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Date made: c.1900-1933

Artist: Knox, Archibald

Description: This particular example of a Knox landscape, Lhergy, is unusual in that it is titled. In comparison with the majority of his anonymous, although iconic Manx landscapes, this watercolour is made more recognisable by the inclusion of a series of buildings set along what appears to be a road. Knox often concentrates on either capturing the changing light of the sky or that of the landscape. In this watercolour he has chosen to balance both.

At the centre of the painting is an empty green field, framed by groups of trees, the sky, and houses, all of which succeed in drawing the viewer’s eye across the work. The depiction of the line of cottages in the painting can be viewed as an exercise in the use of light and shade, rendering a series of white boxes (set at various angles) three-dimensional. The dark roofs of the cottages have been painted in blue, purple and red, colours that seem to change as one looks at them.

Manx National Heritage owns more than 150 watercolours by Knox thereby making it the largest and most representative collection in either private or public ownership. The collection indicates that Knox did not experiment with new styles or try to develop his watercolour technique into new or innovative forms. Instead he repeated the same techniques for the rolling hills, cloud formations, farm buildings, mills and trees, the latter becoming increasingly abstract in form. In the style and manner of a Japanese artist, Knox appears to have wanted to achieve perfection by the constant repetition of his technique.

A distinctive element of Knox’s landscapes is the way in which he captures the changing elements of a Manx sky with only a few brushstrokes. This can be compared with John H. Nicholson’s far more realistic skyscapes and Toni Onley’s deceptively simple watercolour wash skies. It is perhaps interesting to note that Archibald Knox was tutor to John H. Nicholson, who in turn taught Toni Onley.

Measurements: unframed artwork: 41 cm x 55 cm

Materials: watercolour on paper

Object name: painting

Collection: Art Collection

ID number: 1959-0093

Subject tags : Isle of Man


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