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one, which was furnished by Mr. Pollard, the engraver, an early acquaintance of the Bewicks, all of which were beautifully engraved by his brother Thomas.
In 1797 Messrs. Beilby and Bewick published the first volume of the "History of British Birds, comprising the Land-birds." This work contains an account of the various feathered tribes, either constantly residing in, or occasionally visiting our island. While Bewick was engraving the cuts (almost all faithfully delineated from nature), Mr. Beilby was engaged in furnishing the written descriptions. Some unlucky misunderstandings having arisen about the appropriation of this part of the work, a separation of interests took place between the parties; and the compilation and completion of the second volume, on "British Water-Birds," devolved on Mr. Bewick alone: subject, however, to the literary corrections of the Rev. Henry Cotes, Vicar of Bedlington. In the whole of this work the drawings are minutely accurate, and express the natural delicacy of feather, down, and foliage, in a manner peculiarly happy. And the variety of the vignettes, and the genius and humour displayed in the whole of them, (illustrating, besides, in a manner never before attempted, the habits of the birds, &c. &c.) stamp a value on the work even superior to the former publication on quadrupeds. This, as well as the work on quadrupeds, has passed through many editions, with and without the letter-press.
Mr. Bewick's next works were on a larger scale, four very spirited and accurate representations of a zebra, an elephant, a lion, and a tiger, from the collection and for the use of Mr. Pidcock, the celebrated exhibitor of wild beasts. A few proofs were taken of each, which are very scarce.
In 1818 he published a collection of Fables, entitled "The Fables of ^Esop and others, with Designs by Thomas Bewick." This work has not been received by the public with a favour which its unquestionable merit might have expected.
In 1820 Mr. Emerson Charnley, bookseller in Newcastle, having purchased, of Messrs. Wilson of York, a large collection of wood-cuts, which had been engraved by Messrs. Bewick for various works printed by Mr. Thomas Saint of Newcastle, conceived the design of employing them in the illustration of a volume of Select Fables. Though aware that Mr. Bewick wished it to be fully understood that he hail no wish "to feed the whimsies of bibliomanists," as he himself expressed it (and was perhaps a little jealous of all the imperfections of his youth being set before the public), yet the editor conceived that he was rendering to the curious in wood-engraving a very acceptable acquisition, by thus rescuing from destruction so many valuable specimens of the early talents of the fathers of the revival of this elegant art. They were thus enabled to study the gradual advance towards excellence of these ingenious artists from their very earliest beginnings, and to trace the promise of talents afterwards so conspicuously developed. To this work a well-written memoir of Mr. Bewick was prefixed, together with a list of his principal works, to which we have been much indebted.
Mr. Bewick, however, was also engaged from time to time, by himself and his various pupils, in furnishing embellishments to various other works, which it is now impossible to particularise. One may be mentioned, a " Medical Botany," by Dr. Thornton. But as Mr. Bewick had no knowledge of this department of natural science, the cuts engraved for this work were merely servile copies of the drawings sent, executed with great exactness indeed, but not at all con amore. It is believed that the work itself obtained very little of the public attention.
Several of the later years of Mr. Bewick's life were, in part at least, devoted to a work on British Fishes. A number of very accurate drawings were made by himself, and more by his son Robert, whose accuracy of delineation is perhaps equal to his father's. From twenty to thirty of these had been actually engraved, and a very large proportion (amounting to more than a hundred) of vignettes, consisting of river and sea-coast scenery, the humours of fishermen and fishwomen, the exploits of birds of prey in fish-taking, &c. It is hoped that Mr. Robert Bewick will be encouraged to go on with and complete the work.
Mr. Bewick had a continued succession of pupils, many of whom have done the highest honour to their preceptor, and some of whom are now carrying on the art to a stage of advancement to which he himself acknowledges, in a draft of a letter to Mr. Lawford, the publisher of Northcote's Fables, now before us (but never written out and sent), he had never conceived it would arrive. It is almost needless to mention the names of Nesbitt, and above all, Harvey. Others were cut off by death, or still more lamentable circumstances, who would otherwise have done great credit to their master; as Johnson, whose premature death occurred in Scotland, while copying some of the pictures of Lord Breadalbane; Clennell; Ransom; and Hole, whose exquisite vignette in the title-page of Mr. Shepherd's Poggio, gave the highest promise, but he was stopped in a more agreeable way by succeeding to a handsome fortune.
