Saturday, 17 December 2011

Thomas Bewick, engraving the world, 12th March 2012.

A lecture at the University of Cambridge.
"Thomas Bewick, engraving the world"
Jenny Uglow
Monday 12 March 2012, 13:00
Seminar Room 1, Department of History and Philosophy of Science.
If you have a question about this talk, please contact Sophie Waring.
This talk is part of the Cabinet of Natural History series.
This HPS research seminar is concerned with all aspects of the history of natural history and the field and environmental sciences. The regular programme of papers and discussions takes place over lunch on Mondays. In addition, the Cabinet organises a beginning-of-year fungus hunt and occasional expeditions to sites of historical and natural historical interest, and holds an end-of-year garden party.
Seminars are held on Mondays at 1pm in Seminar Room 1, Department of History and Philosophy of Science. You are welcome to bring your lunch with you. Organised by Sophie Waring.

Wednesday, 7 December 2011

Attention Wood Engravers


Call for Entries: Wood Engravers' Network 2012 Juried Exhibition.

The Wood Engravers’ Network is excited to host its first juried exhibition of relief engraving. Bringing wood engraving to a broader audience to promote and encourage a passion for the tradition and contemporary experimentation of relief engraving.

The Wood Engravers’ Network seeks prints to be included in a Relief Engraving exhibition. The exhibition will debut at Asheville BookWorks and tour nationally. Venues and dates will be announced as they are scheduled.

Eligible works need to be primarily relief engraving. Relief engraving can include any engraving on wood, plastic, Corian®, Resingrave® – any material – as long as it is printed in relief.

A non-returnable entry fee of $30 USD for current Wood Engravers’ Network members.
A non-returnable entry fee of $40 USD for all other entries.

Entry fees cover the submission of up to 3 images.
Entries and fees must be received by March 2, 2012.

Monday, 5 December 2011

Bewick in Wuthering Heights

Yet another Bronte film asks the question of how much Thomas Bewick there is in it. 
Andrea Arnold’s bleak film, with its tremendous cinematography of moorland and primitive farmhouse is certainly of Bewick’s day, but how much of the girl Emily Bronte’s early love, which arose from copying Bewick vignettes, comes out in the film? 
One repeated and horrifying incident suggests there is something, when first Heathcliffe and then the Earnshaw child casually hang dogs- not a happy reflection!
(Peter Osborne)
IMDb page

Thursday, 24 November 2011

MEET THOMAS BEWICK: Bewick and Natural History

You are invited to a joint meeting between The Bewick Society and The Natural History Society of Northumbria.
Bewick Society Chairman, Dr Peter Quinn, will give a short talk on the North East’s famous artist and woodengraver Thomas Bewick, highlighting his role in the field of natural history. Peter, will look at some of the naturalists who influenced Bewick and go on to discuss how his work was admired by his contemporaries including the great American artist John James Audubon.
This will be followed by a rare opportunity to examine key works by Bewick and other naturalists held in the special collections library of the Natural History Society. Volumes on display will include Marmaduke Tunstall’s Ornithologia Britannica, 1771, Pierre Belon’s L'Histoire de la Nature des Oyseaux, 1555 and material by other well known naturalists such as Thomas Pennant and Audubon.
Date and time: Saturday 26 November at 2pm
Venue: The Clore Lecture Theatre, Great North Museum: Hancock, Barras Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 4PT.
Contact: June Holmes for further details.
Image: Nightjar, collection of the Natural History Society of Northumbria.

Sunday, 20 November 2011

Bewick at the British Museum

The head of Thomas Bewick stands guard at present by the door of the British Museum Prints and Drawings Room. 
The plaster cast of Bailey's bust introduces a display of Bewick's work selected by Nigel Tattersfield to celebrate the publication of his 3-volume "The Complete Illustrative Work".  Next to it is a print of the sample of Gay's fables, submitted by Beilby, to the nascent Royal Society of Arts, that won young Thomas a prize. 
The exhibition presents a brief history of Bewick's work on quadrupeds and birds by displaying his drawings next to the resulting prints.  There is an original Pidcock poster showing the superiority of Bewick's lion etc to other animals included.  The poster shows how he effectively dramatised his creatures, such as the roaring lion, for this purpose of publicity. 
Nigel Tattersfield has chosen to include a significant number of examples of ephemera to illustrate the breadth of workshop production.  These include the 1767 'George and Dragon', all sorts of tickets, banknotes, etc., but there are also fine pulls of the Chillingham Bull and Whitley Large Ox.

