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PRINTED FOR WILLIAM BLACKWOOD, EDINBURGH; AND

T. CADELL, STRAND, LONDON.

TIL

Want of Room obliges us to omit our usual Lists of Works Published and Preparing, fico

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When reputations have been gain- betrays some faint traces of his genius. ed, still it often happens that few are This success probably incited him to really acquainted with the grounds on the more eager prosecution of this spewhich they rest. Most people have cies of engraving. The result was, that heard of the name of Bewick. Yet the first edition of the History of Quainquire of the many upon what foun- drupeds was published by Mr Beilby dation the fame of this name is built, and himself, for they had now become and, nine times out of ten, the answer partners, in the year 1790. This was shall be,“ upon the excellence of his the spring of his reputation. In 1795, wood engravings.” Even so. Ask what Mr William Bulmer, the well-known sort of excellence, and, upon the se. printer, published the Traveller and cond interrogatory, the catechumen is Deserted Village of Goldsmith, and at a nonplus. We shall be excused if the Hermit of Parnell, with woodWe devote a few pages to the genius cuts by Thomas and John Bewick.and works of Bewick.

The beauty and novelty of the engraThomas Bewick was born in the year vings strongly attracted public atten1753, at Cherryburn, in the parish, and tion. Many, indeed, were at first scepnear the village, of Ovingham, one of tical as to the possibility of such effects the fewlaces in Northumberland being produced from wood. Amongst which can boast of having given birth the incredulous was said to have been to a man of pre-eminent talent. He his late Majesty, who was only conwas educated, together with his young, vinced of the truth by actual inspecer brother John, at Ovingham school, tion of the blocks. In 1796, the Chace then conducted by the Reyerend Chris- of Somerville was published in a simitopher Gregson. At the age of four- lar manner; and, in the same year, teen, he was apprenticed to the late Mr Mr Bewick lost his younger brother Ralph Beilby, engraver at Newcastle- and coadjutor John, who died of conupon-Tyne. At this time, it is said, sumption. He was now rapidly rising he rarely omitted a Sunday's visit to to celebrity; and in the year 1797 was his father at Cherryburn, a distance published the first volume of his Hisof about fourteen miles. Sometimes, tory of British Birds, containing the on his arrival, he would find the river Land Birds. This, perhaps, is the best Tyne too deep to be forded. On such of his works. There is a little anecoccasions he would shout his inquiries dote connected with this publication. across the water, and contentedly re- In one of the tail-pieces, Bewick's turn home. He seems to have early strong delight in satirical humour led turned his attention to that peculiar him a little too far across the debatebranch of his art for which he has able land of decorum. Unconvinced, since become so celebrated. In 1775, however, and inconvincible did he rehe obtained a premium from the So- main, until a considerable number of ciety of Arts for his wood engraving of impressions had got into circulation. the “ Old Hound.” The position of He was then compelled to have the ofthe huntsman's house in this little cut fending part in the remainder of the VOL. XVIII.

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edition daubed over with Indian ink. has any character-like a servant who In the second edition the block is al- has never been at place—not even a tered. The second volume of British bad one. Dog and deer, lark and Birds, consisting of the Water Birds, sparrow, have all airs and countenances was not published until 1804. Lastly, marvellously insipid, and of a most in 1818 were published Select Fables flat similitude. A flock of dandies of Æsop and others, collected and em- would not have a more unintellectual bellished by Thomas Bewick. It may likeness to each other, a more deplobe interesting to some to know, that rable proximity of negation. They the tail-piece at p. 162 of the first edi- are not only all like each other, but tion of this work bears the date of his not one of them like anything worth mother's death ; and that at p. 176 of looking at. A collection of family porhis father's. The final tail-piece is a traits, all “ tenth transmitters of foolview of Ovingham churchyard, in ish faces.” This is no joke. You may which is the family burying-place. buy dear books or cheap books, but if Such is the brief outline of the life you want to know what a bird or and principal works of Bewick. The quadruped is, to Bewick you must go external history of genius is in general at last. Study Bewick, and you know easily told.

