Thursday, 9 February 2012

Archibald Knox and the Liberty of London connection

courtesy Luis Villa del Campo via wikipedia
Ever since the Liberty shop in London opened its doors in 1875 it has been at the forefront of showcasing young designers and artists. It sells eclectic things from all over the world, but it has been and continues to be a flagship for young British craftsmanship. If you are looking for something different or a special gift when visiting London then Liberty should be your first port of call.
One of the original designers given an opportunity was Archibald Knox (1864 - 1933), and as a result of his work for them the term “Liberty Style” came into the English language.
Archibald Knox is one of my favourite designers. He was born on the Isle of Man, but was of Scottish descent. He was greatly influenced by the Celtic crosses seen on his childhood island home and hence his range for Liberty's was known as the new Celtic design.  He called his silver work Cymric and his pewter work Tudric. His designs were synonymous with British Art Nouveau and he is regarded as being a prominent influence in the Arts and Craft movement.
courtesy V&A London
Silver Cymric box set with cabouchon stones in kingfisher blue/green, often he would use enamel 
courtesy Tadema Gallery, London
Tortoiseshell hair comb with gold and enamel embellishment
courtesy Tadema Gallery, London
Gold and ruby brooch with abalone shell
courtesy Historical Design Inc. NYC
Spoon inset with his favoured blue/green enamel which enhances the silver perfectly
courtesy V&A London
Claret jug
This year our island of choice to visit will hopefully be the Isle of Man. Then we can explore the area beloved of Archibald Knox, visit the Manx Museum which holds a good collection of his work,  and see his tomb stone in the local church.

16 comments:

  1. What an interesting post and the introduction to Archibald Knox.

    As you new following I am looking forward to knowing your blog
    Helen xx
    Thank you for visiting my blog and becoming a follower. H

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    1. Dear Helen - thank you so much for your visit and for becoming a follower.
      I shall look forward to seeing more of your wonderful paintings on your blog.
      Glad you enjoyed your introduction to Archibald Knox, take care.

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    2. Hello Rosemary:
      Liberty is one of our favourite London stores, particularly for the reason you cite here which is that it is always possible to get something unusual there. It is so inspiring to see the work of young designers represented throughout the store and it is always of such high quality.

      Afternoon Tea there is also a joy!

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    3. Hello Jane and Lance - I could have guessed that you would enjoy the Liberty shop too. I love the whole ambience of the place, it is such a pleasure to visit and browse.
      Yes, Afternoon Tea there is a must. Hope things are continuing to go well for you both.

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  2. Hello Rosemary,
    The selection of pieces are beautiful.
    Your blog is very beautiful and elegant!
    a hug

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    1. Hello Antonio - you are so generous with your comments - thank you. I am pleased that you enjoyed the pieces I showed, Archibald Knox was a great designer.

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  3. Rosemary, The Liberty building is a lovely Tudor one. My daughter loves Tudor houses. Thanks for sharing this gorgeous art. I have heard of Liberty of London before but this was new information to me. olive

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    1. Dear Olive - I am pleased that you like the building. It is not a genuine Tudor one but an Arts and Crafts turn of the 20th century take on a Tudor building. However, it is a beautiful shop with the most magnificent interior and well worth a visit if ever you venture to London.

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  4. What a beautiful building. I can see that it is a must to visit Liberty's..
    You always write such lovely interesting blogs Rosemary.
    As for choosing one of Knox's exquisite designs..well..i would have to tell you.. i would want them all. Simply elegant.
    thank you Rosemary.. i like this blog.
    val

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    1. Dear Val - your very kind comments have given me a happy feeling on which to start off the day. Thank you very much.
      Knox's designs are very recognisable, if you see one and it is a good price, then snap it up. His prices at antique auctions are rocketing.

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  5. Gorgeous post: strange how one can trace the style through a building to a tiny trinket box. I look forward to that trip to the Isle of Man!

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    1. Hopefully this is the year we make it there Kate. Glad you enjoyed the post.

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  6. Hello, Rosemary - I agree with Val that the word for Archibald Knox's work is "exquisite." Between him, David and Corin Mellor, and George Jensen, I am starting to get a very clear image of your own refined taste!

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    1. Dear Mark - perhaps we give away more than we realise in our blogs! Glad you liked his work though.

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  7. love boxes Rosemary! and that silver Cimbric one is absolutely marvelous!

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    1. Dear Demie - I could happily give the silver box a home with me, I love it too.

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