Monday, 24 October 2011

THOMAS BEWICK: A Beginner’s Guide

Thursday 27 October 2011

THOMAS BEWICK: A Beginner’s Guide

A lecture by Dr Peter Quinn to accompany the exhibition Good Times, Bad Times, All Times Get Over. The exhibition will be open before and after the lecture.
This exhibition and talk are part of the programme for the International Print Biennale taking place across the region 17 September – 19 November 2011.
Free Entry.
Date and time: Thursday 27 October  6.30pm.
Venue:  The Queen’s Hall Arts Centre, Beaumont Street, Hexham, Northumberland, NE46 3LS
Contact: Booking required with the box office Queen’s Hall.  Tel 01434 652 477 or

Sunday, 23 October 2011

Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver

Shinsuke Minegishi gives a demonstration of wood engraving in the gallery, the relief printing process used by Thomas Bewick. The Last day of the exhibition Thomas Bewick, 'Tale-pieces' is Sunday October 30, last week to view! not to be missed...
Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver
555 Nelson Street, Vancouver, BC V6R 6R5
Shinsuke Minegishi's website is here.

Wednesday, 19 October 2011


In your precious art you are raised
delicate species fresh, alive
with every searching niche of blade, 
on metalled tints of bone
in flesh, conceived.
Today, our clear eye can review
that aggregate of animals
and spreading plants which grew;
now your thoughts to Cherryburn
are our adoption.
Through sludge of field flung back
from my drag of parting feet,
crossing matted rural lands
you swept in light and shade,
a lock of trees
inside a border to engrave.
Gordon Phillips  

Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Good Times, Bad Times, All Times Get Over

Saturday 15 October to Saturday 19 November 2011
Good Times, Bad Times, All Times Get Over
Work by Thomas Bewick, Graham Gussin, Lutz and Guggisberg, and Bedwyr Williams
Queen'sHall Arts Centre, Beaumont Street, Hexham, Northumberland, NE46 3LS.
Open Monday to Saturday from 10am-4pm.
Thursday 27 October at 6.30pm.
Thomas Bewick: A Beginners Guide. A lecture to accompany the exhibition Good Times, Bad Times, All Times Get Over.
Dr Peter Quinn on Bewick and his importance today.
Contact box office at Queen's Hall 01434 652 477 or email:
The gallery will be open so people can take a look at the show before/after the talk.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

Thomas Bewick and Woodengraving

Dr Jaap Harskamp on Bewick and the history of book illustration.
Recent entry in the interesting blog Letter & Layout – the rest is cultural history

Bath Book Fair

The Bath Book Fair takes place on Saturday 15th October (1-6pm).
One of the highlights of the fair is a copy of British Birds signed by Thomas Bewick.
Details here.

Friday, 7 October 2011

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.
(from Armstrong's new book 'Splinters', Hill Salad Books)

Monday, 3 October 2011

Jane Eyre in cinemas now.

In the recent 'Jane Eyre' film Bewick is appropriately noticed, sort of!  In the Reeds' house, notably said to be at Gateshead, the young Jane looks at British Birds, as in the novel. But it is the kingfisher that attracts her attention rather than the Arctic scenes that particularly moved her in the original.  At least British Birds reappears when Jane returns to the deathbed of Aunt Reed, indicating that the director had noticed something of the extent to which 'Jane Eyre' is structured around Bewick and bird metaphors.
You can get a sense of the film's use of gothic horror from a video on the imdb site:
Jane Eyre Featurette (Behind the Scenes)
Jane Eyre stars Mia Wasikowska, Michael Fassbender and Jamie Bell. It is directed by Cary Fukunaga and the writers credited are Charlotte Brontë (novel), Moira Buffini (screenplay)

