Celtic Style Exhibition Celebrates 150th Anniversary of the Birth of Archibald Knox

– Posted on Friday 4th April 2014

Manx National Heritage is pleased to announce the opening of its latest exhibition ‘Celtic Style’, at the House of Manannan, Peel, opening Saturday 5 April 2014.

Sponsored by Lloyds Bank, ‘Celtic Style’ is being staged in 2014 as part of the Island’s Year of Culture and commemorates the 150th anniversary of the birth of Archibald Knox, the internationally renowned Manx artist and designer for Liberty & Co. The exhibition will explore the historical influences and shared Celtic heritage that inspired both Knox and his Scottish and Irish contemporaries in the early years of the 20th century.

Knox was a leading exponent of the ‘British Celtic Revival’ design style and his metalwork designs for Liberty & Co. with their distinctive interlace patterns, are seen as iconic examples of early 20th century design. Less well-known outside of the Isle of Man are his graphic designs and illuminated manuscripts which he produced using the same intricate interlace. The roots to Knox’s designs can be found in his fascination with the carved Norse and Celtic stone crosses that had surrounded him from childhood on the Isle of Man.

2014 will also see the centenary of the beginning of the First World War and it is appropriate that the exhibition will include reference to Knox’s time as a parcel censor at the Knockaloe Civilian Internment Camp. During this time, he worked on what is considered to be one of his most important (and personal) pieces of work, the illustrated hymn, The Deer’s Cry (or St Patrick’s Breastplate), which will be a centrepiece of the ‘Celtic Style’ exhibition.

Alongside Knox’s work will be beautifully crafted pieces by artists from across the Celtic nations, including that of his Scottish and Irish contemporaries influenced by their Celtic heritage of carved crosses and illuminated manuscripts, such as the great Book of Kells.

The House of Manannan Gallery will be filled with a variety of objects and artwork which reflect how ‘Celtic Style’ has evolved and developed over 2,000 years. The exhibition will show how the timeless and iconic designs have inspired generations of artists and designers and still have the power to inspire and enthral us in the 21st century.

Yvonne Cresswell, Curator of Social History said;

“The ‘Celtic Style’ exhibition contains artwork and objects made using the finest and most delicate of designs and the most precious of materials through to the most basic and hand-hewn of designs and materials. But they all share the same origins and influences to create beautiful and timeless designs. The ‘Celtic Revival’ of the early 20th century provided a ‘space’ where traditional Arts & Crafts designers met the new designers of modern industrial 20th century art and design and where Antiquarians who studied the ancients carved crosses met Nationalists creating designs for new Celtic cultural and political identities. The ‘Celtic Style’ provided a meeting place for the old and the new in the 1900s and still has the ability to link the past to the present and on into the future in the 21st century.”

 Peter Reid, Island Director of Lloyds Bank said;

“Lloyds Bank is delighted to sponsor this fantastic exhibition which showcases one of the Island’s most famous artists. As one of the longest standing Banks on the Island, heritage is a key consideration in our community programme of support.”

In parallel to the exhibition Manx National Heritage has undertaken a major digitisation project of the work of Archibald Knox. His exquisite collection of paintings, drawings, graphic designs and metalwork will now be available to an online audience so that the achievements of this gifted artist can be enjoyed on a world-wide scale. These innovative and intricately designed objects are now presented as a series of beautiful digital images with a catalogue optimising online searching. Knox Online is available to view at iMuseum (www.imuseum.im).

Alongside the exhibition, Isle of Man Stamps and Coins have launched a set of ten beautifully illustrated stamps featuring images from Archibald Knox’s illustrated manuscript the Deer’s Cry.  The stamp collection is available at Post Offices throughout the Island from Friday 4 April.

Maxine Cannon, General Manager of Isle of Man Stamps and Coins said;

“We are delighted to be part of the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of the birth of internationally renowned, Manx artist, Archibald Knox and pleased to present our set of ten stamps that launched on the premiere day of the Celtic Style event at the House of Manannan in Peel.

The stamps feature Knox’s masterpiece, the Deer’s Cry, one of his most personal pieces of work, an item that will also star as the centrepiece in the Celtic Style exhibition. It has been a pleasure working on this project and in collaboration with Manx National Heritage and sponsors Lloyds Bank to celebrate such a momentous occasion.”

The exhibition is on display at the House of Manannan, Peel, until 8 February 2015. Admission is free.

ENDS

For further information, please contact:
Jade Foster, Marketing Executive, Manx National Heritage
e: Jade.Foster@mnh.gov.im
t: +44 (0) 1624 648000

Image Caption: Silver flagon designed by Archibald Knox

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