[The following discussion closes Spielmann's British Sculpture and Sculptors of Today, pp. 170-72.]
the course of the foregoing pages the natural incursion of the sculptor into the domain of the gold and silversmith has several times been remarked upon. Indeed, no consideration of sculpture can be complete without some reference to those arts of design which are common to the silversmith. We have seen how Mr. Alfred Gilbert, Mr. Frampton, Mr. Swan, Mr. Reynolds Stephens, Mr. Pomreroy, Mr. Birnie Rhind, Mr. MacKennal, Mr. Walter Crane, to name no others, have all produced objects of "goldsmithery" or of jewellery. It becomes necessary therefore to say a few words of the men who are practising these arts to the exclusion of the others.
Mr. Alexander Fisher
Mr. Alexander Fisher, trained as a landscape painter and a designer and draughtsman, was drawn towards embroidery, and finally to the work by which he is now universaly known, through the establishment of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society. In 1887 he began experiments with a view to re-discover the processes of the old enamellers and to carry their methods further. He succeeded; and after working with Mr. Starkie-Gardner for a while, he opened his own workshop, and became lecturer on the art of the enameller to the City and Guilds of London Institute in 1893.
Five works by Alexander Fisher. Left to right: (a) and (b) Two versions of The Birth of Aphrodite. (c) Silver Crucifix. (d) Jewelry Cabinet. (e) Poetry and Song. [Click on these images and those below for larger pictures. Only the second image appeared in the original text.]
Since that year Mr. Fisher's exhibits have always attracted interest and attention, not so much for the portraits executed in the vitreous material, as for the beauty of design in the objects which they embellished, such as nefs, book-covers, chalices, crucifixions, caskets, and the like, always excellent in colour, and chaste and elegant in taste. The few of Mr. Fisher's works which have not passed into private collections maybe seen in the Victoria and Albert Museum, at the Brussels Museum, and similar institutions.
Mr. and Mrs. Nelson Dawson
The Baden-Powell Casket (i.e., presented to Baden-Powell) designed and made by Nelson and Edith Dawson. c. 1901. [Click on this on other images to enlarge them.]
Mr. and Mrs. Nelson Dawson are also highly-skilled enamellers and metal-workers; the former, who was originally a painter, is the best-known pupil (for enamel) of Mr. Fisher. They have together exetuted much charming work, but with an occasional affectationof rudeness, or naïvté. It was about the year 1890 that Mr. Dawson made a noteworthy' casket for the Plumbers' Company, and latterly caskets in silver and enamel for presentation to the King when Prince of Wales, to the Speaker of the House of Commons, and others. With Mrs. Dawson her husband has associated himself in the production of works in which the more precious metals have occurred — in jewellery, enamel, and the like. Their latest achievements include the presentation piece in gold and enamel for the Duchess of York, and the casket in bronze, silver, and enamel, a gift to General Baden-Powell.
Mr. Gilbert Marks
Mr. Marks is a good type of the artist-silversmith who manufactures his own work, and refuses to entrust the execution of it to another craftsman who may have neither seen nor known aught of the original designer and his aims. He has made cups and bowls for the King and a box for the Queen; but the cliiet work near the beginning of his career were the mace for the Corporation of Croydon and the steel and gold key for the dedication ceremony by the Prince of Wales. Caskets, silver services, bowls, memorial tablets, Freedom-of-the-City boxes and so forth, need not be specified. The characteristic of Mr. Marks' work is the beauty of the design (commonly of flowers and fishes treated with a good deal of realism) and the intelligent and individual character of the repoussé work.
Mr. G. Carr and Mr. Marriott
As always happens when a vogue is created in favour of an art or craft, the demand brings forward a number of clever artists to supply the requirements of the moment. Among the able little band of silversmiths and enamellers the names of Mr. Carr and Mr. Marriott may be included by virtue of their charming designs and their sense of colour, rich, delicate, and harmonious. Besides these workers and the sculptors already alluded to, there are others who have attracted general notice by their performances. Among them are Mr. Colton and Professor von Herkomer, the latter of whom stands out prominently. To his work in pewter and silver reference need not be made, as he has executed it for private use and not for exhibition. But his enamels are in memory of all — the great shield with its numerous enamels symbolical of "The Triumph of the Hour," the portraits of Professor Ende, of the German Emperor, and other pictures, in which he carries the art of "substantial" (as contrasted with "superficial") enamel-painting further than it has been pushed before.
Spielmann, Marion Harry. British Sculpture and Sculptors of Today. London: Cassell, 1901. Internet Archive. Web. 22 December 2011.
Last modified 26 December 2011