"A mousy governess who softens the heart of her employer soon discovers that he's hiding a terrible secret."
In cinemas now.
The passage in which Jane reads Bewick's British Birds ends:

"The words in these introductory pages connected themselves with the succeeding vignettes, and gave significance to the rock standing up alone in a sea of billow and spray; to the broken boat stranded on a desolate coast; to the cold and ghastly moon glancing through bars of cloud at a wreck just sinking. I cannot tell what sentiment haunted the quite solitary churchyard, with its inscribed headstone; its gate, its two trees, its low horizon, girdled by a broken wall, and its newly-risen crescent, attesting the hour of eventide.The two ships becalmed on a torpid sea, I believed to be marine phantoms. The fiend pinning down the thief's pack behind him, I passed over quickly:  it was an object of terror.So was the black horned thing seated aloof on a rock, surveying a distant crowd surrounding a gallows.
Each picture told a story; mysterious often to my undeveloped understanding and imperfect feelings, yet ever profoundly interesting:  as interesting as the tales Bessie sometimes narrated on winter evenings, when she chanced to be in good humour; and  when, having brought her ironing-table to the nursery hearth, she allowed us to sit  about it, and while she got up Mrs. Reed's lace frills, and crimped her nightcap borders, fed our eager attention with passages of love and adventure taken from old fairy tales and other ballads; or (as at a later period I discovered) from the pages of Pamela, and Henry, Earl of Moreland.
With Bewick on my knee, I was then happy:  happy at least in my way.
I feared nothing but interruption,”
Jane Eyre 1847 Chapter One.

Friday, 23 September 2011


Saturday 24 September 2011
This year we are grateful to Newcastle City Library for allowing us to hold our AGM in their splendid Bewick Hall once again.
After the business of the AGM we will be showing a nostalgic short film 'The Bewick Man.' This documentary, made in the 1980s as a North East BBC production, takes the form of an interview with the Society's President Iain Bain in his home and discusses his enthusiasm for Thomas Bewick.
We acknowledge our thanks to the BBC for permission to show the film to our members and to the Natural History Society of Northumbria who own the copy of the original film.
Date and time: Saturday 24 September at 2.00 (AGM) for 2.30 (film).
Venue: The Bewick Hall, Newcastle City Library, Charles Avison Building, 33, New Bridge Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8AX.

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

Freda and Esmeralda

Review of Tale-pieces in Vancouver.

Art_cag2_2282 review of Tale-pieces in Vancouver.
"New director Nigel Price puts stamp on downtown space, handing out magnifying glasses and introducing a 1960s pop-artist nun
By Robin Laurence,
Thomas Bewick: Tale-pieces
Corita Kent: To Create is to Relate
At the Contemporary Art Gallery until October 30"
"Clearly, Prince believes that Bewick’s tiny wood engravings continue to resonate in the 21st century. They speak, he suggests, to our relationship with our natural environment, our treatment of animals, our human frailties—and our mortality. Designed as tailpieces to fill spaces between paragraphs and chapters in the natural-history books that he was acclaimed for illustrating, Bewick’s prints depict peaceful scenes of pastoral life, but also register his keen sense of justice and psychological nuance.
The 100-plus Bewick works, two to a framed page, are best viewed with a magnifying glass (available in the annex) to fully reveal their exquisitely executed observations of life. There are charming vignettes here of fishing, farming, and ships at anchor; there are also hanged men, suicides, and children torturing animals. A cruel man beats his starving horse, a glutton pukes up his dinner, and a toddler wanders, alone and in peril, while her nursemaid canoodles with some guy in the bushes.
Linking the Bewicks thematically to the Corita Kent show are a commitment to social justice and a desire to make art widely accessible to the public. Born Frances Kent in Iowa in 1918, the artist took the name Sister Mary Corita when she joined the Order of the Immaculate Heart of Mary in Los Angeles in 1936. As artist, teacher, and activist, she gave community-based screen-printing workshops at the order’s art centre while also producing a large body of her own emphatic work. Eventually, she left the order, moved to Boston, and made art under the single moniker Corita."

