The Work of Alexander Fisher - Silversmith & Enamellist

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The Work of Alexander Fisher - Silversmith & Enamellist

Postby dognose » Tue Oct 16, 2012 12:41 pm

A MAKER OF BEAUTIFUL THINGS: MR. ALEXANDER FISHER AND HIS SILVERWORK.

BY T. MARTIN WOOD.


Although working in material demanding exhaustless patience and calling for the highest order of mechanical skill before lending itself to any sort of aesthetic expression, Mr. Fisher does not separate in his mind the early and prosaic stages from what of ultimate beauty he seeks to attain.

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His work is dominated from the beginning by his desire to shape something which shall be the expression of his mood at the time. This element of emotionalism is the parent of beauty, whether in painting or in the simplest object which a man shall shape to his fancy. It can inform with the significance of art every detail of mechanical construction. Art was divorced from craft and the production of beautiful things suspended, when from one craftsman or artist to another work was passed on independent of their sympathy with the design at its completion. And so it is to-day, workers contribute piecework to designs they never see, each man works blindly towards an end that means nothing to him.

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Just now Mr. Fisher is engaged upon a silver jewel-casket, the corners of which are cased in iron. This he forges in his studio, bending the metal to his will and to his caprice. In the unsympathetic bar of iron before it is forged the artist sees already in his mind the delicate shape it shall take in the place it finally will assume.

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A lover of colour, Mr. Fisher's enamels have brought him fame: his love of form, the pleasure he takes in things of beautiful shape, has led him to give us silverwork that would have delighted Cellini. But it is in the symbolism with which he has crowded his creations that, as a thinker, he finds expression.
In the jewel-casket here reproduced he has sought to convey again the old theme of love as the crown of life. The jewels which shall be placed in the casket will themselves complete its symbolism. They are the jewels of virtue and affection for the adornment of love. There are three panels of enamel carrying out the idea.

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In the design for a cup with arms in champleve enamel, which was originally designed as a gift to the Goldsmiths' Company, we have the figure of St. Dunstan on the top; he is the patron saint of goldsmiths, and is holding a little cup. Reminiscent of the legend of the devil appearing to St. Dunstan whilst he was refining metal in the fire, the master of fire in the form of a serpent twines underneath, and supports the fabric upon which the image of the saint stands. The cup is supported by the oak-tree, for the Goldsmiths' Company is for all England, and not for London alone. At the base the four figures represent the four qualities that together go to make a thing of beauty.

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The little silver trowel given for the laying of the foundation stone of a hospital, and reproduced here by kind permission of H.R.H. Princess Christian, is replete with thought. On the enamel on one side is a picture of St. Luke the Physician: on the other side is Hygeia, holding a smoking cup, symbolical of the healing power of drugs. Upon the handle a snake in champleve enamel is imprisoned within the silver bars.

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More matter-of-fact is the design for a chain for the Lady Mayoress of Cape Town. The enamel in the centre of each large link is provided to receive the monogram. The little trees (with leaves and fruit enamelled) which enclose the links are emblematic of abundance. The alternate link has an enamel to receive the date and the monogram of Cape Town suspended.

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Not less interesting is the badge in gold enamel made for the Sheffield Society of Artists. Upon the background are the white roses for York and a peacock for beauty; the recent birth of the society is represented by the edge of the Sun appearing to rise above the design.

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Very beautiful is the clasp in cast silver done for the wedding of Mr. and Mrs. Byam Shaw: here Love is represented singing in the tree of life.

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In the silver overmantel the idea of Love is again predominant: it is the Love that recurs throughout Mr. Fisher's designs, not little Cupid with pink fingers, but Love as a compelling power, Love as strong as Death, to whom come kings and queens and conquerors, and Mr. Fisher has tried to convey in the panels of this beautiful piece of silverwork the idea of the love that is everywhere.

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In Mr. Fisher's studio are many little master pieces lying rejected by him, for he is the most fastidious of workers and one to whom the refinements of his work in themselves present an end, and a never-ending incitement to more and more distinguished effort.


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Source: Studio International - Volume 31 - 1904

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Re: The Work of Alexander Fisher - Silversmith & Enamellist

Postby dognose » Wed Oct 17, 2012 1:17 pm

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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 universally 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. 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 may be seen in the Victoria and Albert Museum, at the Brussels Museum, and similar institutions.

Source: British Sculpture and sculptors of Today - Marion Harry Spielmann - 1901

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Re: The Work of Alexander Fisher - Silversmith & Enamellist

Postby dognose » Thu Oct 18, 2012 7:20 am

A better image of the loving cup shown in the above post:

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Alexander Fisher entered two marks with the London Assay Office, 'A.F' in an oblong punch with clipped corners, on the 15th October 1894, and 'AF' contained in a shield, on the 12th March 1900.

