Object Timeline

1917

  • Work on this object ended.

2017

2021

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Drawing, Design for Flatware

This is a Drawing. It was designed by Archibald Knox. It is dated ca. 1904–12 and we acquired it in 2017. Its medium is graphite on white wove paper. It is a part of the Drawings, Prints, and Graphic Design department.

Dating from the period during which Archibald Knox was furnishing both the Silver Studio and Liberty & Co. in London with designs for metalwork (1900-1912), this working drawing for a series of flatware (including two designs for spoons, two designs for forks, and one design for a knife) presents a significant insight into Knox’s design process and aesthetic.
Each piece of cutlery, excepting the two spoon designs, is presented from multiple viewpoints: The forks are shown from the top and side profile, while the knife is shown from top, bottom, left-profile and right-profile. To the right of each design, Knox has included a series of small cross-sections of each piece, in some cases including several sections from handle to tip, which give insight into methods of casting. These cross-sections indicate that, unlike many of the extant examples of flatware that were both designed by Knox and produced during his lifetime, these pieces were meant to incorporate complex interlace designs in the handles that, if intended to be open-work ornament as opposed to relief, would have required hand-filing after casting.
There is no indication on the drawings as to whether Knox intended to include enamel decoration on these pieces; several extant flatware sets that have been auctioned in the last ten years feature enamel decoration, though comparable drawings by Knox from the same group, now in the collection of the Victoria & Albert Museum, generally incorporate watercolor to indicate the addition of enameling or inset stones.

It is credited Museum purchase from the Members' Acquisitions Fund of Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum.

Its dimensions are

24 × 30.8 cm (9 7/16 × 12 1/8 in.)

It is inscribed

Inscribed in graphite, upper right corner: 6; in graphite, lower margin: SPOONS FORKS KNIVES

Cite this object as

Drawing, Design for Flatware; Designed by Archibald Knox (British, 1864 - 1933); graphite on white wove paper; 24 × 30.8 cm (9 7/16 × 12 1/8 in.); Museum purchase from the Members' Acquisitions Fund of Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum; 2017-16-1

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