Full text here :

Monday, 12 September 2011

Thomas Bewick Contemporary Artist

From a review of Tale-pieces in the Vancouver Sun newspaper:
"But more than that are the ideas and scenes he's depicting. They show a curious, ironic and observant mind at work. They collapse the two centuries between then and now. Creating an exhibition with Bewick's engravings to redefine contemporary was very much on the mind of Nigel Prince, who took over as the CAG's executive director in January.
"I think it's important curatorially to question what is the meaning of contemporary art. Does contemporary art mean something made yesterday? Does contemporary have more to do with ideas and issues and the propositions in an artist's work? Those are issues are evident in the images, which are relevant to concerns today.""
Centuries-old engravings still cut deep, Works depict human cruelty and injustice.. By Kevin Griffin, Vancouver Sun September 10, 2011
Click here to read the full review:

Friday, 9 September 2011

Good Times, Bad Times, All Times Get Over

Curated for the Queen’s Hall Gallery by Jonathan Watkins (Director, IKON Gallery Birmingham) and presented as part of the International Print Biennale, Good Times, Bad Times, All Times Get Over is a rare opportunity to see prints by the extraordinary nineteenth century wood engraver and ornithologist Thomas Bewick and contemporary responses to his work by artists Graham Gussin, Lutz and Guggisberg, and Bedwyr Williams.

A special Ikon exhibition for the International Print Biennale 2011 at Queen's Hall in Hexham.
Good Times, Bad Times, All Times Get Over is centred on the vignettes of British wood engraver, artist and naturalist Thomas Bewick (1753-1828). Clearly influenced by his childhood in the North East, these tiny scenes of everyday rural life provide an invaluable insight into social history while also demonstrating Bewick's imagination and wit. Taking its title from Bewick's depiction of a gravestone with the words "Good Times, Bad Times, All Times Get Over", we show 24 of his 'tale-pieces' alongside the work of four contemporary artists: Graham Gussin, Swiss duo Lutz and Guggisberg and Bedwyr Williams.
Queen's Hall Arts Centre, 15th October - 19th November 2011, Monday to Saturday, 10am - 4pm
Beaumont Street, Hexham, NE46 3LS
Tel: 01434 652477
International Print Biennale brings museums and galleries across the north east together to celebrate printmaking from around the world. Find out about exhibitions, special events and classes from 17 September to 19 November 2011.


Wednesday, 7 September 2011

York National Book Fair

The Bewick Society have a stall at this year's York Book Fair.
We're on the Upper Mezzanine Level,
Knavesmire Suite,
York Racecourse,
YO23 1EX

Friday Sept 9th 2011
12 noon - 7pm
Saturday Sept 10th 2011
10am - 5pm
Admission on the door: £2.00

See you there.

Monday, 5 September 2011

Keith Armstrong Book Launch Invitation

Keith Armstrong writes:
"I am launching .. 2 books .. at the Red House, Quayside, Newcastle on Tuesday 6th September 7.30pm. All are welcome - admission free. Best wishes Keith"
The books are
The Month of the Asparagus: Selected Poems

Both books contain poems on Thomas Bewick.

Listen to Keith reading his poems on Soundcloud. />

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Bewick in Vancouver

From the website of the Contemporary Art Gallery, Vancouver:
"The CAG will present the first exhibition in North America devoted entirely to the vignettes of British wood engraver, artist and naturalist Thomas Bewick. Born in Cherryburn, near Mickley, Northumberland in 1753, Bewick worked in Newcastle until his death in 1828. Clearly influenced by his childhood on a small farm on the banks of the river Tyne, Bewick's love of the countryside is reflected in his detailed woodcuts of animals, birds and rural scenes. Amongst his most ambitious projects were illustrations for General History of Quadrupeds (1790) and History of British Birds (two volumes, 1797 and 1804), both of which also included a great number of vignettes. Bewick referred to these as ‘tale-pieces'. Intended as illustrations of 'some truth or point of some moral' they provide an invaluable insight into social history while also demonstrating the artist's imagination and wit."
Exhibition runs SEP 8, 2011 to OCT 30, 2011
555 Nelson Street
Vancouver, British Columbia
Canada V6B 6R5

A Walk from Cherryburn to Ovingham


Sunday 4 September 2011
(Please note the change of date from Saturday 3 to Sunday 4)

A Walk from Cherryburn to Ovingham

Come and join us on a short post lunch walk to Ovingham and back exploring Bewick’s childhood by the Tyne. Meet and park at Cherryburn and bring appropriate footwear.
Refreshments will be available to buy from the Cherryburn farmhouse shop on our return.
Distance approx 3 miles round trip.

