Lot 162
  • 162

ARCHIBALD KNOX | A Rare "Magnus" Cymric Clock, Model No. 5024

Estimate
35,000 - 45,000 USD
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Description

  • Archibald Knox
  • A Rare "Magnus" Cymric Clock, Model No. 5024
  • impressed L&Co/CYMRIC/5021 with Birmingham Assay Office marksfaceplate with Latin TEMPUS FUGIT (Time Flies)
  • sterling silver, enamel, brass, clear glass faceplate
  • 6 1/8  x 3 1/2  x 2 5/8  in. (15.7 x 8.9 x 6.6 cm)
  • 1903

Literature

Liberty Silver Sketch Book, Westminster City Archives, London, n.d., p. 196, no. 5024
Victor Arwas, Liberty Style, Tokyo, 1983, cover image and p. 138, no. S-107
Barbara Morris, Liberty Design: 1874-1914, London, 1989, p. 83
Stephen Martin, Archibald Knox, London, 1995, pp. 87 and 137 (for an 1899 sketch of the model)
Victor Arwas, Art Nouveau from Mackintosh to Liberty: The Birth of a Style, London, 2000, pp. 2 and 97
Michael Jeffery, Arts and Crafts Style, New York, 2001, cover and p. 152
Stephen Martin, Archibald Knox, London, 2001, pp. 177 and 234
Archibald Knox: Beauty and Modernity, a Designer Ahead of His Time, exh. cat., The Archibald Knox Society, London, 2014, p. 14, no. 7 (for an example executed in only green enamel)

Condition

Overall in very good condition. The silver surfaces with very fine minor scratches and oxidation consistent with age and gentle handling. When viewed in person, the blue and green tones on the dial are slightly lighter and brighter in tone and colour. The floral enamel detailing with saturated and rich chromatic tones. The hinged handle sits at a slight angle as visible in the catalogue illustration. The glass face cover appears to be original and presents with a few very minor nicks near the bottom of the faceted edge and are not visually disruptive. Functionality of the movement is not guaranteed and it could need service at the buyer's discretion. An extremely rare exquisite example of Knox's early designs with delicately rendered detailing.
In response to your inquiry, we are pleased to provide you with a general report of the condition of the property described above. Since we are not professional conservators or restorers, we urge you to consult with a restorer or conservator of your choice who will be better able to provide a detailed, professional report. Prospective buyers should inspect each lot to satisfy themselves as to condition and must understand that any statement made by Sotheby's is merely a subjective qualified opinion.
NOTWITHSTANDING THIS REPORT OR ANY DISCUSSIONS CONCERNING CONDITION OF A LOT, ALL LOTS ARE OFFERED AND SOLD "AS IS" IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE CONDITIONS OF SALE PRINTED IN THE CATALOGUE.

Catalogue Note

One of Archibald Knox’s earliest and most accomplished silver clock designs for Liberty & Co, "The Magnus" is named for a legendary medieval king of the Isle of Man, Magnus Olaffsson.  Dating from around 1898-1899, Knox’s original drawing for this clock, complete with its name, can be found in the archives of The Silver Studio at the Museum of Domestic Design and Architecture in London.  "The Magnus" is a transitional design in which Knox retains the exoticism of Japonisme that characterized the Aesthetic Movement and joined it with Art Nouveau elements.  This can be seen in the delicate shape of the clock, with flaring top and bottom not unlike traditional Japanese architecture, and in the handle that is unmistakably inspired by the Japanese torii gate, the grand entrance to Shinto shrines.  The chased design on this clock however, is where Knox demonstrates an Art Nouveau sensibility; the suspended plant forms capped by small buds of richly colored enamel and delineated areas on the front of the clock fall squarely in the naturalistic and highly linear traditions so typical of the period.  It is a masterpiece of understated beauty and elegance.

DR. STEPHEN A. MARTIN
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