This oak architect’s or engineer’s chest is quite possibly a one-off piece made for renowned Liberty & Co. designer Archibald Knox by the Barnstable firm Shapland and Petter.
Not only does the 4ft 2in (1.26m) chest carry trademark Celtic
knot motifs with gilt highlights to the facia, the top opens on
axe-form hinges to reveal a similar design centred with the
inscription A Knox 1903. The fall front lock bears the
stamp SPB for Shapland and Petter.
This enigmatic object - sold without a provenance connecting it
to Knox - was consigned for sale at Penrith Farmers' &
Kidd's March 12 sale by a Keswick vendor in whose family
it had been for many years. The Cumbrian auctioneers estimated it
conservatively at £2000-3000 but in fact two commission bids saw
the competition open at £12,000.
One of eight telephone bidders, a private buyer from south of
England won it at £37,000 (plus 15 per cent buyer's premium).