Archibald Knox, (left) Design for a hand mirror

Archibald Knox, (left) Design for a hand mirror

Archibald Knox (1864-1933)
Design for a hand mirror (left)
About 1902
Pencil and watercolour
Museum no. E.327-1969

Design for a hair brush (middle)
About 1902
Pencil and watercolour
Museum no. E.328-1969

Design for a hair brush (right)
About 1902
Pencil and watercolour
Museum no. E.329-1969

The Images

These designs were among many produced by Knox for the firm of Liberty & Co. Although the mirror and brushes appear never to have been produced, they were probably intended to be made from silver as part of Liberty's 'Cymric' silverware range. The coloured areas indicate parts of the object to be enamelled, and each piece is set with a green stone at the top of the handle. The small drawing on the right shows a design for the underside of each handle.

Liberty never revealed the names of their designers. However, Knox's work is so distinctive that his hand can be seen in a large amount of their merchandise. Between 1899 and 1912 he was their most prolific and gifted designer. These designs show him at the height of his powers.

The interlaced patterns on these pieces are based on Celtic decoration, with its elaborate knotwork. Born on the Isle of Man, Knox had grown up with the Celtic heritage. His great skill was in transferring these principles of decoration to modern forms of design.

In these three designs, Knox took the interpretation of Celtic forms to its limit. The influence of the ancient forms is still very clear. However, Knox has unbound the rigid, tight weave of Celtic designs and allowed them to take on joyously fluid and extravagant forms, while losing none of their precision and intricacy.

These designs were among many produced by Knox for the firm of Liberty & Co. Although the mirror and brushes appear never to have been produced, they were probably intended to be made from silver as part of Liberty's 'Cymric' silverware range. The coloured areas indicate parts of the object to be enamelled, and each piece is set with a green stone at the top of the handle. The small drawing on the right shows a design for the underside of each handle.

 

These designs can be found in Print Room Box 2.