Date and time: Sunday 4 September 2011 at 1.30pm prompt.
Venue: Cherryburn, Station Road, Mickley Square, near Stocksfield, Northumberland NE43 7DD.
Contact: June Holmes: The Bewick Society, c/o The Natural History Society of Northumbria, The Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4PT.

Thursday, 18 August 2011

John Grundy video on Youtube Channel

The popular video "Thomas Bewick" (2003) featuring John Grundy is now available on Youtube in 5 bite-size episodes.

Sunday, 14 August 2011

Cherryburn thanks

Many thanks to all those who came along to Cherryburn today to celebrate Thomas Bewick's 258th birthday. Thanks to the National Trust and its wonderful volunteers for making us all welcome.
Stars of the show were the Russian book-plate artists of 1989. We re-lived the "Bewick Museum" book-plate exhibition, examining the 91 entries retrieved from the archive at Cherryburn.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Wood Engraving Classes & Courses at Northern Print

Northern Print are running two courses led by Chris Daunt. There are still places left. Contact Northern Print for all the relevant details, bookings etc. This from their brochure:

Wood Engraving with Chris Daunt
During this course, leading wood engraver Chris Daunt will guide you    through this fascinating process. You will be shown how to transfer a   simple image on to a wood block, how to use specialist tools to cut the block and then how to ink and print it. All tools and materials are provided and there will be the opportunity to purchase additional materials at the end of the course. Suitable for beginners.
Thursday 11 August (1 day course)
10am-5pm | £55 | £49.50 concession

Ex Libris: Design & Print a Book Plate
Leading Wood Engraver Chris Daunt will be running a wood engraving course over 6 evenings, which will result in you producing your very own book plate. Chris will take you through the tradition of book plates (also known as Ex Libris) and will then help you to design, cut and print your book plate as a wood engraving. No experience is required – suitable for complete beginners. You could make one for yourself or even as a Christmas gift for someone.
    Wednesdays 14, 21, 28 September & 5, 12, 19 October
     6pm-8.30pm | £150 | £135 concession (6 sessions)

Northern Print  Stepney Bank  Newcastle upon Tyne  NE1 2NP
Tel: 0191 261 7000 Fax: 0191 261 6700 Minicom: 0191 261 6710
Find Northern Print here:
Chris Daunt has a website here:

Friday, 5 August 2011


Every year the Bewick Society meets at Cherryburn to honour the birthday of our distinguished figurehead. Bewick maintained that he was born on Lammas Day, the 12th of August, so this year we are only two days late with our celebrations.
We will be continuing our 'after lunch conversation' format with a series of short discussions. This is an excellent opportunity to meet the experts of the Bewick Society, show them your collection and maybe join in the after lunch conversations. There is usually a very tasty Birthday Cake!
Date and time: Sunday 14 August from 1-4pm. Northumbrian music at 1pm. Followed by light afternoon conversation 2-4pm.
Venue: Cherryburn, Station Road, Mickley Square, near Stocksfield, Northumberland NE43 7DD.
Admission: Admission charges apply. National Trust and Bewick Society members free on production of a valid membership card.

Thursday, 4 August 2011

Piñata Attack

Piñata Attack by Bewick Society
Piñata Attack, a photo by Bewick Society on Flickr.

Stewart Thirkell's Surprise Farewell Party, Cherryburn, Thursday 4th August.

Colleagues, friends and volunteers gathered to wish him well and to say thank you for twenty years of service at Cherryburn.

Click on the photograph to see others on the Bewick Society Flickr pages.

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

The Bewick Revolution

Uglow on Tattersfield by Bewick Society
Uglow on Tattersfield, a photo by Bewick Society on Flickr.
Jenny Uglow on Nigel Tattersfield's "Thomas Bewick: the Complete Illustrative Work":

"The workshop slowly declined, but Bewick's fame endured, and these superb volumes are a fine memorial to his business and his craft, and to the work of all those who toiled alongside him."

