AN exhibition and sale of a stunning collection of works by Archibald Knox takes place this Friday and Saturday (February 22, 23).
Pictures by Eva Savoltova
February 22 marks the 80th anniversary of the death of the internationally acclaimed Manx artist and designer, who was born in 1864 in Cronkbourne, and whose name is synonomous with art nouveau designs in silver, pewter and enamels.
But he is also known in the Isle of Man as a watercolourist and graphic designer.
Chris Hobdell is exhibiting his collection of works by Knox at Braddan Church hall on Friday, 4pm to 8pm, and Saturday, 10am to 4pm.
Admission is £2, to go towards church funds, and includes coffee/tea and biscuits.
Many items will be available to buy, including silverwear, pewter and ceramics, such as silver and enamel brooches, a matching pair of polished bomb vases, one polished and one unpolished biscuit box with perfect enamels, a rare planter (jardiniere) in glazed brown, made by Carter and Co. (forerunners of Poole pottery), complete with their stamp and also stamped with Made for Liberty & Co, and a set of six Cymric Sarepta spoons in a perfect Liberty’s wooden box dated 1903 and with the rare Liberty Hallmark L C & C Ld, which is the same as ones to be found in the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.
All exhinits will be labelled and a price given, as well as details as to where potential buyers can find the item referenced in Dr Stephen Martin’s authoritative book on Knox. Prices asked for items will range from £200 to £10,000.
Mr Hobdell moved to the island about 25 years ago, but only started collecting Knox around eight years ago.
He admitted that at first he thought that owning any Knox work was out of his price range and many people still hold such an opinion today.
However, he has found that for several hundred pounds one can own an example of this gifted man’s work.
‘I have found since starting a collection, it almost feeds off itself because Knox created so many beautiful things,’ said Mr Hobdell, who has previously exhibited some of his collection at the Royal Shows and on these occasions encouraged people to pick the items up and handle them, which ‘thrilled’ people.
But having enjoyed building his portfolio of Knox he is ready to part with his collection as he will be spending more time in India after his retirement.
‘If other people would like to enjoy them, I’m offering them for sale,’ he said.
However, he encourages those who aren’t looking to buy to come and see the exhibition anyway, adding: ‘If you’re not thinking of buying, just enjoy and be inspired by what this man did. I think the Isle of Man should do much more to promote Knox. This man was just God-sent – the imagination he had to come up with his designs was just fantastic.’
Related article and video documentary: Archibald Knox - modern-day Manannan
• Liam O’Neill, chairman and founder of the Archibald Knox Society, has organised for a group to visit Knox’s grave at 3.30pm tomorrow (Friday)at New Braddan Graveyard in commemoration of the 80th anniversary of the artist’s death. Members of the public are invited to attend.
Mr O’Neill is saddened that there is no gallery dedicated to Archibald Knox, explaining that in 1916 Winifred Tuckfield, a London student of Archibald Knox, wrote an article in the Mannin publication on the genius that was Knox. ‘She said: “As T. E. Brown has given the poetry of your people so has Mr Knox given in watercolours the poetry of your skies, shores and buildings, painted your boats, trees and bridges, flecked with sunlight and shade as no other man has painted them. If you build a gallery for his work in the centre of your Isle, future generations would bless your name”.’
For more about Archibald Knox visit the website www.archibaldknoxsociety.com or see the Archibald Knox Society Facebook page.
Pictures by Eva Savoltova