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Livery/Hunting buttons

These 19th century buttons have intriguing designs, rooted in the histories of the noble families of Great Britain

The word livery comes from the French livree meaning to liberate or bestow. It was used to describe giving to retainers, who provided domestic service to the nobles and aristocrats. It came to mean the suit of clothes worn by menservants in the colors of the master who provides it and for whom they work. So from the stable boy through the page boys, each would wear his master's livery. The master wouldn't wear the livery, but he might have cufflinks or a ring using the same symbol.
Many of the crest used on livery buttons descended from the crest which knights wore on top of their helmets. It enabled friend and foe to recognize each other in battle.
Identifying livery buttons can be difficult and almost impossible. When matching buttons with pictures, everything must be exact. Often the crest is shared by many families.

 

Anchor

     

G. Coles

'BE FIRM'

1895

Pitt & Co Maddox St London

     

Bird

    Tauton  
  Hayinanson    
Lord Truro      
       
       
       
Bird - Pheonix      
   

Brown family Livery button

Unknown maker

Oldham Lombard St London

Brown family Livery button

Unknown maker

Oldham Lombard St London

      Thornhill Esq (Derby)
       
 
Boar

Thin (Scotland)

     
Bull
     

Castle or Tower

     
Cherub
     
Cockerel
Crown

Dog

       
       
       
   
       

Dragons and Wyverns

Griffen on Duke's crown(c)

Person of noble nature, strength, bravery, and alertness; or one who is high-spirited, ingenious, quick-witted, and judicious; "True magnanimity and strength of mind" acc. to Guillim.
If wings "displayed," it signifies protection

Jackson Ribby

Gracechurch Street London

  Colty
       
       

Elephant

 

   
Evens      

Fish

 
       

Fox or Wolf

       
       
       
 
       

Griffin

1806 - 1824
R Bushby
St Martins Lane
 

Livery button

1871-1873
Reynolds & Co
50 St Martins Lane London

1856-1860 Livery button

'FORTITER IN BE'

FIRMIN & SONS 153 Strand & 13 Conduit St

       
   

Hand

       
       

Unlisted manufacturer

B.Warwick - Regents Street

     
   
       

Hare

 
       

Harp or Lyre

   
Hendell      

Horn

     
Hunter(Scotland).      

Horse

       
       
       
     
       

Human figures

       
       
 

1876-1894

Honour; if the head of a "blackamoor" or Moor, refers to deeds of prowess in the Crusades

Livery button

Firmin & Sons Ld
153 Strand London

   
 
   

Keys

 

Lion

BM 1875
Firmin & Sons
153 Strand London
     
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
       
   

Monograms and initials

       
       
       
   
'Excelsidi' button

'In Deo Spes'

In God is my hope

1876-1894
Firmin & Sons Ld
153 Strand London

     

Owl

     
       

Ram or Lamb

 
Legg      

Shell

     
Mullholland. Andrew Esq of Spring Vale, Co Down      
       

Stag - deer

Peat Peat Peat  
       
       
Peat      

Livery button with unlisted manufacturer

Oakshette & Co

15 Mill St

Conduit St London

(same street as Firmin & Sons)

 

 

Shield and crest

Abercrombie      
       
       
 
       
       
Trees
 
       
Unicorn
 

Weapon bow and arrow

    Elwes, Suffolk
Faldo, Bedfordshire
   
       

Wings