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Liberty Tudric clock designed by Archibald Knox

Date made: 1902-1905

Artist: Knox, Archibald

Description: A pewter clock designed by Archibald Knox for the London firm of Liberty & Co as part of their 'Tudric' range of pewter Arts & Crafts items.

Knox had a great knowledge of the art of Manx crosses and Celtic design. The combination of his designs and Liberty's position as a definer of fashionable good taste was a match made in heaven. Together they created the new European style of Stile Liberty - the byword for anything new, elegant and futuristic.

It was a style that was virtually affordable to all. Customers could choose (depending on their budget) to have everything, from the house they lived in and all its contents down to a single ornament on their mantelpiece, in the latest 'Celtic Style'. Most of it was available either from Liberty's London store or from a mail-order catalogue, for convenience.

This cruciform clock is one of a series of large pieces designed by Knox and is now known as the 'great clocks'. The overall shape and design shows the influence of the carved Manx stone crosses. It is extremely likely that this dramatic example of early 20th century design, a modern classic at the time, was designed when Knox was living in a small cottage in Sulby on the Isle of Man. Significantly the one time in his life when he was able to totally dedicate his time to design work.

These very large and elaborate metalwork pieces were only available as a one-off commission or as a very limited edition because of the expense and complexity of their manufacture. The smaller silver 'Cymric' clocks were designed with a limited amount of enamel decoration while the cheaper pewter 'Tudric' clocks tended to have extensive enamel and occasionally 'mother of pearl' decoration on them.

The terms 'Tudric' and 'Cymric' were the brand names given by Liberty to their new pewterware and silverware ranges c.1900. Both names were chosen to reflect a general sense of 'Celticness' and heritage.

'Cymric' means 'of or having to do with Wales (Cymru in Welsh), the Welsh language, or Welsh culture'. Of course Knox's designs were inspired by Manx carved crosses and not by anything specifically Welsh in origin. Whilst 'Tudric' does not appear to have any specific meaning, it is likely that it is derived from the Welsh royal house of Tudor, again giving the brand a sense of ancient Celtic identity.

Measurements: overall: 36 cm x 18 cm x 14 cm

Materials: pewter, shell

Object name: clock

Collection: Art Collection

ID number: 2008-0342

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