a British bird as you know a man, by That Thomas Bewick has been the his physiognomy. You become acgreat improver of the art of wood-en- quainted with him as you do with Mr graving, it is needless to say. He may Tims, to whom you were introduced indeed be called the father of the last Wednesday. You can make him art ; and his fame has, more than any out even at a distance, as sailors say, thing else, been the cause of the ato by " the cut of his jib.” There is no tention which has ever since been paid need, as in other cases, of counting to this species of engraving. It can- primaries and secondaries, or taking not be doubted, however, that, in the an inventory of his tail before you can mere mechanical excellence of his craft identify him. You may admire him, -in fineness of line-in sharpness and as a novel heroine sometimes admires in smoothness, he has been outdone by the hero, altogether for his je ne sçuis some of his pupils. Bewick's excel- quoi--and this is the very quintessence lence is not of the mechanical sort. He of refinement in bird-fancying. will esteem this no left-handed com- It needs only to glance at the works pliment. His fame does not rest upon of Bewick, to convince ourselves with this. It is his graphic tact-the truth what wonderful felicity the very counof his conception and delineation of tenance and air of his ainals are nature, that will carry him down to marked and distinguished. There is posterity. He is in reality, in essence, the grave owl ; the silly wavering lapas one may say, a Painter; and his wing; the pert jay ; the impudent fame rests upon a foundation similar over-fed sparrow; the airy lark; the to that of other painters. It is true sleepy-headed gourmand 'duck; the he uses the graver, not the pencil. It restless titmouse; the insignificant is true he has limited his range of sub- wren; the clean harmless gull; the ject. But the great-the captivating keen 'rapacious kite-every one has cxcellence of Bewick is, nevertheless, character. There are no muffin pictorial. He is great as an admirer faces.” This is far beyond the inere and faithful exhibitor of nature; not pencilling of fur or feathers. It is the us a cutter of fine lines, and a copyist seizureand transfusion of countenance. of the designs of others.

In this, Bewick's skill seems unapOf Bewick's powers, the most ex- proached and unapproachable by any traordinary is the perfect and undevi- other artist who has ever attempted ating accuracy with which he seizes this line. Were he to take the porand transfers to paper the natural ob- traits of our friend James Hogg's prejects which it is his delight to draw. sent flock of sheep, we, Christopher His landscapes are absolute fac-si- North, would bet a thousand gaineas miles ; his animals are whole-length that the shepherd should point out portraits. Other books on natural his- every individual bleater by his “ vistory have fine engravings,—they are nomy,” and this is something. Sir coloured or uncoloured ; copper or Thomas Lawrence could do no more wood, but still, to use a common ex- for the Royal Yacht Club, and the pression, they “ are all tarted with one Congress of Verona. stick.Neither beast nor bird in them Bewick's vignettes are just as remarkable. Take his British Birds, and codger" sitting by the river side, peerin the tail-pieces to these two volumcs ing over his tackle, and putting on a you shall find the most touching pre- brandling? It is needless to recapitusentations of nature in all her forms, late. Bewick's landscapes, in short, animate and inanimate. There are are upon the same principle with his the poachers tracking a hare in the animals. They are, for the most part, snow; and the urchins who have ac- portraits. They are the result of the complished the creation of a “ snow keenest and most accurate observation. man." In the humorous, there are You perceive every stone and bunch the disappointed beggar leaving the of grass has had actual existence. His gate open for the pigs and poultry to moors are north-country moors, neimarch over the good dame's linen ther Scotch nor English. They are the which she is laying out to dry—or, progeny of Cheviot, of Rumpside, of what a methodist. would call profane, Simondside, and of the Carter. The the cat stealing the blind man's dinner tail-piece of the old man, pointing out whilst he is devoutly saying grace-or to his boy an ancient monumental the thief who sees devils in every bush stone, reminds one of the Milfield and stump of a tree-a sketch that Plain and Flodden Field. Having only Hogarth himself might envy: Then, delineated that in which he himself in another strain, there is the strayed has taken delight, we may deduce his infant standing at the horses' heels, character from his pictures. His heartand pulling its tail, the mother in an ed love of his native county, its sceagony flying over the stile-the sports. nery, its manners, its airs, its men and man who has slipped into the torrent; women; his propensity and the blind man and boy unconsci

“by himself to wander ous of “ Keep on this side.” In the Adown some trotting burn's meander, satiric there is that best of burlesques

An' no think lang;”. upon military, pomp, the four urchins his intense observation of nature and astride of gravestones for horses, the human life ; his satirical and somefirst blowing a glass trumpet, and the what coarse humour; his fondness for others bedizened in tatters, with rush- maxims and old saws ;' his vein of caps and wooden swords.

