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Dame Lucie Rie ceramics and Liberty & Co. designer Archibald Knox offered at Bonhams
Archibald Knox for Liberty & Co A Rare 'Cymric' Silver, Shagreen and Chalcedony Tobacco Box. Photo: Bonhams.

LONDON.- A collection of 21 important works by the prominent ceramicist Dame Lucie Rie (Austrian, 1902-1995) will be offered for sale as part of the 18th June Decorative Arts sale at Bonhams. The collection as whole is estimated to realise close to £100,000.

Lucie Rie was born in Vienna and was the youngest child of Benjamin Gomperz, a Jewish doctor who was a consultant to Sigmund Freud. In 1938, Rie fled Nazi Austria and settled in London. During and after the war Rie made ceramic buttons and jewellery to supplement her income. With her assistant-turned-business partner, Hans Coper, she continued to work from her small studio at 18 Albion Mews, near Hyde Park until her death. Lucie Rie invited many people to the studio and was renowned for welcoming her visitors with tea and cake.

Highlight pieces in the collection include a 1956 heavy porcelain bowl, the glaze in running bands of manganese, bronze and turquoise which is offered with an estimate of £12,000-15,000. The bowl measures 23cm in diameter and is impressed with a ‘LR’ seal. A footed porcelain bowl, circa 1975, glazed in mint green with running golden bronze lip also carries an estimate of £12,000-15,000 and has the 'LR' seal to the base.

In celebration of the 150th anniversary of the birth of Archibald Knox (1864-1933) this year, the 18th June Decorative Arts sale at Bonhams offers the best selection of Knox works in over a decade. Today, his silverwork and jewellery is among the most celebrated of all 20th century decorative arts. However, when Knox died, the shy Manx artist was relatively unknown. Much of Knox's work was not even attributed to him, carrying simply the mark of Liberty & Co for whom he designed.

Archibald Knox was native to the Isle of Man. In 1898 he moved to England and successfully sold his designs to the department Liberty & Co. The Isle of Man continued to provide inspiration and many of Knox’s designs were named after places and landmarks on the island. Celtic patterns and imagery also appears on many of his works. The introverted artist moved back to the Isle of Man during his most prominent years and continued to work for Liberty & Co. on a freelance basis.

Highlights in the collection are a rare 'Cymric' silver tobacco box and cover made in 1901 and decorated with shagreen rawhide which is estimated at £10,000-15,000 and a rare 'Cymric' silver and enamel trefoil footed bowl, decorated with three celtic-style designs, which is estimated at £10,000-£15,000.

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