William Silver Frith (1850-1924)

Allegorical sculpture by W.S. Frith.

The sculptor W. S. Frith was more important as a teacher than as a practicing artist. He studied at the Lambeth School of Art in his early teens, and from 1872 was a student at the Royal Academy Schools. He then taught back at the Lambeth School, helping John Sparkes to transfer the modelling class to its extension at the South London Technical Art School in 1879. There he was assistant to Dalou, later himself being chief sculptor teacher, until 1895. He taught sculptors such as George Frampton and F. W. Pomeroy, various students who went to join the great pottery company, Doulton's of Lambeth, and himself contributed to Doulton's chief entry to the Glasgow International Exhibition of 1888 - the Victoria Fountain.

Frith's surviving work is mostly architectural sculpture. In London, he made the stone figures on the Kensington Gardens side of Imperial College (c. 1906), Bacon and Grinling Gibbons for the front of the V&A, the delicate spandrel figures on the arch over King Charles Street (off Whitehall), and niche figures and reliefs in stone at 13-15 Moorgate (c. 1893). He was also the sculptor of the beautiful Edward VII fountain in Whitechapel. In Birmingham, he made various pediments and interior work for the Victoria Law Courts. In Sussex, he made various figures for Christ Hospital, Horsham. Memorial work by Frith includes the monuments to Bishop Ellicott and T. B. Barker in Gloucester Cathedral.

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