Albert Carter – ‘Art in Enamel’

The firm of Albert Carter was built up mainly by concentration on modern art as applied to silver and enamel-ware.

Mr Carter himself had a distinguished career, both as student and manufacturer, and he was one of the few master men in the trade to whom that unduly laboured term ‘artist-craftsman’ may fairly be applied.

They were the only firm in the country who specialized exclusively in the production of enamel goods.

The majority of these goods were of particular appeal to women – such articles as vanity boxes, puff bowls, manicures, and brush sets.

Mr Carter’s reputation for high-class enamelled silverware was worldwide and the Queen’s interest in his work was well known.


Above: The Silversmiths Shop, and part of the Engine-turning Shop

The business was founded in 1900 when Mr Carter, after studying for a number of years at the Birmingham Central School of Arts and Crafts, opened as a master-man in Northampton Street, as a designer and craftsman to the trade

In the previous fifteen years, he had learned his craft from many well-known masters.

The head of the art school was Edward Taylor and his staff included Meteyard, Creswick, Movio, Jelley, and Catterson Smith.

Firing Enamels

Louis Joseph, one of the finest enamellers we have seen in England, taught the art to Mr Carter, who, later, was one of the first men to produce modern enamel work in Birmingham.

A silver casket presented to the King of Greece by Queen Victoria was among the first work he undertook as a master-man.

He produced many other outstanding pieces – notably a beautiful alms dish in Malmesbury Abbey and the memorial to Vernon Austin, only son of Sir Herbert Austin, which is in St. Martin’s, Canterbury, the oldest church in England. The mounting in silver repousse of chairs used by the King and Queen when they were crowned at the Durbar of India was also entrusted to Mr Carter.

Up to date machinery and methods were employed in the Frederick Street (Vicarage Works) factory, where the firm was working from in 1935, but it is only by the most highly skilled workmanship and the personal supervision of the principal that they were able to produce work of such beauty of design and finish – modern enamelled silver-ware which was among the finest in the world.

Silversmith to Queen Mary
‘Mr Albert Carter, of Birmingham, has just been honoured by the granting of a royal warrant appointing him silversmith to Queen Mary. This is the first time for many years that a member of the jewellery trade has received a royal warrant and the first time on record that it has been granted to an individual silversmith in Birmingham.
Queen Mary has been keenly interested in Mr. Carter’s work in silver and enamel for a number of years and he has carried out numerous special orders for her and for King George V. Since the B.I.F. of 1924, Queen Mary has made a point of visiting Mr Carter’s stand and inspecting all the articles he displayed.
Mr Carter is chairman of the art and technical committee of the B J A and also of the Exhibition Committee. He is a former President’.

Source:  April 1938 British Jeweller



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