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Archibald Knox: Beauty and Modernity, a Designer Ahead of His Time.  Exhibition at Olympia

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On Saturday 7th June Craig O'Donnell, Curator at Assay Office Birmingham  had the pleasure of attending an exhibition of Liberty and Co silver and pewter items designed by the Manx born and bred artist Archibald Knox to celebrate the 150th anniversary of his birth.

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The accompanying talk written and delivered by the exhibition organiser, curator and Liberty expert Anthony Bernbaum gave a fascinating insight into this gifted and long overlooked pioneer of British Art Nouveau design. Illustrated by over 100 Liberty items (all of which would have originated in the Birmingham firm W.H. Haseler in the first decade of the twentieth century- all bar two of the silver items bearing the hallmarks of  Assay Office Birmingham). The talk as well as looking at the history of Archibald Knox the man also looked at his influences, from the landscape of the Isle of Man to the ancient Iron Age and Celtic rock carvings scattered throughout the area. The talk was concluded with an amusing section delivered by Head of the Metalwork Department at the V & A Eric Turner giving some reasons why the Victoria and Albert Museum at the time didn’t fully appreciate these designs and subsequently had to pay the far higher prices in more recent years to acquire examples.

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  The Exhibition has a fantastic accompanying catalogue which no arts and crafts library should be without, so to the Archibald Knox Society Journal number 3- both publications are available from www.archibaldknoxsociety.com/publications.html

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