The Times Literary Supplement, July 22 2011 No.5651, p.11.

See also the Then and Now feature on p.16 which looks back to a review by Hanns A. Hammelmann of three books on Thomas Bewick. From January 1954 Hammelmann writes of Bewick the "Master Craftsman".

"Then and Now" can be read in full here on the TLS website.

Friday, 15 July 2011

Bible at Cherryburn

Shared with the Bewick Society on Facebook, the story surrounding the Hadaway family bible. Malta, Smyrna, North Shields and Leith all feature in this history of a sea-faring family.
Read the "Story of Dixon Hadaway and Teresa Rivans"  by Safeena Hutchison here
The bible has recently been restored and is held as part of the collection at Cherryburn.

Wednesday, 1 June 2011


Contemporary Relief Print Exhibition
You are invited to submit 1 or 2 relief prints (woodcuts, wood engravings, linoprints etc) for inclusion in the 74th Annual Exhibition of the Society of Wood Engravers.

Submission dates: 18 – 23 July 2011

Download full details and submission forms from
or email:

The exhibition opens at the Art Jericho Gallery, Oxford on 22 September and will tour venues around the country, including the Bankside Gallery, London, until Summer 2012.

All prints to be sent unmounted and unframed. Selected prints will be framed by the Society. For further information contact:

Prizes totalling £1050 will be awarded.

Wednesday, 25 May 2011

Bewick in Southern Illinois

The Special Collections Research Center at Morris Library, Southern Illinois University Carbondale has recently acquired a portfolio of Bewick engravings oublished in 1970 by the Cherryburn press.
You can read about the edition and its display on the Center's blog "Raiders of the Lost Archives" here.

"The Cherryburn Press edition of Bewick prints recently acquired by SCRC contains a selection of 100 Bewick wood engravings, printed from the original blocks in 1970. Although Bewick carved the blocks in the late 18th and early 19th centuries, this edition shows even and detailed impressions, demonstrating the longevity of engravings on end grain wood. By contrast, traditional woodcuts tend to warp and lose detail over time. The blocks used for this edition are housed in the Newberry Library in Chicago."

 Two prints from the portfolio are currently on display in the Morris Library as part of the exhibit “Bringing Light Out of Darkness: A History of Woodblock Printing.”

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Fiona Houston at Cherryburn

You can read an account of Fiona Houston's recent visit to Cherryburn on the Saraband blog.
Click here to read "History Everywhere".

"Cherryburn is situated in a beautiful, rolling part of Northumberland along the Tyne Valley. It would scarcely be possible to have visited on a lovelier spring day, with all the fresh greens of the new leaves clothing the hillsides, set off by blossoms and the hawthorn, with bluebells in the garden (which now even includes a croquet lawn!), and vistas of green to the north."

Photo: Fiona Houston at Cherryburn, with Tyne Valley view, Saraband.

Monday, 9 May 2011

Paul Scott's Gateshead

Soon to be unveiled is an artwork specially commissioned to celebrate Gateshead, its history and people.
 Read about the commission on the artist's blog here.

The Evening Times has had a sneek preview of the brick-based piece.

"Around 200 of various sizes fit into the box to give the viewer a snapshot of Gateshead.
From boating on Saltwell Park to rare breeds at Bill Quay Farm, and Thomas Bewick engravings to famous sons such as Joseph Swan and William Wailes.
Almost everything in the box comes from Gateshead, including pieces of coal, iron, glass and wood from a pit prop - and even a piece of rubble from the Get Carter Car Park and a souvenir plate from the 1990 National Garden Festival he bought on eBay.
Paul will launch the artwork at the Shipley in July.

Sunday, 17 April 2011

Bewick's Tyne

Sudheer Gupta's film Black River Business is the result of a year spent at Durham university's Institute of Advanced Study (IAS). Success in cleaning-up the  rivers of the North East is contrasted with the lamentable condition of the river Yamuna, Delhi. He calls the latter "a putrid black drain."

The Guardian's Blog, The Northener, highlights the description of the pre-industrial Tyne left in Thomas Bewick's Memoir.

