in place.
Salvo staff and/or Liberty workers will be in attendance during viewing and will make all reasonable efforts to allow potential buyers to remove areas of wrapping to view elements. Some of the flatter elements are leaning, maximum 4 deep, against walls. Moving and replacing these to access those underneath will be carried out by Liberty workers on request. Some the elements are in open lightweight crates stacked two or three high, accessible on all sides. It may be possible to remove areas of wrappings to reveal the contents. It is less likely that it will be possible to open individual crates or move crates into a location where they can be more easily opened to allow inspection of the contents.
Provisional offer to buy.
The price of £40,000 is a guide price. All serious offers to buy are welcome, but only the highest and strongest offers will be invited to view the goods.
The goods cannot be sold to buyers in countries where UN sanctions apply.
Please email your provisional offer, in confidence, to [email protected]
Include your name, address, mobile phone number, and email address.
The offer should be the maximum figure you are prepared to pay for the Goods as described.
Liberty will invoice the winning buyer for the full amount of their bid, plus VAT at 20%. A deposit payment of 10% will be due within 3 days of receiving the seller’s invoice. Failure to pay may result in the Goods being offered to, and purchased by an alternative buyer.
Buyers acting on behalf of another party will be required to provide a valid letter of authority from that party authorising the offer on their behalf. If the buyer is acting on behalf of a company a letter of authority from a director will be required.
Liberty reserves the right to withdraw the Goods from the buying process in the event that a suitable buyer is not found or the offers made are not deemed of a high enough value or quality. On receipt of cleared funds, arrangements shall be made with Liberty for the collection or delivery of the Goods.
Storage charges of £1,800.00 +vat per month will be payable to Liberty by the winning Buyer.
Liberty will arrange a quotation for UK shipping on request.
Guidance: Antiques Trade Gazette: Export Licences for antiques above a certain value https://www.antiquestradegazette.com/guides/information-guides/export- licences/
Guidance: UK government: Export art, antiques and cultural goods: special rules - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/export-art-antiques-and-cultural-goods-special- rules Guidance: UK government: Wood packaging material for import and export - https://www.gov.uk/guidance/import-or-export-wood-packaging-material
Wikipedia: Liberty & Co, London - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ Liberty_(department_store)