Thomas Bewick

Infobox_Person | name = Thomas Bewick
other_names =

birth_date = August 1753
birth_place = Mickley, Northumberland, England
death_date = death date|1828|11|8|mf=y
death_place = Gateshead, Durham, England
occupation = Wood engraver
successor = Robert Elliott Bewick (son)
spouse = Isabella
children = Jane Bewick
Robert Elliott Bewick
Isabella Bewick
Elizabeth Bewick
parents = John Bewick (father)
Jane Wilson Bewick (mother)
relations = John Bewick (brother)
John Bewick (nephew)

Thomas Bewick (12 August 1753 – November 8, 1828) was an English wood engraver and ornithologist.

Bewick was born at Cherryburn House in the village of Mickley, in the parish of Ovingham, Northumberland, England, near Newcastle upon Tyne on August 12, 1753. His father rented a small colliery at Mickley Bank, and sent his son to school in the nearby village of Ovingham.

Bewick was a poor scholar, but showed, at a very early age, a talent for drawing. He had no lessons in art. At the age of 14 he was apprenticed to Ralph Beilby, an engraver in Newcastle. In Beilby's workshop Bewick engraved a series of diagrams on wood for Dr. Charles Hutton, illustrating a treatise on mensuration. He seems thereafter to have devoted himself entirely to engraving on wood, and in 1775 he received a premium from the Royal Society for the Encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce for a wood engraving of the "Huntsman and the Old Hound". In 1776 he became a partner in Beilby's workshop.

's"Jane Eyre" (Chapter I): "The fiend pinning down the thief's pack behind him, I passed over quickly: it was an object of terror"]

His "Select Fables" (1784) had engravings which were far superior to any that had yet been done. "A General History of Quadrupeds" appeared in 1790, and Bewick's great achievement, that with which his name is inseparably associated, the "History of British Birds", was published from 1797-1804. His "Birds" was published in two volumes, "Land Birds" and "Water Birds", with a supplement in 1821. The "Quadrupeds" deals with mammals of the whole world, and is particularly thorough on some of the domestic animals. It includes bats and seals but does not include whales or dolphins. The "Birds" is specifically British. Bewick was helped by his intimate knowledge of the habits of animals acquired during his constant excursions into the country. He also recounts information passed to him by acquaintances and local gentry, and that obtained in natural history works of his time, including those by Thomas Pennant and Gilbert White, as well as the translation of Buffon's "Histoire naturelle". Many of the illustrations most frequently reproduced at the present day are vignettes and tailpieces at the bottoms of the pages of the original.

Other works for which he became well known included the engravings for Oliver Goldsmith's "Traveller" and "Deserted Village", for Thomas Parnell's "Hermit", for William Somervile's "Chase" and for the collection of "Fables of Aesop and Others". Bewick had numerous pupils, several of whom gained distinction as engravers. These included William Harvey, and his son and later partner Robert Elliott Bewick.

Bewick's art is considered the pinnacle of its medium. This is likely due to his methods: Bewick, unlike his predecessors, would carve in harder woods, notably box wood, against the grain, using fine tools normally favoured by metal engravers. This proved to be far superior, and has been the dominant method used since.

His autobiography, "Memoirs of Thomas Bewick, by Himself", appeared in 1862. Shortly after Bewick's death, he was commemorated by the naming of a species of swan, Bewick's Swan. Bewick's Wren also took his name. The Thomas Bewick Primary School, in Newcastle upon Tyne, is named after him.

Bewick is also noteworthy for having used his fingerprint as a form of signature, in conjunction with his written name to denote individuality in his publications. The significance of this happening nearly 200 years ago lead some to believe that Bewick is among the first to recognize the uniqueness of each individual human fingerprint.

External links

* [ The Bewick Society] , dedicated to "promote an interest in the life and work of Thomas Bewick and related subjects, especially with regard to wood-engraving"
* [ Thomas Bewick (1753-1828)] , "dedicated to the wood engraving of Thomas Bewick, with particular reference to the works in the collection of the Edmonton Art Gallery"
* [ Newcastle University Library Special Collections] , Exhibitions - Reivers and Heroes: Borders in the Romantic Age - A Local Artist: Thomas Bewick (1753-1828)



*Lee & Gaensslen, Advances in Fingerprint Technology 2e - (2001) CRC Press, ISBN 0-8493-0923-9
*Bewick, Thomas (1975). Edited with an introd. by Iain Bain. "A Memoir of Thomas Bewick". London; New York: Oxford University Press.
*Hall, Marshall (2005). "The Artists of Northumbria". Bristol: Art Dictionaries Ltd. ISBN 0953260992.
*Uglow, Jenny (2006). "Nature's Engraver: A Life of Thomas Bewick". London: Faber and Faber.

NAME=Bewick, Thomas
SHORT DESCRIPTION=English wood engraver
DATE OF BIRTH=August 10 1753
PLACE OF BIRTH=Newcastle-upon-Tyne, Northumberland
DATE OF DEATH=November 8 1828
PLACE OF DEATH=Gateshead, Tyne and Wear

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  • Thomas Bewick — Thomas Bewick. Thomas Bewick (agosto de 1753 † 8 de noviembre de 1828) fue un ornitólogo y grabador en madera inglés. Bewick nació en Cherryburn, Northumberland, cerca de Newcastle upon Tyne. Su padre arrendaba una pequeña mina de carbón en… …   Wikipedia Español

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  • Thomas Bewick — (agosto de 1753 8 de noviembre de 1828) fue un ornitólogo y grabador en madera inglés. Bewick nació en Cherryburn, Northumberland, cerca de Newcastle upon Tyne. Su padre arrendaba una pequeña mina de carbón en Mickleybank y envió a su hijo al… …   Enciclopedia Universal

  • Thomas Bewick — [Thomas Bewick] (1753–1828) an English artist who worked mainly in book illustration. He brought a new realistic style to the art of ↑engraving (= cutting designs on metal, and then printing from it.). He is especially famous for his pictures of… …   Useful english dictionary

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  • Bewick, Thomas — born Aug. 12, 1753, Cherryburn, Eng. died Nov. 8, 1828, Gateshead British wood engraver. At age 14 he was apprenticed to a metal engraver, with whom he later went into partnership in Newcastle; Bewick remained there most of his life. He… …   Universalium

  • Bewick, Thomas — SUBJECT AREA: Paper and printing [br] b. August 1753 Cherryburn House, Ovingham, Northumberland, England d. 8 November 1828 Gateshead, England [br] English perfecter of wood engraving. [br] The son of a farmer, Bewick was educated locally, but… …   Biographical history of technology

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