Liberty & Co. Display, November 1885

01 Nov 1885
Event location: 

Albert Palace, Battersea Park, London


In November 1885, Arthur Lasenby Liberty, owner of Liberty & Co, a department store in London, brought forty-two villagers from India to stage a living village of Indian artisans. Liberty's specialized in Oriental goods, in particular imported Indian silks, and the aim of the display was to generate both publicity and sales for the store. However, it was a disaster commercially and publicly, with concern about the way the villagers were put on display.

Arthur Lasenby Liberty

Illustrated London News, November 1885

The Indian Mirror, January - April 1886

Secondary works: 

Mathur, Saloni, India by Design: Colonial History and Cultural Display (Berkeley: University of California Press, 2007)