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Object Timeline

1917

  • Work on this object ended.

2017

  • We acquired this object.

  • You found it!

  • We photographed this object.

Drawing, Design for Fish Servers, ca. 1904–12

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.

While there is no evidence that this design for a Fish Serving Set was produced during Knox’s lifetime, in 1995 John Jesse, the collector who purchased this pair of drawings from Knox’s pupil Denise Wren, had a set produced from the drawings by Alan Mudd, an English enameller whose original design for a silver, parcel-gilt, and enameled Fish Slice was acquired by the Victoria & Albert Museum in 2008.
This design drawing for a fish knife and fork, with each element shown from above and in side-profile, contains series of cross-sectional “slices” of different sections of each piece. Knox has included a series of small letter notations which show how each element of construction in one view of the fork or knife corresponds to the other. A cross-section of the neck of the fork, where the decorative knot-work recesses as the thicker central band rises toward the prongs of the fork, features the handwritten notation “section on CC [cross-cut]” underneath.
The openwork interlace decoration on the fork and knife, with the intended negative spaces articulated with the help of light, diagonal hatch-lines in the background, is more angular than in the previous design drawing for spoons, forks and knives. This interlace decoration would have required hand-filing out the negative space after casting, the resulting piece born of the mix of industrialized production and handwork which characterized the late 19th century Arts & Crafts movement. Unlike the decorative registers in the middle- and upper-portions of these pieces, Knox’s cross-sections of the lower sections of the handles show no three-dimensional modeling or other plastic ornamentation; a hand-written notation in the lower-right margin notes that the handles were meant to be constructed “of ivory or other colored material.”

This object was purchased from H. BLAIRMAN & SONS, Ltd. and catalogued by Julia Pastor. It is credited Museum purchase from the Members' Acquisitions Fund of Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum.

Its dimensions are

21.6 × 30.5 cm (8 1/2 in. × 12 in.)

It is inscribed

Inscribed in graphite, upper right: 11; in graphite, lower right: FISH / KNIFE / & / FORK; in graphite, lower right corner: handle of / ivory or other / cushioned material; in graphite, in plan view of fish fork: ivory / handle; in graphite, lower left of plan view of fish fork: section on CC

Cite this object as

Drawing, Design for Fish Servers, ca. 1904–12; Designed by Archibald Knox (British, 1864 - 1933); graphite on white wove paper; 21.6 × 30.5 cm (8 1/2 in. × 12 in.); Museum purchase from the Members' Acquisitions Fund of Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum; 2017-16-2

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If you would like to cite this object in a Wikipedia article please use the following template:

<ref name=CH>{{cite web |url=https://collection.cooperhewitt.org/objects/1108806873/ |title=Drawing, Design for Fish Servers, ca. 1904–12 |author=Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum |accessdate=12 December 2017 |publisher=Smithsonian Institution}}</ref>

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