Wednesday, November 28, 2012

More on Ambassador of Loss, Michael Scarrott, A S T Fisher and B. H. Surie

Back in September we had a look on FFEP at the book Ambassador of Loss by Michael Scarrott and its illustrations by B. H. Surie. One of the joys of the internet and this blog is the way in which it brings disparate sources of information together. A little more information has come this way about both author and illustrator. The author, you may remember was, in fact, writing under a pseudonym, the Rev'd A S T Fisher was his real name and, given that he was a chaplain at Bryanston school in Dorset, publishing his novel about schoolboy romance under his real name may have seemed a little close to home. He took Scarrott as a pseudonymous surname, slightly obscurely, from his Mother-in-law's maiden name.

This is the Rev'd Fisher working on a sermon but it turns out that he wasn't the only one connected with the book to also be connected to the school. Surie, the book's illustrator was also at the school as a boy. When he was one day overheard swearing he was sent to see the Chaplain. Fisher encouraged him to start an art society and nurtured his obvious talent and in the holidays, Fisher took Surie home with him as his own parents couldn't afford to fetch him. It was on one of these trips to the Chaplain's home that Surie met Fisher's daughter who would one day become his wife. Thus, A. S. T. Fisher and B. H. Surie were father- and son-in-law. Surie went on to work for an advertising company in the 1960s and was responsible, among other things, for the creation of the Home Pride man and various London Underground graphics. He had to give up art after that but was able to return to it during his retirement in Southern Spain where he still lives.

Ambassador of Loss is something of a love story and family history has it that Fisher wrote it as an antidote to Golding's Lord of the Flies so shocked was he by the violence and bestiality of that newly published novel.
Unfortunately, Surie's daughter, who has very graciously provided all this information and allowed its publication here, didn't see my post in September until after I had sold the copy I had and it is one of the few of her Grandfather's books that she doesn't have. If anyone out there has a copy at a reasonable price I'd love to hear from you.


Nigel Fisher said...

This is a very obscure book to have chosen to look at. Stanley Fisher was my grandfather and an all round interesting guy. My uncle Barry is alive and well and will be amused to see this ancient history of his getting some attention.

Callum said...

Hi Nigel,

Thank you for your comment. In fact your uncle was most amused by the attention, athough could remember nothing about illustrating the book. Your, I think cousin, has already stopped by. In any case its delightful to make your accquaintance.



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