‘Archibald Knox: Artist, Designer, Teacher’

– Posted on Thursday 4th October 2018

A new exhibition showcasing the work of Archibald Knox opens at the Manx Museum on Friday 12th October.

‘Archibald Knox: Artist, Designer, Teacher’ will feature an eye-catching display of Knox clocks, silverware, pewter and jewelry , some never been seen before on the Island. Curated by the Archibald Knox Forum, the exhibition will go on display in the museum’s Cabinet of Curiosities and will showcase the breadth, depth, and sheer genius of Knox’s design work between 1898 and 1911.

Chris Hobdell, Co-Founder of the Archibald Knox Forum said:

“I’m fascinated by the fact that on the Isle of Man, Knox is mainly known as a watercolour artist and teacher who did some metalwork designs but to the rest of the world Knox is known as the greatest of Liberty’s designers. I would like to bring all the different aspects of Knox’s work together so that people on the Island and around the world both know about and appreciate Knox as a great designer, artist and teacher. The Isle of Man has great potential to be known as Knox’s birthplace and an international centre for his work and designs”.

 Yvonne Cresswell, Curator for Social History at Manx National Heritage said:

“Having had the privilege of curating the Knox collection at the Manx Museum for several years, I am particularly looking forward to seeing the pieces of Knox’s work that haven’t been seen here on the Isle of Man before.  The more I see, the more fascinated I am by the sheer range and variation in his work.  I never cease to be amazed by the intricacy and beauty of his designs”.

 Yvonne continued:

“I would like to extend our thanks to Chris Hobdell, the Archibald Knox Forum and to all those who have loaned such beautiful pieces to bring this fabulous display of Knox’s work to the Isle of Man”.

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.

He was educated in Douglas and was one of the first students to attend the newly formed Douglas School of Art in 1880.  Until 1897, he taught art at Douglas Grammar School, when he left to teach at various Art Schools in and around London. During this time he began producing designs for Liberty & Co and the Silver Studio.

Knox’s innovative and intricate designs were in the vanguard of early 20th Century European art and design and through his unique interpretation the art of the Manx crosses was transformed into iconic modern design.   Over 100 years on, Knox’s work is much admired, with his silverware recently voted ‘Britain’s Favourite Antique’ by readers of British Magazine ‘Homes and Antiques’.

‘Archibald Knox: Artist, Designer, Teacher’ opens at the Manx Museum on Friday 12 October and runs until Sunday 13 January 2019.  Admission is free.

The exhibition is accompanied by an informative exhibition catalogue and supported by a range of free events – browse the event programme online at 


Kindly supported by Manx National Heritage, Year of Our Island and Culture Vannin.

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