Monday, 25 March 2019

Hands On event at Cherryburn

Many thanks to all who came along for our look at some of the volumes of The History of British Birds kept behind the scenes at Cherryburn. Sunday 24th March.

Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Memoir, Chapter Fifteen

In this reading from Bewick's Memoir the engraver remembers falling ill, being nursed back to health against all the odds and resolving to publish a new edition of the Fables of Aesop. The book was harder to realise than he imagined, with eye strain and printing problems to be coped with. The text was finally published on 1st October 1818, however Bewick favoured the second edition of 1823.

Read by Stephen Tomlin ( at Cherryburn, October 2018.

Thursday, 4 October 2018

Graham Carlisle reports a break-through find using the online facility available from the Wordsworth Trust.

For a number of years I have been researching two sets of india paper proofs of Bewick's Birds, Quadrupeds & Vignettes. Bound in 19th century morocco, the sets were bought from an American dealer who acquired them from the illustrious hands of the famous Rosenbach. No signs of previous ownership, old bookplates removed!

The American knew little about them other than this, he thought they were advertising cuts!!

The workshop archives suggested Jane Bewick had compiled two such albums at a charge of £4.4s.0d. Using the different Newcastle archive sources, I built a case for the two albums having been purchased by the famous bookseller: William Pickering. Mine being one, the other now with the Metropolitan Museum of Art NY via the Jupp collection.

This is the result of inserting the search term 'Pickering' in the Wordsworth Trust digital archive (abreviated):

Wordsworth Trust Manuscripts: Letter to Thomas Bewick # 2013.57.3.56 
London March 17, 1825
Dear Sir
 I wish to have the other copy of the India Paper Quadrupeds & should be glad to have the Birds – in the same state I think the vignettes form an inseparable part of the books… If you could accommodate me with an entire set of india impressions of the Birds, Quadrupeds & Vignettes at a moderate cost. For myself (not for sale) – I should be much obliged they have been favourite works with me for many years & and which I have from liking commended & pushed(?) to a considerable extent(?). I remain Dear Sir, Yrs very truly, W. Pickering

Wordsworth Trust Manuscripts: Letter to Thomas Bewick # 2013.57.3.57

57 Chancery Lane
March 23, 1825
Dear Sir
 I should like to have 2 or 3 setts of the Birds India Paper with the vignettes – mounted or unmounted should you mount any more copies of the Cutts. You will find that they answer better by pasting the inner & outer edge all the way – than at the corners indeed(?) it would save trouble & be cheaper to take off a few copies when the books are reprinting – entirely upon India Paper – which I think I could supply if you any difficulty in procuring it at Newcastle rather thicker than usual.
The Birds upon India Paper I should be glad to receive as early as possible… I remain, Sir, Your obt. Servt. W. Pickering
PS Have you any India Paper impressions of the Great Bull & Lion, if so send four of each with the beforementioned… 

Well done the team at Grasmere.

Tuesday, 25 September 2018

The Young Man and His Cat

1st October 2018 marks the 200th anniversary of the publication of
The Fables of Aesop and others with Designs on Wood by Thomas Bewick.

Listen to a fable read by members of Explore in Newcastle upon Tyne.

Monday, 18 June 2018


CHERRYBURN (Song for Thomas Bewick)
By John Leslie

Cherryburn, Ovingham, banks of the Tyne
A bird on the wing, a fish on the line
Schooled in the meadow, suited him fine
Thomas had, plenty of time

A model apprentice, a skilful performer
Sanctified workshop, along Amen Corner
That’s where he flourished with boxwood and blade
Master of all he surveyed

Wild birds, and fables, and books to be bound
The Chillingham Bull, Huntsman and the Hound
For Thomas, the bells of St Nicholas chime
Cherryburn, Ovingham, banks of the Tyne

Wild birds, and fables, and books to be bound
The Chillingham Bull, Huntsman and the Hound
For Thomas, the bells of St Nicholas chime
Cherryburn, Ovingham, banks of the Tyne
Cherryburn, Ovingham, banks of the Tyne

Schooled in a meadow, it suited him fine
Cherryburn, banks of the Tyne

Wednesday, 16 May 2018

From Keith Armstrong

Walk On, Tom Bewick

Stride Circus Lane 
and chip your signature 
on the pavement of scrapes and kisses.
Pass the Forth
and skirt 
its pleasure gardens;
throw your darts in the archery field.
Skim the bowling green
and walk on water, 
doff your hat to Mrs Waldie;
cut along 
old scars of lanes 
to the bloody gush of Westgate Street;
whistle with birds
in a vicar’s garden,
let warm thoughts fly in Tyneside sun
to bless this Geordie day.
And greet 
the morning hours,
Aunt Blackett and Gilbert Gray,
sing to free the world,
the Black Boy;
harmonise your mind
in a churchyard of melancholy.
Dance over the Lort Burn,
the sun in your eyes,
flooding your workshop
with a light fantastic.
Your shoulders so proud
rub with the building girls
and lady barbers
along Sandhill;
the boats of your dreams
bridge the aching Tyne,
ships groaning
in the tender daylight,
longing for the healing moon;
a keelman’s fantasies
of quayside flesh
and the seething sea.
You trip along 
searching for electricity and magnetism 
in the inns,
winging it
with the bird catchers and canary breeders,
the dirty colliers and the harping whalers.
Walk on Tom,
a portrait
of a hanging man;
let your strong heart
swell with the complex passion
of common folk.
Keith performed a number of poems at the City Library on Tuesday 15th May as part of Local History Month:
Tyne Artistry: celebrating local legends in their anniversary years. Keith was joined by folk band 'The Sawdust Jacks', and Northumbrian Piper Chris Ormston.

Monday, 30 April 2018

Hands on at Cherryburn

From 2-4 on Sunday 29th April 2018.
With readings by Stephen Tomlin from The Fables of Aesop, 1818.