C. T. Bowie, Fisher & Co.


C. T. Bowie, Fisher & Co. was begun in Glasgow around 1851 by the decorative and figure painter Campbell Tait Bowie (c. 1826–1896). He joined the Architectural Institute of Scotland the following year, and in 1855 he completed the prestigious commission for the ceiling of the Glasgow Trades House, where his heraldic panels, plentiful gilding and classical personifications of Art and Industry were praised. 1 The firm was based at 26 Bothwell Street from the 1850s, but Bowie showed foresight by opening branches in the new Clyde coastal resorts of Largs and Brodick, which were accessible to prosperous Glaswegians by train and steamer. 2

Daniel Fisher (c. 1829–1911), a farmer's son from Buchlyvie, Stirlingshire, was a master house-painter who worked for Bowie from about 1860, when the firm became known as C. T. Bowie & Co. 3 The style of the firm finally incorporated Fisher's name in 1890, around the same time as it opened a branch in Paisley. By the following year, John Bowie and John Fisher, the partners' sons, were working with the firm. 4

Among the firm's commissions were the painting of the large Sauchiehall Street department store Copland & Lye (Robert Baldie, 1879); the redecoration of Maxwell and Lansdowne United Presbyterian Churches, Glasgow (both 1893); and the repainting of the City Council-run Ramshorn Church (1900). 5 They were also awarded one of the contracts (along with fellow decorators Charles Carlton & Son) to paint the machinery hall at the Glasgow International Exhibition of 1901. 6

Both Bowie and Fisher were property owners. Fisher built a large, rather severe country villa on the family farm of Ballamenoch, where he became a small-scale 'landed proprietor' and participated in many local agricultural and educational societies around Kippen. 7 Bowie amassed various properties in Glasgow and Largs, which he let to tenants. 8

C. T. Bowie retired in late 1893 and died in 1896. The inventory of his home in Bearsden lists 33 paintings in gilt frames, but unfortunately they are not further described. 9 Bowie's son retired in 1907, leaving the Fisher family as the only remaining partners. 10 That year, they experienced a serious workshop blaze after flammable turpentine exploded and blew out all the surrounding windows. 11 Daniel Fisher Senior died in Glasgow in 1910, and Daniel Junior died at Ballemenoch, Buchlyvie, in 1926. 12


1: Glasgow Herald, 8 March 1852, p. 5; 31 August, 1855, p. 5.

2: Glasgow Herald, 15 February 1856, p. 1.

3: Glasgow Post Office Directories, 1858–63.

4: Glasgow Post Office Directory, 1889–90, p. 145 (C. T. Bowie & Co.); 1890–1, p. 148 (C. T. Bowie, Fisher & Co.); 1891 census, www.scotlandspeople.gov.uk [accessed 10 January 2013].

5: Glasgow City Archives Collection: Measurement of Painterwork for Copland & Lye, TD/128/22, 31 January 1879; Glasgow Herald, 4 September 1893, p. 6; 14 September 1900, p. 7.

6: Glasgow Herald, 18 December 1900, p. 4.

7: Census 1891 viewed at www.ancestry.co.uk, accessed on 20 April 2012; William Chrystal, The Kingdom of Kippen, Stirling: Munro & Jamieson, 1903, pp. 33, 75–8.

8: Glasgow City Archives Collection: C. T. Bowie's Trust Papers, TD/128/22.

9: Glasgow City Archives Collection: C. T. Bowie's Trust Papers, TD/128/22.

10: Edinburgh Gazette, 2 April 1907, p. 367.

11: Scotsman, 12 April 1907, p. 7.

12: Scotsman, 2 January 1911, p. 12; 23 March 1926, p. 14.