Monday, 19 October 2015

Thomas Bewick's Last Days

Thomas Bewick's Last Days with a Commentary by Iain Bain

From the Fleece Press website:

"Aware that his final days were approaching, Thomas Bewick made a journey – only his second – to London in 1828 in order to dispose of remaining stocks of his books, and to see old friends. The journey began on his 75th birthday, and within three months he had died. He wrote the account of his journey on a single small piece of paper, and his daughter Jane later pasted it into a bound set of corrected proofs of her father's Memoir. Iain Bain, renowned scholar of all that is Bewick, has added a prefatory note and fascinating commentary bringing Bewick's account to life.
200 copies have been printed, all bearing one engraving by Thomas Bewick (his silhouette portrait of his friend Robert Pollard) printed from the block, and of these, 100 have an extra TB engraving, of his smaller version of Waiting for Death, printed by Iain Bain from the original block for the book. The standard copies carry this engraving but only in reproduction; Iain Bain has also signed each special copy of the book under TB's own facsimile wood-engraved signature, printed from the block. All copies are bound in quarter cloth and a wonderful marbled paper made by Antonio Velez Celemin for the book; the special copies are housed in a Cheviot tweed pouch made for the book by Sally Lucas.
This is a small book of 34 pages with six tipped-in illustrations, as well as a hand-coloured title page..."

All enquiries to
Simon Lawrence, The Fleece Press, 95 Denby Lane, Upper Denby, Huddersfield HD8 8TZ .
Telephone 01226 792200; email 

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

The Art of Thomas Bewick by Diana Donald

Review in the New York Review of Books by Julian Bell.

"England’s Great Neglected Artist"

“We no longer nowadays salute ‘Nature’ with the unhesitating confidence invested in the concept by Audubon or by writers such as William Wordsworth, another of Bewick’s numerous admirers. And yet Diana Donald’s impressive recent study, The Art of Thomas Bewick, demonstrates the surprising resilience of the American visitor’s assessment. At the end of her scrupulous inquiry into the political, religious, and cultural circumstances in which Bewick’s work was undertaken, the Northumbrian natural historian still stands, however we interpret him, as an innovator rather than an imitator, and as an artist who worked, as much as any artist can, from freshly won experience rather than by cleaving to cultural precedent.”—New York Review of Books

You can find the review online here.
(Although you'll need a subscription to read the whole article.)

Tuesday, 15 September 2015


Peter Brown,   ‘Jackdaw’

Winner of the Bewick Prize at the Society of Wood Engravers' Annual Exhibition.
It will be on show
6th – 24th October 2015
78th Annual Exhibition of the Society of Wood Engravers
The North Wall Arts Centre
South Parade
Oxford OX2 7JN
Private View: Saturday 10th October 3.00pm – 5.00pm (after the AGM)
Open Monday – Friday 10.00am – 4.00pm, Saturday 12.00 – 4.00pm.
Closed Sundays.
Telephone: 01865 319450

Friday, 14 August 2015

Cataloguing Bewick's Letters

 "The Wordsworth Trust is home to a vast treasure trove of documents extending beyond just the work of Wordsworth himself. Amongst this collection are kept the letters and notes of the engraver Thomas Bewick. These letters reveal all the little details about Bewick’s life, ranging from letters to and from his business associates to personal letters to his family and friends, before culminating in the letters of his daughter as she attempted to hold her father’s collections together after his death."
Martin Hasted…/08/14/cataloguing-bewicks-lett…/

Martin Hasted is currently working as a Trainee for the Wordsworth Trust. The role is a yearlong placement designed to give trainees experience of working in the heritage sector, and as such encompasses various roles from providing tours of Dove Cottage to working with the Trust’s extensive archival material. Martin is currently working towards cataloguing the large volume of material relating to the engraver Thomas Bewick which was acquired by the Trust in 2013. 

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Walk to Cherryburn.

I regularly pursued my walks & while thus exercising, my mind was commonly engaged in considering upon plans about how I should conduct myself in life & forming resolutions on such as I approved of & of strictly acting upon them…..


I thought nothing of leaving Newcastle (occasionally) after I had done work (7 o clock) in a winters night & setg off to walk to Cherryburn - …. - In my solitary walks ( as before noticed) the first resolution I recollect of having made, was that of living within my income & another, of similar import, was that of never getting anything upon trust…
Thomas Bewick, Memoir p 50 – 1

Peter Quinn will lead us on a walk leaving Cardinal Hume's statue, Bewick Street, Newcastle upon Tyne at 10.30am along the banks on the River Tyne to Cherryburn, Mickley. This is an experiment in retracing Bewick's regular walk to his parents' house. We aim to complete the walk in the shortest time possible. Stout boots required.
Follow the progress of the walkers with Twitter updates en route @BewickSociety.