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Re: The Work of Alexander Fisher - Silversmith & Enamellist

Postby dognose » Sat Dec 15, 2012 3:17 pm

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Alexander Fisher - London - 1906

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Alexander Fisher - London - 1906

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Alexander Fisher - London - 1906

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Re: The Work of Alexander Fisher - Silversmith & Enamellist

Postby dognose » Thu Dec 20, 2012 4:43 pm

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Alexander Fisher - London - 1906

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Alexander Fisher - London - 1906

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Alexander Fisher - London - 1906

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Re: The Work of Alexander Fisher - Silversmith & Enamellist

Postby dognose » Mon Dec 31, 2012 3:20 pm

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Alexander Fisher - London - 1906

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Alexander Fisher - London - 1906

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Alexander Fisher - London - 1914

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Re: The Work of Alexander Fisher - Silversmith & Enamellist

Postby dognose » Tue Sep 24, 2013 12:24 pm

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Alexander Fisher - London - 1909

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Re: The Work of Alexander Fisher - Silversmith & Enamellist

Postby MCB » Fri Oct 04, 2013 12:56 pm

Alexander Fisher was born in Stoke-on-Trent in 1864 the son of Alexander and Annie. He was listed living with his parents in Devon in 1881 and, like his father, was a ceramic painter.
In subsequent Census documents he referred to himself as an artist, sculptor and enameller.
He was an expert witness for the Goldsmiths Company in a Court hearing in 1910 regarding Peter Charles Faberge.
He died in Southsea, Hampshire in 1936.

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Re: The Work of Alexander Fisher - Silversmith & Enamellist

Postby dognose » Sat Oct 12, 2013 7:04 am

"THE BIRTH OF APHRODITE"

A Nef in silver and enamel by Alexander Fisher:


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Alexander Fisher - 1900


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Alexander Fisher - 1900

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Re: The Work of Alexander Fisher - Silversmith & Enamellist

Postby dognose » Tue Oct 22, 2013 3:45 pm

In 1920-21 an exhibition of British Arts and Crafts, including the work of Alexander Fisher, toured America. Starting with the Detroit Society of Arts and Crafts, in December in the rooms of the Society, 25 Watson Street, Detroit, Michigan. From Detroit the collection went to a number of the large cities, among them Philadelphia, Boston, Chicago, Buffalo, Cleveland and Pittsburgh, the circuit being concluded, in May, in Washington, where the collection was shown in the Corcoran Gallery of Art at the time of the Annual Convention of the American Federation of Arts, under the auspices of the Federation's local chapter, the Washington Society of the Fine Arts.

Below are exhibits of the work of Alexander Fisher:

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Morse by Alexander Fisher. Gold and silver and enamel, Set with sapphires and moonstones; design in repousse 'The Worship of the Magi'


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Silver and enamel casket 'The Rayleigh Ship' by Omar Ramsden. Silver and enamel box by Phyliss Legge. Silver box by Alexander Fisher


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Steel and silver casket by Alexander Fisher

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Re: The Work of Alexander Fisher - Silversmith & Enamellist

Postby dognose » Sun Dec 22, 2013 4:18 am

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Candle sconce in oxidised silver with translucent enamel medalion - 1908

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Re: The Work of Alexander Fisher - Silversmith & Enamellist

Postby dognose » Fri Jun 19, 2015 2:36 pm

SALFORD'S SILVER MACE

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A silver mace has been presented to the Mayor and Corporation of the borough of Salford, as a coronation gift by Colonel Lees Knowles, D.L., M.P. The work has been executed by Mr. Alexander Fisher from the design of Mr. W. D. Caroe.

Source: The Sphere - 17th June 1903



The Mace of the former Salford Borough Council

The Mace was presented to the Borough of Salford by Mr Lees Knowles, MP, on 10 June 1903 to commemorate the Coronation of King Edward VII.

The Mace is composed of silver, hammered, cast and chased in all its different parts and the charges on the four shields are in translucent champleve enamel. The silver is gilt throughout.

The Rose of Lancaster is the principal ornament. The shaft has bees clambering up a spiral arrangement.

Between the letters E VII R (denoting King Edward VII) upon the bowl are charged the Royal Arms, the arms of the Borough of Salford repeated and the arms of the donor.

Around the rim runs the inscription in repousse letters.