worldly prudence now and then “ cropNor must we pass over his sea-side ping out,” as miners call it, into daysketches-all inimitable. The cutter light; his passion for the sea-side, and chasing the smuggler--is it not evi- his delight in the angler's “ solitary dent they are going at least ten knots trade." All this, and more, the adan hour? The tired gulls sitting on the mirer of Bewick may deduce from his waves, every curled head of which seems sketches. big with mischief. What pruning of We have sometimes almost wished plumage, what stalkings and flappings that Bewick had been a painter. This and scratchings of the sand, are not is perhaps selfish-perhaps silly; yet depicted in that collection of sea-birds we own we have often felt the wish. on the shore! What desolation is there He would, undoubtedly, have made in that sketch of coast after a storm, an admirable landscape-painter. We with the solitary rock, the ebb tide, may be told, it is true, that tail-pieces the crab just venturing out, and the do not require the filling up of larger mast of the sunken vessel standing up pictures. But what landscape-painter through the treacherous waters! What of them all has materials for filling up truth and minute nature is in that tide better than Bewick? Had Bewick coming in, each wave rolling higher been a painter, one thing is certainthan his predecessor, like a line of con- that he would not have been of the querors, and pouring in amidst the modern school; be would have been rocks with increasing aggression ! And shy of the new-fangled academies ; he last and best,—there are his fishing would have painted, as one may say, scenes. What angler's heart but beats by experiment rather than syllogism, when he sees the pool-fisher deep in and attempted to pourtray things as the water, his rod bending almost dou- they are, not as they ought to be; he ble with the rush of some tremendous would have been content with actual trout or heavy salmon ? Who does not Nature, and not tried to dress her up recognize his boyish days in the fellow or refine her in some impossible metawith the set rods," sheltering him. physical crucible. “ Not to speak it self from the soaking rain behind an old profanely,” Bewick is no man to attree? Whatfisher has not seen yon old tempt to improve upon God Almighty, edition daubed over with Indian ink. has any character-like a servant who In the second edition the block is al- has never been at place—not even a tered. The second volume of British bad one. Dog and deer, lark and Birds, consisting of the Water Birds, sparrow, have allairs and countenances was not published until 1804. Lastly, marvellously insipid, and of a most in 1818 were published Select Fables flat similitude. À flock of dandies of Æsop and others, collected and em- would not have a more unintellectual bellished by Thomas Bewick. It may likeness to each other, a more deplobe interesting to some to know, that rable proximity of negation. They the tail-piece at p. 162 of the first edi- are not only all like each other, but tion of this work bears the date of his not one of them like anything worth mother's death ; and that at p. 176 of looking at. A collection of family pora his father's. The final tail-piece is a traits, all “ tenth transmitters of foolview of Ovingham churchyard, in ish faces." This is no joke. You may which is the family burying-place.- buy dear books or cheap books, but if Such is the brief outline of the life you want to know what a bird or and principal works of Bewick. The quadruped is, to Bewick you must go external history of genius is in general at last. Study Bewick, and you know easily told.

a British bird as you know a man, by That Thomas Bewick has been the his physiognomy. You become acgreat improver of the art of wood-en- quainted with him as you do with Mr graving, it is needless to say. He may Tims, to whom you were introduced indeed be called the father of the last Wednesday. You can make him art; and his fame has, more than any- out even at a distance, as sailors say, thing else, been the cause of the at, by " the cut of his jib.” There is no tention which has ever since been paid need, as in other cases, of counting to this species of engraving. It can- primaries and secondaries, or taking not be doubted, however, that, in the an inventory of his tail before you can mere mechanical excellence of his craft identify him. You may admire him, -in fineness of line-in sharpness and as a novel heroine sometimes admires in smoothness, he has been outdone by the hero, altogether for his je ne sçuis some of his pupils. Bewick's excel- quoi—and this is the very quintessence lence is not of the mechanical sort. He of refinement in bird-fancying. will esteem this no left-handed com- It needs only to glance at the works pliment. His fame does not rest upon of Bewick, to convince ourselves with this. It is his graphic tact-the truth what wonderful felicity the very counof his conception and delineation of tenance and air of his anals are nature, that will carry him down to marked and distinguished. - There is posterity. He is in reality, in essence, the grave owl; the silly wavering lapas one may say, A PAINTER; and his wing; the pert jay; the impudent fame rests upon a foundation similar over-fed sparrow; the airy lark; the to that of other painters. It is true sleepy-headed gourmand duck; the he uses the graver, not the pencil. It restless titmouse; the insignificant is true he has limited his range of sub- wren ; the clean harmless gull; the ject. But the great-the captivating keen rapacious kite-every one has cxcellence of Bewick is, nevertheless, character. There are

no “ muffin pictorial. He is great as an admirer faces.” This is far beyond the mere and faithful exhibitor of nature ; not pencilling of fur or feathers. It is the as a cutter of fine lines, and a copyist seizureand transfusion of countenance. of the designs of others.

In this, Bewick's skill seems unapOf Bewick's powers, the most ex- proached and unapproachable by any traordinary is the perfect and undevi. other artist who has ever attempted ating accuracy with which he seizes this line. Were he to take the porand transfers to paper the natural ob- traits of our friend James Hogg's prejects which it is his delight to draw. sent flock of sheep, we, Christopher His landscapes are absolute fac-si- North, would bet a thousand gaineas miles; his animals are whole-length that the shepherd should point out portraits. Other books on natural his- every individual bleater by his “ vistory have fine engravings,-they are nomy," and this is something. Sir coloured or uncoloured ; copper or Thomas Lawrence could do no more wood,--but still, to use a common ex- for the Royal Yacht Club, and the pression, they “ are all tarred with one Congress of Verona.

ck.” Neither beast nor bird in them Bewick's vignettes are just as re

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