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Marine garden dedicated to Archibald Knox

Sunday, 14 September 2014 11:35

The Council has dedicated one of the marine gardens on Douglas promenade to Archibald Knox to mark the 150th anniversary in 2014 of the birth of the Manxman who was one of the foremost figures in the British art nouveau movement.


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A granite plaque in the garden commemorating the dedication was unveiled by His Worship the Mayor Councillor Stan Cain JP at a ceremony where guests included Archibald Knox Society founder and chairman Liam O’Neill and director Andrew Bernbaum (pictured above), a distinguished Knox expert.


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In a short speech His Worship said it was ‘testimony to the excellence of the works of Archibald Knox that his legacy has stood the test of time and is recognised around the world for its beauty, detail and innovation.’ He added that it was fitting that the Council should partner with the Archibald Knox Society and demonstrate its commitment to the memory of the celebrated artist and designer by installing a plaque in the marine garden, which was believed to be close by the site of the first Douglas School of Art where Knox studied.


In his reply Mr Bernbaum said that with so many people passing through the garden the site would serve as a ‘fitting tribute to a great man’. ‘He would have loved this spot’ he said, adding that the commemoration was a culmination of celebrations for the 150th anniversary. These had seen the Council erect a blue plaque earlier this year at 70 Athol Street where Knox had lived for many years, a programme of music and tributes at St German’s Cathedral and, in June, an exhibition of silver and pewter wares at the 42nd Olympia International Art and Antiques fair in London.


Mr Bernbaum said the exhibition had attracted ‘phenomenal interest’ and been distinguished by three lectures about the designer’s life and work and he quoted from a report in the Financial Times which said that in 2014 Knox had ‘stepped out of the shadow’. He  added that the Isle of Man was helping ‘fuel the passion’ surrounding Knox, a passion that was now ‘rippling out internationally.’


Mr O’Neill paid tribute to the Council for its contributions to the legacy of Archibald Knox, notably for having created ‘a magnificent garden that will develop into something very special’.


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Foreman Dave Kelly from the Council's parks section is pictured above outlining to the Mayor plans for the Knox commemorative garden.


Steps BSC3701 MediumThe Mayor and Mr Bernbaum with, left to right Archibald Knox Society chairman Liam O'Neill and directors Geraldine O'Neill, Vivian Woolf and David Talbot