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.