Thursday, 7 May 2015


Join us for another occasion to hear experts from the Bewick Society talk enthusiastically about their own items or items from the collections of the Natural History Society of Northumbria. The Natural History Society will be exhibiting, for the first time, a recently discovered manuscript notebook by the local bookseller and Bewick enthusiast William Garrett. There will also be an opportunity to see the collection of fine Bewick books recently bequeathed by the late Geoffrey Shaw QC.

Date and time: Saturday 9 May at 1.00pm.
Venue: The Council Room of the Natural History Society of Northumbria,
2nd Floor Hancock Museum, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 4PT.
Admission: Free.
Contact: June Holmes: The Natural History Society of Northumbria, The Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle upon Tyne NE2 4PT. Tel no. 0191 208 5834 or Email

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Chillingham Bulls, Bewick, Darwin and the Prince of Wales

Hancock Museum's Stories from a Stuffed Cow.

Part of the learning resources on the Culture Street website. Gives a brief introduction to the great Thomas Bewick's influence on Charles Darwin.
The resources themselves
help KS2 children understand the practice of writing research papers.

Stories From A Stuffed Cow from RogerLang on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

D.W.S. Gray

Sadly David Gray, long-standing editor of the Cherryburn Times, died on Friday 3rd April after a short spell in hospital. David's passing has been a great shock to family and friends and our thoughts are with them at this time.

David transformed the newsletter of the Bewick Society to a Journal; he inaugurated the Bewick Society website and was a constant presence at Bewick Society events and meetings. An engaging public speaker, in private he was charming, generous and inspiring to colleagues and friends. The Bewick Society shall be much poorer without him. 

David's funeral will be on Friday 24th April at the West Road Crematorium, commencing at 2.45 pm and ending at 3.15.

A celebration of his life will be held in the central library of The Literary and Philosophical Society on Westgate Road later the same day beginning at 5 pm and finishing around 8pm.

This notice appeared in The Times, 14th April 2015

Tuesday, 17 March 2015

National Vote

There's a campaign underway to vote for Britain's National Bird
Bewick illustrated all of the short-listed birds in his British Birds.
7 Land Birds.
3 Water Birds.
You can view the Bewick illustrations on Flickr here

Voting is on the nationalvote website.
Or on twitter #bird_vote

Wednesday, 4 February 2015

In Response to Bewick

Detail of painting by Peter Veitch.

The ‘In Response to Bewick’ exhibition, part of the ‘To Bewick and Back: from Cherryburn into History’ project, features new art by eight University of Sunderland artists. 

All of the works have been inspired by the work of Thomas Bewick and by the artists’ experience of walking through Bewick’s landscape, along the River Tyne, in August and September 2014.

The exhibition can be viewed, 8am-6pm, Mon-Friday, in the Gallery Space of Gateshead Civic Centre, Regent Street, NE8 1HH (ground floor close to Bewick’s Restaurant) 

For more information about WALK and the project that this exhibition is a part of, To Bewick and Back: From Cherryburn into History, please see

The ‘To Bewick and Back’ project is coordinated by the University of Sunderland’s WALK research group assisted by The Bewick Society, the Natural History Society of Northumbria and Gateshead Council. It is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund.

Saturday, 3 January 2015

Dr. Frank Atkinson C.B.E. 1924-2014

Dr Frank Atkinson died on Monday 29 December 2014. Frank was the driving force behind the foundation of the Thomas Bewick Birthplace Trust, the fore-runner of the Bewick Society, and acted as our President for many years.

In the Guardian  writes: "Atkinson was a devoted family man, marrying Joan Pierson in 1953, after she was appointed a junior assistant to Halifax’s museum service. The couple settled with their three sons in Ovingham, Northumberland, where he worked after retirement with the Thomas Bewick Birthplace Trust and as a member of the national Museums and Galleries Commission, since disbanded. He was awarded the CBE in 1995 and was an honorary doctor of civil law at Durham University."

There have been several other appreciations. Here are links to a selection.

Frank Atkinson - the man who built Beamish
Visionary founder of award-winning Beamish Museum dies aged 90
All about Frank Atkinson, the man who made Beamish.