"Black River Business pays tribute to the billions paid in the north east clean-up by Northumbrian Water, energised at every step by conservationist campaigners and volunteers to get the rivers back into the sparkling state described by Thomas Bewick. In his 18th century youth, the future engraver larked in the Tyne with his friends, enraging the local vicar by floating past the church on inaccessible rafts, shrilling out childish taunts."

Visit the Northerner Blog for details of the free premiere at the Tyneside Cinema on 19th April.
More details here.

Thursday, 14 April 2011

Book Launch in the press

On Tuesday the 12th April the Bewick Society hosted a book launch at the Newcastle City Library for Nigel Tattersfield's "Thomas Bewick, The Complete Illustrative Work."
The book is in three volumes and is published by the British Library. See their website for further details. 

The Journal's Tony Henderson quotes June Holmes of the Bewick Society: “We wanted to honour 20 years of hard work on the author’s part. Thomas Bewick is a major artist for the North East and we wanted the book to be launched here rather than in London.”

The Journal's article continues:
“The workshop handled everything from engraved dog collars, soup ladles and brass clocks to 200 engraved swords for the Duke of Northumberland’s militia, and the book illustrations were really the tip of the iceberg,” said Mr Tattersfield.
“Bewick was running what was really an engraving factory as Newcastle developed and the book is the first exhaustive account of the illustrations turned out by the workshop.
“It has taken 20 years but I felt it was worth the time.”
During his research, the writer discovered illustrations by Bewick for an 18th century children’s Mother Goose book, which was then reprinted.
“It was one of the most important children’s books ever produced and Bewick was commissioned to illustrate it before he was famous,” said Mr Tattersfield."

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Tale-pieces in Dynamic Views for Readers

You can now view Tale-pieces in a number of new ways courtesy of Blogger's Dynamic Views.
Read this article first for browser requirements and simple instructions.

All about Dynamic Views for Readers

Monday, 28 March 2011


Flock is at Northern Print, Newcastle from 17 March until 4 June 2011.

"Local engraver and naturalist, Thomas Bewick (1753 – 1828) published his first volume of the History of British Birds in 1797. His reputation travelled far and wide and, a year before his death, the American naturalist John James Audubon came to visit Bewick. Bewick helped Audubon who went on to publish his acclaimed ‘Birds of America’ which includes a now rare bird the ‘Bewick Wren’ named after his friend and supporter.
Specimen Colony by Alec Finlay hints at this connection with his flat-pack bird box prints taking their inspiration from international postage stamps, many which reproduce Audubon’s famous illustrations.
This exhibition takes a contemporary view and includes works by Craigie Aitchison, Elizabeth Blackadder. Stephen Chambers, Alec Finlay, Angela Harding, Anita Klein, Sara Ogilvie, Joe Tilson & Fiona Watson and demonstrates a variety of printmaking techniques including screenprinting, etching & relief printing."

See Northern Print website for more details. 

Illustrated: Medlar Medler, screenprint by Stephen Chambers.

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Bewick at IMMA.

Books, prints and a block by Thomas Bewick are on show in Dublin at the Irish Museum of Modern Art (IMMA) from 23rd March until 12th June 2011.

They form part of the 'Old Master Prints: The Madden Arnholz Collection' exhibition.
The Museum at the Royal Hospital, Kilmainham gives further details on their website here.

'The Madden Arnholz Collection was generously donated by Claire Madden to the Royal Hospital in 1989 in memory of her daughter and son-in-law.  It includes some 1,200 Old Master prints – the collection of engravings by Hogarth alone numbers over 500 works and is among the most comprehensive print collections in existence by the artist.  The Collection also includes works donated in October 1998 following Claire Madden’s death.  These include a large collection of books containing prints by the English printmaker Thomas Bewick and his family, as well as unusual versions of the prints on silk and one of Bewick’s printing blocks, of which will also be included in the exhibition.
The original Madden Arnholz Collection was first shown at the RHK in 1987 before it was donated and shown again at IMMA featuring the Hogarth prints in 2007.  This exhibition consists of approximately 35 books from the Thomas Bewick collection and 80 Old Master prints. '

You can read an account of the collector's background here.

