Door Knocker

1932 (designed and made)
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Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

This is the first of a series of door knockers and letter boxes which Gertrude Hermes executed for her friends after she had completed a commission which included door furniture for the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon in 1932. This example was made for Gilbert Mitchison (1880-1970) later Lord Mitchison for his house in Hammersmith Mall while he was a practising barrister of the Inner Temple. This prototype had to be rejected becasue the aperture was not sufficently large to receive solicitors' briefs. The version eventually installed was modified to do so.

Gertrude Hermes (1901-1983) was primarily a wood engraver and sculptress but nonetheless executed an appreciable amount of architectural decorative work, particularly before the Second World War. In 1925 she was one of the finalists in engraving for the Prix de Rome. She was a prominent illustrator and in 1939 was one of the seven wood engravers to represent Britain at the Venice International Exhibition. During the Second World War, she took her young family to Canada where she worked as a tracer and precision draughtsman in the drawing offices of aircraft and shipbuilding practices. After the war, she returned to England and concentrated more on sculpture. She was elected an associate of the Royal Academy in 1963 for her engraving, she was the first woman engraver to be elected, and she became a Royal Academician in 1971.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Brass, cast, pierced and engraved
Brief Description
Door knocker, brass, Brimingham, 1932, made by Henry Hope & Sons, designed by Gertrude Hermes for Lord Mitchison
Physical Description
Door knocker, brass, consisting of a large circular plate with an annular ring with small vertical piercings around the circumference, superimposed on the back plate. The knocker is a cast brass ring, hinged at the middle framing the vertical letter aperture which has a sprung flap. A scrolling line is incised within the cast sections of the door knocker.
Dimensions
  • Diameter: 40cm
Style
Production typePrototype
Credit line
Given by Gertrude Hermes RA
Object history
This is the first of a series of door knockers and letter boxes which Gertrude Hermes executed for her friends after she had completed a commission which included door furniture for the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon in 1932. This example was made for Gilbert Mitchison (1880-1970) later Lord Mitchison for his house in Hammersmith Mall while he was a practising barrister of the Inner Temple. This prototype had to be rejected becasue the aperture was not sufficently large to receive solicitors' briefs. The version eventually installed was modified to do so.
Subject depicted
Summary
This is the first of a series of door knockers and letter boxes which Gertrude Hermes executed for her friends after she had completed a commission which included door furniture for the Shakespeare Memorial Theatre, Stratford-upon-Avon in 1932. This example was made for Gilbert Mitchison (1880-1970) later Lord Mitchison for his house in Hammersmith Mall while he was a practising barrister of the Inner Temple. This prototype had to be rejected becasue the aperture was not sufficently large to receive solicitors' briefs. The version eventually installed was modified to do so.



Gertrude Hermes (1901-1983) was primarily a wood engraver and sculptress but nonetheless executed an appreciable amount of architectural decorative work, particularly before the Second World War. In 1925 she was one of the finalists in engraving for the Prix de Rome. She was a prominent illustrator and in 1939 was one of the seven wood engravers to represent Britain at the Venice International Exhibition. During the Second World War, she took her young family to Canada where she worked as a tracer and precision draughtsman in the drawing offices of aircraft and shipbuilding practices. After the war, she returned to England and concentrated more on sculpture. She was elected an associate of the Royal Academy in 1963 for her engraving, she was the first woman engraver to be elected, and she became a Royal Academician in 1971.
Bibliographic References
  • Gertrude Hermes Retrospective London, Royal Academy, 1981.
  • Eric Turner in Carol Hogben ed. British Art & Design, 1900-1960, London, Victoria and Albert Museum, 1983, pp.132-133. ill.
  • Jane Hill, The Sculpture of Gertrude Hermes, Farnham, Lund Humohries in association with the Henry Moore Foundation, 2012, pp. 40, 122. ill. ISBN: 9780853318651
  • The Bystander, 15 May, 1940. p.208. ill.
Collection
Accession Number
M.36-1974

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record createdJune 24, 2009
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