19th Jun, 2012 10:00

Fine Art Sale

  Lot 261

Sold for £10,500

Lot details
Alexander Fisher (1864-1936) A monumental bronze, by tradition, ''THE TEMPTATION OF ADAM AND EVE'' signed and dated 1902 183 x 94 x 242cms; 72 x 37 x 95'' high. See illustration PROVENANCE Close House, Wylam, Northumberland, possibly commissioned by Sir James Knott. NB Alexander Fisher initially trained as a silversmith at the then South Kensington Schools, (which went on to become the Royal College of Art), between 1881 and 1884. He developed and interest in the work of French enameller Louis Dalpayrat and went to Paris to study his techniques and learn the great French enameling techniques of champlevé, cloisonné, basse taille, plique-à-jour and Limoges painting, all of which he mastered. Whilst he produced few bronzes, he is best known for his exquisite work on both silver and copper, often incorporating wood, leather or velum. This lot is clearly a major a major work, but surprisingly, does not appear in ''The Studio'' magazine, perhaps suggesting it was a private commission. Fisher's subjects are often mythic, favouring Norse, Celtic and Classical sources and particularly Arthurian legend, yet the iconography of this lot is somewhat confusing. The upper section seems to suggest an idealised scene of the earth, with an ideal man and woman, beneath the protecting veil of a female angel. The man is crowned in laurel and wears a loin cloth, whilst the woman is fully draped. At their feet is a dragon, whose coiling body united the upper and lower sections of the work. The lower section is much more mixed in its symbolism and seems to hold little Christian symbolism, other than, perhaps, suggesting purgatory. The large male figure in the chariot is wearing a winged helmet and his eyes are covered. Similarly, the male slaves are both bound and blindfolded. When they are washed up on the beach, they struggle towards the light beneath a female figure holding a scythe. The present work shows many similarities to Fisher larger works, but is most similar to an over mantle commissioned for Whittingehame, East Lothian, home of the Balfour family. The tree and roots and well as the dragons head, all bear a striking similarity to this piece. Interestingly, both these pieces date from a similar period, the over mantle being slightly earlier.

Auction: Fine Art Sale, 19th Jun, 2012

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