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Page last updated at 14:53 GMT, Wednesday, 27 January 2010
The Archibald Knox clock designed in Sulby on the IOM
Archibald Knox

Considered one of Liberties top designers, Archibald Knox took his inspiration from the Celtic crosses on the Isle of Man.

He designed this clock between 1902 and 1905 from a small cottage in Sulby.

It was purchased at auction from Christies by Manx National Heritage and it is now one of the most important pieces in our National Art collection.

It's not difficult to see why the clock has been chosen as one of the ten most significant objects on the Isle of Man.

Decades ahead of its time and cutting edge in its simplicity, this clock was designed with a clear intention. It was supposed to dominate a room.

Knox clock: Manx National Heritage
Knox was inspired by his great love and knowledge of the Manx crosses

It looks like a large Manx Cross and is one of a set produced by Liberty called the Great Clocks.

A large Manx Cross

Knox was a multi-talented and prolific artist, who designed everything from silver tea services and clocks to slate gravestones and grocer's bank cheques, and became a leading exponent of the British Art Nouveau movement.

Most of the inspiration for Knox's distinctive designs came from the years he spent studying Manx crosses. He grew up in one of the cottages in Cronkbourne and as a child he would have seen the carved crosses at Old Kirk Braddan.

Childhood interest to iconic design

Curator at Manx National Heritage, Yvonne Cresswell said, what started as a childhood interest grew over the years.

"Knox's final piece of work while he was training to be an art teacher was on the art and ornamentation of the Manx crosses.

Knox would have created this design while sitting in a cottage in Sulby
Curator, Yvonne Cresswell

"What's fascinating about this clock is that Knox would have created this design while sitting in a cottage in Sulby. This is a design which, when it was produced by Liberties, was decades ahead of its time. Nobody would have ever seen anything like this. Other designers from that era would almost certainly have included more ornamentation".

"It was designed between 1902 and 1905 and it is extremely simple for its time but even now, all this time later it still has the strength, power and impact that it would have had when it was created".

The Knox clock will be on display for the first time over the next few weeks at the Manx Museum in Douglas. For more information you can telephone Manx National Heritage on 01624 648000.

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