Source: Salford City Council website - https://www.salford.gov.uk/salfordmace.htm

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Re: The Work of Alexander Fisher - Silversmith & Enamellist

Postby dognose » Sun Aug 06, 2017 6:30 am

Triptych in Steel and Enamel by Alexander Fisher:

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Re: The Work of Alexander Fisher - Silversmith & Enamellist

Postby dognose » Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:02 am

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Triptych in painted enamels; scenes from the life of Saint Patrick - 1906

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Re: The Work of Alexander Fisher - Silversmith & Enamellist

Postby dognose » Sun Oct 01, 2017 4:21 am

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Design for a yachting cup - 1906

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Re: The Work of Alexander Fisher - Silversmith & Enamellist

Postby dognose » Mon Nov 06, 2017 5:28 am

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This piece was shown at the Sixth Exhibition of the Arts and Crafts Exhibition Society was opened at the New Gallery to the public on Monday, October 9th 1899.

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Re: The Work of Alexander Fisher - Silversmith & Enamellist

Postby dognose » Tue Nov 20, 2018 12:10 pm

Mr. Alexander Fisher, whose design for a yachting cup is reproduced here in colours, may justly be looked upon as the awakener of the renewed practical interest which the art of enamelling has begun to excite in England; and he certainly proves year by year that he is not one of those artists who allow the worldly influences of success to make them either slack or timid in their quest of progress. It has been said that an artist ought always to be ready and eager to risk all the reputation he has won for the sake of the larger and wider fame that effort and courage and patience may enable him to gain. He must never tell himself, while health and strength last, that his own province in the kingdom of art is full-grown and in perfect order. In his temper of mind there should ever be something of that imperial recklessness which has played so great a part in the history on whom it acts constantly, most English people would, I believe, have a strong natural desire to introduce gay and delightful tints into their architecture, their sculpture, their metal-work, and what not besides. To counteract the influence in question will not be easy, but something may be done by every artist who remembers that form, however beautiful, may be made more attractive by a discreet use of fine colour.

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"As to the colour decoration of metal-work in copper, bronze, silver, and gold, it is best obtained, I think, by the use of enamel, because enamel, more than any other decorative substance, becomes a part of the metal employed, being fused by fire on to its surface. Not that I wish to discredit the use of stones, shells, and inlays of metal. All these good things are invaluable when wisely employed, but it pleases me to think that the art of enamel reigns as a queen over them.

"For the rest, none can think seriously of this art without wishing to get a few practical hints as to the distinctive value in metal decoration of translucent and opaque enamels. The opaque are most admirable to me when applied to a surface that is viewed at some distance, that is to say, not close at hand. The translucent enamels, when employed in little pieces, are to my eyes incomparably more precious and more beautiful than the opaque; but when used on comparatively large surfaces they absorb the light and look dark without colour, except where the light is focussed, so to speak. Here the gem-like brilliance of a transparent enamel gleams and sparkles; elsewhere it is not effective. Thus we lose much when we squander translucent enamels over the whole surface of an object that we wish to decorate. They are seen to the best advantage when they are as gems surrounded by a finely-treated surface of silver or of gold. How exquisite then is the contrast between the enamelled part and the metal!"

Mr. Fisher's remarks ought to be helpful to goldsmiths and silversmiths, and we hope that they will help to bring about a judicious practice of employing both translucent and opaque enamels in the making of sporting cups and trophies.

As for the characteristic yachting cup designed by Mr. Fisher, it has been reproduced in colours from a drawing in pastels. Seated on the lid, with waves surrounding her, is a figure of Amphitrite, goddess of the sea, who holds in her right hand a tiny archaic statuette of Victory. The figure of Amphitrite would be carved out of Connemara marble, popularly so-called, or else out of onyx marble, a banded variety of calcium carbonate resembling onyx. Translucent enamel would be used for the blue waves, Burmese gold - it has a reddish tinge—for the statuette. The bowl of the cup is coloured to represent burnished silver-gilt. Just below the brim two rows of little cone-like shells are indicated. These shells have two spiral bands, one dark blue, the other green; thus they repeat the colours of the upper part of the cup, and by this means prevent the silver-gilt from telling too strongly against the blue tones of the waves and the green figure of Amphitrite. There are some other notes of blue in the small columns of lapis lazuli, which rest on the five curved branches of the silver stem, and help to support the bowl and its cover. As to the seaweed ornament in red, that is to be enamelled in champleve': and this applies also to the blue sea-snake that lies curled up around the stem's base. There is plenty of scope here for obtaining fine contrasts both of surface and of colour, and we have no doubt that in Mr. Fisher's hands the design would work out well.


Source: The Studio - 1901

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Re: The Work of Alexander Fisher - Silversmith & Enamellist

Postby dognose » Wed Oct 16, 2019 4:20 am

Bracket for Electric Light in Bronze and Mother-of-Pearl:

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Alexander Fisher - London - 1906

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Re: The Work of Alexander Fisher - Silversmith & Enamellist

Postby dognose » Sat Oct 26, 2019 3:32 am

A Bronze Mirror With a Metal Reflector:

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Alexander Fisher - London - 1906

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