An early Liberty Cymric silver bowl attributed to Archibald Knox

Price range: Sold

For sale is this rare Liberty & Co Cymric silver bowl, hallmarked for Birmingham 1901, date letter “b”.  This is the second of these very rare bowls I have had in the Collection.

The design of this bowl is not just early in the Cymric range, it is in fact Exhibit 1, in the first Liberty Cymric catalogue published in May 1899. This bowl is named “the Ostia” and described as follows:

“With a chased rim of flowing stems and leaves, from which four handles project. These are continued to the base of the bowl and form the supports. Height 2 1/2 inches.”

Ostia was the harbour city of ancient Rome (the town still exists today as does the archaeological site of the original Roman town) and I am confident the design is by Archibald Knox. The design of this bowl is radical and modern with “ski feet” (similar to those seen on some of Knox’s Tudric work) holding wires that rise to the rim of the bowl forming delicate handles.  The neck of the bowl is decorated with art nouveau stylized leaves, very much in keeping with Knox’s other early designs.

The original design drawing for this bowl (with hand written name Ostia on the sketch) is held at the Museum of Domestic design and Architecture, Middlesex University (SD 8148). It is model 299 in the Liberty Silver Sketch book, page 28.  The design also appears in the slightly later c 1900 illustrated Cymric catalogue page 63, number 3 – see images.

I have  written about these early pieces before, notably A513 and and in my article “Origins of the Liberty Cymric range“.

Condition is excellent.  Originally, according to the 1899 Cymric catalogue, these pieces were not highly polished.  Over the years that patina has been lost.

I will include with purchase images referenced above.

Maker: Liberty & Co

Designer: Archibald Knox (attrib)

Date : 1901 (designed 1898/9)

Marks: L & Co Liberty mark, Birmingham,  “b”

Material: Sterling silver

Condition: Excellent. Polished.  Marks slightly rubbed

Size: 6.0 cm high, 14.5 cm max width

Weight : 248 grams, 8.7 oz

SKU: A1245-1 Category:


See article by myself, Anthony Bernbaum, entitled “Origins of the Liberty Cymric range”  in the Archibald Knox Society Journal 2014 Volume III, Page 26.  Liberty registered their new London marks in the final week of May 1899, one week before the London date letter changed to “d” for 1899/1900. Thereafter, all Liberty items of this period carry Birmingham marks.  Archibald Knox earliest works at this time did not yet carry his trademark modernist style or classic celtic knots. Please see additional images.

Additional information


Art nouveau, Arts and crafts