The last project of Mr. Bewick's was to improve at once the taste and morals of the lower classes, particularly in the country, by a series of blocks on a large scale, to supersede the wretched (sometimes immoral) daubs with which the walls of cottages are too frequently clothed. A cut of an Old Horse, intended to head an Address on Cruelty to that noble animal, was his last production: the proof of it was brought to him from the press only three days before he died.
It may be observed, that in the works of the early masters in the art of engraving on wood, there was certainly little more attempted by them than a bold outline, except the apparent ease with which they introduced the cross-hatching in many of their large blocks. It remained for the burin of Bewick to produce a more complete and finished effect, by displaying a variety of lints, and effecting a perspective, in many of his highly finished engravings, that astonished even the copperplate engraver at the capability of the art. This improvement was completely obtained by slightly lowering the surface of the block where the distance or lighter parts of the engraving were to be shown to perfection, and was first suggested to Mr. Bewick by his early acquaintance Mr. Bulmer, who, during the period of the joint apprenticeships of these young aspirants for fame in their different vocations, invariably took off the proof impressions of Bewick's blocks at the printing-office of his master in the Burnt House Entry in the Side, where Mr. Bulmer received the first rudiments of his art. At this office he printed for his friend the engraving of the Huntsman and Old Hound, which, as has already been observed, obtained for our young artist a small premium from the Society of Arts in London.
Of the numerous pupils of Bewick, few of them have pursued the exact manner of their master. They have, however, produced specimens, which, for delicacy of execution, could hardly have been contemplated by the warmest admirers of the art. In a 4to volume entitled " Religious Emblems," with descriptions of the Scriptural subjects from the pen of the Rev. Mr. Thomas, chaplain to the Earl of Cork and Orrery, published some few years ago by Mr. Ackermann of the Strand, we have the best and united efforts of both the Nesbits, Clennell, Branston, Hole, &c. which assuredly form a very superior specimen of the varied manner of those artists; but the whole of the blocks in this publication appear an evident attempt to rival, and trench upon the art of engraving on copper, which the most laboured and successful efforts of the engraver on wood, it is feared, will never be able to accomplish. Wood engraving possesses many advantages over copper, which ought never to be relinquished, but it of course fails in many other respects. Mr. Bewick, whose original style was to produce a bold and determined effect by the great breadth of light and shadow he so successfully introduced into his performances, effected it in a great measure by merely leaving certain parts of the blocks untouched by the graver, instead of attempting to introduce the cross-hatching observable in the engravings of Albert Durer and the artists of his time, by which an exquisitely mellow and brilliant tint was obtained, almost equalling in softness the most highly finished drawings in Indian ink. Many of the wood engravings of Mr. Bulmer's edition of Somerville's Chase present the most decided proof that this style of engraving on wood should be invariably pursued in preference to any other.
Having noticed generally the rare talents of Mr. Bewick, as a superior artist in the particular walk of his profession, it may be interesting to the admirers of his graphic acquirements to be made acquainted with a portion of the propensities and whimsicalities in which he indulged both in the early and more matured periods of his life. When a boy, it was his particular amusement to display the first indications of his genius, in making sketches with chalk on almost every barn-door, and on the walls of every cottager's house in the village of Cherry Burn. From this exhibition of Bewick's talent arose his connection with Mr. Beilby, who, accidentally passing through the hamlet which gave birth to our artist, was highly interested by the discovery of such early dawnings of genius. After the necessary introduction to his parents, Mr. Beilby lost no time in securing the youth as his apprentice.
When Bewick was at school in his native village, he, by some unfortunate accident, once happened to offend his worthy schoolmaster in rather an uncommon degree, on which occasion his instructor, to add to the degradation of his punishment, ordered him to go forth and bring him a handful of birch twigs, with which his flagellation was to be inflicted. He instantly left the school; but to show his humour, mixed with a little adroitness and cunning at that early period, instead of procuring the birch he was sent for, in a short time brought, or rather dragged, to the school-room door, the largest bough of a neighbouring tree he could cut down, which pleasant conceit so disarmed the anger of his master, that he immediately remitted his punishment. Bewick used frequently to repeat this exploit of his juvenile ingenuity to his companions with infinite glee.
As a youngster, Bewick on all occasions expressed his utter