 The exhibition is curated by Janet and John Banville.

Illustration: Rembrandt van Rijn, The Great Jewish Bride, 1635. Etching, 21.3 x 6.2 cm. Collection Irish Museum of Modern Art. Donation, Madden / Arnholz Collection, 1989.

Wednesday, 23 March 2011

Ill Met by Moonlight

The new edition of the Cherryburn Times (Volume 5, number 8) presents a rare scoop: the discovery and identification of a previously unknown watercolour by John Bewick.

"The three main figures are unambiguously villainous. The one on the left is seated on the ground, loading his pistol, ramming a wad down the barrel; on his right on the ground is a gunpowder pouch and on the ground by his knees is a cudgel. His top hat is at a rakish angle on top of unkempt hair. The man standing next to him on his left is holding his right hand to his ear with his left hand on the shoulder of the first figure in a warning gesture, as if he has heard the coach approaching. His head is turned to his left, listening, but his eyes are looking meaningfully down right. Under his left arm is a cudgel and in his left coat pocket the handles of two pistols are seen; his hat is lying on the ground in front of him. The third figure is a one-eyed man with a broad-brimmed hat stooped, perhaps on his knees, rummaging through a long bag, his head turned to his right. The men are footpads rather than highwaymen (who would normally be mounted). The trees in the centre and right are depicted with thick, bunched foliage somewhat like broccoli. The whole scene is suffused with threat and criminal intent – the expressions on the faces of the three main figures are nasty and brutish."

Playfully named "Ill-met by Moonlight" by the editor of the Cherryburn Times, the watercolour measures 158mm x190mm and is owned by a private collector.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Visions of the Jinn: Illustrators of the Arabian Nights

Robert Irwin has written a history of the various Western editions of The Arabian Nights from the eighteenth to the twentieth century.

Edward Lane's 'The Thousand and One Nights' of 1839-41 featured illustrations by William Harvey. Harvey (1796-1866) was one of Bewick's favourite apprentices and had worked on blocks for Aesops Fable (1818).

Irwin writes that Lane:

"thought that the stories of the Nights could serve as an introduction to everyday life in the Middle East. (Never mind about the flying horse, the jinn, the Roc, the magic lamp and the Old Man of the Sea.) His copious endnotes furthered his didactic aim and so did the illustrations. William Harvey, a pupil of Thomas Bewick and one of Britain's leading engravers, did the boxwood engravings, but Lane stood at his shoulder, checking the look of things and providing previously published engravings of Egyptian and Moorish architecture for him to copy. In general, the purpose of the pictures was not to stimulate the imagination or supplement the storyline, but to introduce the British reader to the authentic look of the Arab world. Just occasionally Harvey was licensed to use his imagination, as with his marvellous depiction of the giant jinni in "The Story of the City of Brass", or the battle of magical transformations in "The Story of the Second Dervish"."

Read Irwin's account of his research here.

His book Irwin, R., 2011. Visions of the Jinn: Illustrators of the Arabian Nights, The Arcadian Library can be found here.

Illustration: Lane in Turkish Costume, found here.

Friday, 18 February 2011

Magda with Flowers

The "Print to Impress" at the Biscuit Factory provides a chance to see Chris Daunt's award-winning wood engraving "Magda with Flowers".
Read about the show here.

Also on show are works by Horsley Printmakers who are based at The Hearth in the Northumberland village of Horsley.
More info on Horsley Printmakers here.
Find more about The Biscuit Factory here.
The show runs from March 11 - May 3rd 2011.
Illustrated: Wood engraving - Magda with Flowers © Chris Daunt

Thursday, 27 January 2011

Bewick's Fox

Patrick Thomas talks to Outline Editions about his Bewick-inspired prints including Foxes and Hound (Inverted).

Photographs from Studio LaVista, Barcelona here.

"In all of these pieces I’m taking Bewick’s image and reinventing it, paying homage to it. The final image in the series is the big wood cutting. It’s the first wood cut I’ve done in about twenty years. I hand cut it into a bit of beech over the course of about ten days. I loved the idea of getting as close as possible to Bewick’s own experience of mark making."