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Photo credit: Herbert F. Johnson Museum of Art, Cornell University

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Title: Pair of candlesticks with double candle cups
Date: ca. 1900
Medium: Pewter
Dimensions: 11 x 9 inches (27.9 x 22.9 cm)
Credit Line: Gift of Isabel and William Berley, Classes of 1947 and 1945
Object Number: 99.078.122 a,b
This is a pair of pewter candlesticks designed by Archibald Knox.

These candlesticks were made in London, England.

Archibald Knox (1864-1933) designed these candlesticks for Liberty and Company. Knox was trained at the Douglas School of Art on the Isle of Man from 1878 to 1884 before moving to London in 1897. There he worked for the Silver Studio and taught at Redhill and Kingston Art Schools. His association with Arthur Lasenby Liberty, founder of Liberty and Company, began in 1901 when he designed a collection of silver and jewelry for the company. Knox became Liberty’s most outstanding creative artist, designing over 400 carpet, fabric, and metalwork designs between 1904 and 1912. He resigned from his teaching position at Kingston College of Art in 1912 and formed the Knox Guild of Craft and Design, which held very successful annual exhibits from 1913 until World War II began in 1939.

Liberty and Company was founded by Arthur Lasenby Liberty (1843-1935) on Regent Street in London in 1875. It provided clients with ornaments, fabrics, and decorative art objects from Japan and the Far East. In 1884, under the directorship of E.W. Godwin, the firm opened a costume department and in the 1890s Liberty became associated with some of England’s leading designers and key figures in the Arts and Crafts and Art Nouveau movements, such as Archibald Knox. The business was an immediate success and the firm became synonymous with luxury and great design.

Pewter is a metal alloy that primarily contains tin, as well as smaller amounts of metals such as antimony and copper. These candlesticks were probably cast from molten pewter, the most common method of working with the metal.

These candlesticks are a good example of Knox’s “Cymric” style. Cymric style silver has a handmade appearance and incorporated elements of Celtic style and Art Nouveau. You can see this influence by looking at the decoration of stylized ivy and vine that covers the sides and the crossbar of the candlesticks. The exterior of the candle cups are also decorated with stylized ivy leaves. The base is rectangular in shape with rounded corners and features openwork decoration of the same ivy leaf pattern along the longest edges.

To see other objects by Archibald Knox in the Johnson Museum’s collection, search for object numbers 99.078.113 a-e, 99.078.114, 99.078.115, 99.078.116, 99.078.117, 99.078.141, and 2015.018.012 in the keyword search box.

NOTE: This electronic record is compiled from historic documentation which may not reflect the Johnson Museum's complete or current knowledge of the object. Review and refinement of such records is ongoing.