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.