Thomas Bewick, Wood Engraver

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In the 1855, Thomas Bewick, wood engraver, was included as one of the eminent men from Newcastle upon Tyne in a Directory about the area.

The information is an extract from History, topography, and directory of Northumberland, comprising a general survey of the county, and a history of the town and county of Newcastle-upon-Tyne, with separate historical, statistical, and descriptive sketches of the boroughs of Gateshead and Berwick-upon-Tweed, and all the towns … wards, and manors. To which is subjoined a list of the seats of the nobility and gentry, which was published by William Whellan & Co. in 1855.

Thomas Bewick, the celebrated wood engraver, was born in the year 1753, at Cherryburn, near Ovingham, in this county, and manifesting at an early age a great proficiency in drawing, he was bound apprentice to Ralph Beilby, a distinguished engraver of Newcastle. 

He cut in wood the mathematical diagrams for Hutton’s Mensuration, which was published in Newcastle in 1770 ; but the work which first brought him into notice was his woodcut of “The Old Hound,” which gained the prize of seven guineas from the Society of Arts in 1775. 

Shortly after the termination of his apprenticeship he was taken into partnership by his master, and in the year 1790 appeared his “History of Quadrupeds.” 

This was followed by “The British Birds,” and the “Fables of Aesop,” the last of his published works. 

Mr. Bewick possessed a rare union of talent, being a naturalist, a draughtsman, and an engraver. 

He died at his house in Gateshead, on the 8th November, 1828, in the 76th year of his age.

Visit Cherryburn

The National Trust runs Cherryburn in Northumberland, which is found just a few minutes’s drive away from Prudhoe Castle.

You can wander through the rooms where the Bewick family lived, and see the on site engraving workshop.

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