Archibald Knox, 1864-1933

A. Knox Born 9th April 1864 at Cronkbourne Village, Tromode (the small 'model' village constructed as part of the Moore's Sail Cloth Works). Son of William Knox a master machine maker from Kilbernia Ayr. Educated Douglas Grammar School and Douglas School of Art. Main interest was in Celtic design - his work for Liberty's is that for which he most widely known, although on the Island it is his watercolours and his graphic designs (and lettering) by which he is best known. See for example his work in Mannin for Sophie Morrison (analogous to Nicholson's work for Moore's Manx Note Book 30 years earlier).
In 1897 went to teach at Redhill (Surrey) School of Art where his friend A.J.Collister (another Manxman) was head, followed him to Kingston School of Art in Jan 1899, briefly returning to Island 1900-1904. He returned to Kingston, also taking evening classes at Wimbledon Art School 1906/7 again following his friend A.J.Collister. He left Kingston following criticism by South Kensington Examiners in 1911, a number of pupils formed the Knox Guild of Craft and Design to support his way of teaching (apparently at about this time he broke up with Collister). After an unsuccessful attempt to find work in the USA, he returned to the Island (where for part of WW1 acted as a censor of Internees' letters) and in 1920 returned to teaching art at a number of schools on the Island. Died from sudden heart failure 22 Feb 1933 and buried in Braddan Cemetry.

W Knox

An early example of his style can be seen in the advertisement (IoM Examiner Annual 1909 - originally for Mercantile Manxland, 1900) done for his father and brother's firm.

(The date 1849 could apply to the company premises - W Knox came to the Island with two children c.1857).


An example of his lettering can be seen in the cover to the 1926 Education week handbook.

Another example is the heading for 1921 Celtic Congress

A Knox 'Celtic Congress, 1921'



An appreciation of his teaching style can be found in Winifred Tuckfield's article Archibald Knox in Mannin vol 7 pp381/384 1916
A.J. Tilbrook, ed by Gordon HouseThe Designs of Archibald Knox for Liberty & Co London: Ornament Press 1976; 2ed Somerset: Richard Dennis (ISBN 0-903685-37-X) 1995
Ingram et al, Art of Mann Surby:Moods of Mann (ISBN 0-9524304-3-6) 1996
S Martin Archibald Knox London: Artmedia (ISBN 1-902889-02-9) 2001

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Any comments, errors or omissions gratefully received The Editor
© F.Coakley , 1999