Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Moore, Joseph (1817-1892)

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MOORE, JOSEPH (1817–1892), medallist and die-sinker, born at Eastbourne, Sussex, in 1817, was the son of Edwin Moore, a builder of hothouses, who temporarily left his business during the Peninsular war and in a fit of enthusiasm joined the 10th hussars, with which he saw active service. A few weeks after Joseph Moore's birth his parents removed to Birmingham, where he continued to live all his life. He showed an early aptitude for drawing, and was apprenticed to Thomas Halliday, die-sinker, of Newhall Street, Birmingham. He also attended the drawing classes of Samuel Lines of Temple Row, Birmingham. For many years Moore was engaged in the production of dies for commercial uses, chiefly for buttons. In 1844 he entered into partnership with John Allen, a fellow-apprentice. The partners carried on business as Allen & Moore in Great Hampton Row, Birmingham, and manufactured articles of papier-mâché, and also metal vases, cups, and boxes. These metal wares, produced by machines invented by Allen, were 'engine-cut on bodies coated with colour, and portions being cut away by the lathe, the patterns, chiefly designed by Moore, were left in colour in low relief.' Partly owing to changes of fashion the works had to be closed, and Moore, after having lost all he had, began business for himself in 1856 as a die-sinker, first in Summer Lane and afterwards, and till his death, in Pitsford Street, Birmingham.

Moore's first medal, produced in 1846, was a large piece, nearly four inches in diameter, bearing the 'Salvator Mundi' of Da Vinci as the obverse, and the 'Christus Consolator' of Ary Scheffer as the reverse. Only a few copies of this medal, which was highly praised by Scheffer, were produced. From this time Moore had a large number of commissions for die-sinking and designing, and executed numerous prize and commemorative medals. Many of these, made for English and colonial trading firms, do not bear Moore's name. He employed his son and other assistants in his business, but the best of his works were cut by his own hand. A selection of his medals was presented by Moore to the Corporation Art Gallery of Birmingham.

Moore was an honourable and kind-hearted man, fond of music and art, and intensely devoted to his work. He was the first president of the Midland Art Club. In March 1892 he had a serious illness, and died, in his seventy-sixth year, on 7 Sept., in his house, which adjoined his workshops.

Moore married, on 27 Aug. 1839, at Aston, Warwickshire, Miss Mary Ann Hodgkins, and had issue.

[Birmingham Weekly Post, 10 Sept. 1892; information kindly given by Miss Moore, Mr. Whitworth Wallis, F. S. A., and Mr. R. B. Prosper.]

W. W.