Mary Catherine Knight American

On view at The Met Fifth Avenue in Gallery 774

A gifted designer who was born in Flushing, New York, and grew up in the California mountains, Knight studied art and design at the Drexel Institute in Philadelphia under the tutelage of Mary C. (Ware) Dennett, who taught gilded leatherworking. Dennett, who later moved to Boston, was one of the founders of the Handicraft Shop of the Society of Arts and Crafts, Boston, which was established as an educational arm of the Society. It was she who arranged for Knight to become the shop’s manager in 1902. The cooperative nature of the Handicraft Shop meant that while Knight was responsible for designing, raising, and decorating silver objects, the latter two functions were often performed by another silversmith in the shop. Characteristic of Knight’s work is the repeating patterns of floral, foliate, geometric, or lacelike motifs she achieved using leatherworking tools inherited from Dennett. At times they were actually pierced, but more frequently the patterning was picked out in blue or turquoise enamels, as here.

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