Objects | Art/Craft/Design


Thomas Bewick woodblock, 1800

Cherryburn, National Trust, Northumberland

Fine Art and Sculpture, Literature and Music, Learning and Discovery

1800 – 1899

Thomas Bewick is perhaps Northumberland’s greatest artist: a wood engraver and naturalist who revolutionised print art in Georgian England.

In 1790, Thomas Bewick created his first major book, A General History of Quadrupeds. He set out to illustrate all four-legged creatures known to mankind.

In a world before photographs, Bewick’s engravings provided an accurate picture of animals people would never have seen. This example is a Platypus, which had only been discovered a few years before and had not, by the time of publication,  been named.

Following the success of this book Bewick went on to publish a History of British Birds and Aesop’s Fables.

Bewick’s techniques meant that engraved woodblocks could be printed together with the letterpress text therefore lowering costs of publication in the 19th century.

By Thomas Bewick (1753 – 1828)

On display at Cherryburn, National Trust

Further Bewick collections in the North East :

Newcastle City Library’s Pease Bequest collection
This is named after the collector John William Pease (1836-1901) and includes over 300 books, pictures, woodblocks and artefacts, including Bewick’s own work table and tool chest. When not on display, they can be viewed by appointment. For further details, contact 0191 2774100, or visit the website at www.newcastle.gov.uk/newcastlecollection

Laing Art Gallery
Collections on display in the Northern Spirit Gallery
For more information, see www.laingartgallery.org.uk

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