Introduction to the Frith Family

The Frith’s Above Oxford

Art, and sculpture in particular, have been in the Frith family for generations. His great-great-grandfather was the carver and sculptor Henry Frith (c.1820-1863), his great-grandfather William Silver Frith (1850-1924) trained at the Lambeth School of Art and the Royal Academy Schools before becoming the master at the South London Technical Art School and an influential figure in the New Sculpture school. Frith’s grandfather Edgar Silver Frith (1890-1974) followed in the family tradition, becoming a sculptor and a teacher of modelling at the South London Technical Art School.

Nigel Frith describes his painting above, ‘The Frith’s Above Oxford’, as “a history-painting…using four figures from Robert Streater’s Sheldonian ceiling, here symbolising Historia revealing how a ten-pointed star with a Cherub of Restitution overthrows the 20th Century Titan of Destructionism, and illuminates Frith’s Book of Panhistory. The buildings are (top down) Merton College, Oriel, the Sheldonian and St John’s Canterbury Quad, which all display the work of the group in the clouds. The Frith’s depicted are (clockwise from top) W.S. Frith, whose firm started sculptural Restitution of Oxford, his grandson Derrick who assisted his father, Edgar, who from the ’30s to the ’70s completed sculpture in these and fourteen other Oxford sites, while Nigel did a bit too.”

In this section of the website material relating to Nigel Frith’s forebears, including not only the Frith sculptors but also Nigel’s grandmother, Margaret Gough is accessible. Gough was secretary to George Moore, the Irish novelist, and W.B. Yeats, as well as being a translator of authors of the New Realist school, such as Turgenev.

This section also contains pages for Frith’s great-grandfather William Silver Frith and his grandfather Edgar Silver Frith. It is anticipated that more material relating to Margaret Gough and the Frith family in due course.

For more information on the Frith sculptors see the ‘Mapping the Practice and Profession of Sculpture in Britain and Ireland, 1851-1951’ website entries for W.S. Frith and E.S. Frith.