Wednesday, 25 October 2017


Our AGM is tomorrow.
After the business of the meeting Dave Harker will give a talk on the development of NE printing, with special reference to slip songs, up to the late 18th century.
Thursday 26 October 2017 at 6-8pm in the All Seeing Eye Function Room. (Business starts at 6.15 approx)
  Function Room, Blackie Boy, 11 Groat Market, Newcastle upon Tyne.

Tuesday, 24 October 2017

Birds Want You To Listen To Their Songs, Juneau Projects

Juneau Projects
Birds Want You To Listen To Their Songs
1 September - 29 October 2017
Cherryburn, National Trust, near Newcastle

 From the Juneau Projects website:

The exhibition is the culmination of our Thomas Bewick Fellowship residency at Cherryburn. The show is inspired by our research into Bewick’s engravings. Alongside this we worked with local school children to get their perspective on the area around Cherryburn.
The exhibition includes low relief sculptures, prints and print blocks, viewfinders and a print kit that allows visitors to mix and match print blocks to create their own ‘tail-pieces’ inspired prints.

Digitising Manuscripts at the Wordsworth Trust

A short video introduction to the digitisation project currently under-way at the Wordsworth Trust. Jaclyn, Assistant to the Curator, is currently photographing over 800 Bewick manuscripts in order to make them accessible to the public.

The Wordsworth Trust are very grateful to the Friends of the National Libraries for their support - without it, this project would not be possible.

Thursday, 5 October 2017

Thomas Bewick, A Long-lost Treasure.

 From the website of Jarndyce Books

An important discovery.
BEWICK, Thomas. The Sketchbook of 1792-1799. Edited with an Introduction & Commentary by Nigel Tattersfield. Jarndyce Antiquarian Booksellers. 2017
Oblong quarto, 182 x 253mm, thread-sewn in decorative paste boards, cloth spine, gilt lettered. Limited to 200 copies, signed by the Editor. ISBN 978-1-910156-15-5.

The emergence of this original sketchbook is a significant event for all who appreciate the superlative qualities of the wood engraver, Thomas Bewick, 1753-1828. It is now reproduced in fine facsimile, with detailed explanatory text by Nigel Tattersfield, the leading authority on Bewick's life and work and superbly designed by Iain Bain, doyen of Bewick studies. Remarkably, it appears that this is the only formal sketchbook Bewick ever employed - he was accustomed to using scraps of paper in his daily work. This volume contains memoranda and jottings relating to his journeys and expenses, preparatory drawings for the History of British Birds, thumbnail sketches of subjects which caught Bewick's eye and, perhaps most importantly, detailed drawings of farmyard animals. These were taken at the behest of 'agricultural gentlemen' - a commission which gave Bewick endless trouble. Eventually, these were used for the fourth edition of the Quadrupeds (1800). There are, in all, over forty images. The commentary, augmented with a map and an additional forty illustrations, makes full use of Bewick's own memoir, his correspondence and his many surviving workbooks, shedding light on the background to this unique document.
Full details here.

Friday, 9 June 2017

Brian Alderson donates rare children’s book collection to Newcastle University and Seven Stories

Long-standing Bewick Society member, Brian Wouldhave Alderson, a Freeman of the City of Newcastle and a renowned children’s literature scholar, is donating his extraordinary collection of children's books to Newcastle University and Seven Stories: The National Centre for Children’s Books. 

Believed to be the largest privately-owned children’s literature collection in the UK, it is made up of more than 20,000 books, dating from the 17th century to the present day. Works come from the United States, France, Germany and Britain, and the collection includes original illustrations and papers related to Brian’s diverse career.

Jill Taylor-Roe, Acting University Librarian at Newcastle University, said: “The Alderson Collection enhances and extends the University Library’s unique and distinctive holdings in Children’s Literature, and together with Seven Stories’ holdings, will create an incredibly rich resource for anyone interested in the history and further development of children’s literature.”

Sarah Lawrence, Collections and Exhibitions Director at Seven Stories: The National Centre for Children’s Books, said: “We are immensely grateful to Brian Alderson for the generous gift of his collection, which includes many rare and unique books – now to be made publicly accessible for the first time – and complements the holdings of Seven Stories and the Philip Robinson Library perfectly.”

Kim Reynolds, Professor of Children’s Literature at Newcastle University, said: ‘We are all excited by this splendid donation. Thanks to Brian’s unique expertise, this collection is full of rare and unusual items, and it will be an invaluable contribution to the work of establishing Newcastle as a world-class centre for the study of children’s books.”

Brian Alderson will also be giving a free talk at the library about his collection, Every book has its own history: Reflections of a collector of children’s books, at 5.30pm on Wednesday 14th June.

To find out more about Brian Alderson’s talk on 14th June, visit:

For more information on Brian Alderson’s work and collection, visit:  

Wednesday, 1 March 2017

John Caffrey (1939-2016)

It is with great sadness that we have learnt of the death of John Caffrey.
John was a regular at Bewick Society meetings. We shall miss his good humour, great knowledge and quiet encouragement. His knowledge of Bewick's Birds was second to none. An enthusiast for the books of Henry David Thoreau, he was delighted to find connections between the American writer and the Northumberland engraver.

Link to the Guardian Other Lives Obituary.