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Early Archibald Knox Pendant for Liberty & Co

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Arts and Crafts Jewelry278 of 317Archibald Knox design for Liberty & Co - Gold, turquoise & pearl shell brooch Eye-Catching Murrle Bennett Arts & Crafts Pendant
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    Posted 7 years ago

    kiwipaul
    (117 items)

    This pendant is has two little tags on the back, one says: 15ct, and the other: WHH

    WHH stands for William Hair Haseler, who was in partnership with Liberty, and manufactured all their in-house silver, pewter, and jewellery.

    I initially thought this was in the style of Arthur & Georgina Gaskin, however Jewels1900's comments below cast doubt the Gaskins ever designed for Liberty.

    Recently I've been researching Liberty & Co wire-worked jewellery pieces, and was struck by the similarity between this WHH pendant and a more sophisticated wire-work necklace at Tadema Gallery, which included the reference page (292) and design number (8720) from the Liberty design sketch-books.

    In his essay, "The Jewellery Designs of Archibald Knox" Stephen A. Martin explains that in his early pieces (to 1900) "plant and floral motifs figured into Knox’s design vocabulary, in particular his signature 'stylized honesty' leaf form".

    Martin also explains just how prolific Knox was, with "over 700 jewellery designs for Liberty’s that Knox created between 1900 and 1904" ... "Archibald Knox, appears to have created nearly two-thirds of those designs marketed by this company" ... "the speed at which the various types of design must have issued from his pencil does not allow any reliable chronological ascription. It feels almost as though there was a constant stream of designs with overlapping style emerging one after the other".

    I'm now certain that this WHH 15ct pendant is an early Knox designed wire-work piece, a variation on the theme illustrated in design 8720 shown above.

    It's very likely that this variation is also recorded in the Liberty jewellery sketch-books in the Westminster City Archives. I hope to get up to London one day to check it out!

    Mystery Solved
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    Comments

    1. Peasejean55 Peasejean55, 7 years ago
      A very lovely piece, I love type of jewellery.
    2. Jewels1900 Jewels1900, 7 years ago
      Hi Paul. The Gaskins did not sell their designs. They made all their own jewellery & enamels. I'm not sure about the Gaskins, but craftsmen/women & designers like Ashbee were angry at Liberty's for copying & mass producing their designs/styles. Ashbee blamed Liberty's (as least in part) for the decline of the Guild of Handicrafts.
    3. Peasejean55 Peasejean55, 7 years ago
      Very interesting comment jewels1900.
    4. BelleEpoque BelleEpoque, 7 years ago
      WHH stands for William Hair Haseler, who manufactured a lot of designs for Liberty. I'ts a wonderful pendant.
    5. kyratango kyratango, 7 years ago
      How interesting, BelleEpoque and Jewels1900 are very documented collectors!
    6. kiwipaul kiwipaul, 7 years ago
      Hi Jewels1900 - interesting comments and I'm familiar with Ashbee's blame of Liberty & Co. for the decline & failure of the GofH.

      However I've seen several pretty reliable sources claim the Gaskins designed for Liberty. These include Lang Antiques at http://www.langantiques.com/university/index.php/Liberty_%26_Co. and also Haslam and Whiteway at http://www.haslamandwhiteway.com/viewmaker.php?id=42

      I'll keep an open mind on this one.
    7. Jewels1900 Jewels1900, 7 years ago
      Hi Paul. If you can, get a hold of the Catalogue of the 1982 Birmingham Museum Gaskin exhibition of 1982, it's a great resource. It explains the links between the Gaskins & Oliver Baker and Baker & WHH.

      The collaboration between Baker, other Vittoria Street arts & crafts designers & WHH are well documented by Baker (who was at School with the Gaskins at the time Liberty exhibited at the Arts & Crafts exhibition). But while he notes the other collaborators, he makes no mention of the Gaskins.

      Rather, he notes elsewhere that they belonged anti-'squirm' (nouveau) group.

      A number of simpler Gaskin style pendants were featured in Liberty catalogues at that time but it seems, based on Bakers records, they were most likely copies. At that time the Gaskins were established artists/craftspeople, but had only just started designing & making jewellery.

      It's interesting that the Gaskin catalogue mentions that Baker, Cuzner & Lethaby all considered the collaboration with WHH a failure and that the nouveau style of Knox was quite unpopular with them. The intrigue!
    8. kiwipaul kiwipaul, 7 years ago
      Yes would love to get hold of that 1982 Catalogue. Lots of resources and exhibitions are hard to access from New Zealand.

      Do you know of a good book that explains the links from the Birmingham Group through Birmingham Guild of Handicrafts into the Artificers' Guild etc. and the subsequent connections as individuals set up their own workshops?

      It seems to me a bit like genealogy, that there could almost be a family tree of who taught who and who worked with who.
    9. Jewels1900 Jewels1900, 7 years ago
      Hi Paul. I know what you mean about the catalogues. We also miss out on all the exhibitions. Did you see the bit of Gaskin Period_Gems posted? I saw that for sale too but didn't make the Gaskin connection. He'd been to an exhibition & seen several similar examples.

      There's nothing I know of that covers the BGoH, Artificers Guild etc, but I'll keep an eye open when I read my books & see if I come across anything useful. I like all jewels circa 1900 but hand made Arts & Crafts is really my thing.

      As far as I am aware, the best resource for the Artificers Guild is Edward Spencer's design books & archive which are in the Silversmiths & Goldsmith archive.

      I'm got a book out now which has a lot of original photos of Gaskin & other hand-made arts & crafts jewels. I'm going to have a look for any similarities to the pieces you have posted. I'll let you know.
    10. Jewels1900 Jewels1900, 7 years ago
      BTW Paul. How long have you been collecting? Do you find many treasures in NZ?
    11. kiwipaul kiwipaul, 7 years ago
      Been collecting Nouveau and A&C for 30+ years but only got interested in jewellery in last 3 years when we ran out of space for decorative items. Kick myself for not getting into jewellery sooner. I find some in NZ plus the usual on-line suspect sites.

      How about you?
    12. Jewels1900 Jewels1900, 7 years ago
      You must have a great collection Paul.

      I've been collecting arts & crafts for 20 years or so. Both objects & jewellery. But been buying jewellery more often recently because it's easier to find and you can still buy well if you know what you're looking for.

      There are some quite knowledgeable members on this forum who find all sorts of treasures.
    13. Jewels1900 Jewels1900, 7 years ago
      BTW Paul. There was an attributed piece of Artificers Guild on Trade Me not so long ago. Interesting. Did you see it?
    14. kiwipaul kiwipaul, 7 years ago
      I think that was mine - it did very well!
    15. kiwipaul kiwipaul, 7 years ago
      PS Jewels1900, which country are you in?
    16. Jewels1900 Jewels1900, 7 years ago
      Ah yes. It did do very well. I'm in Sydney.

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