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himself wrote the descriptions, having dissolved his partnership with Beilby.
"Nothing of the same kind that woodengraving has produced since the time of Bewick can for a moment bear a comparison with these cuts. They are not to be equalled till a designer and engraver shall arise possessed of Bewick's knowledge of nature, and endowed with his happy talent of expressing it. Bewick has in this respect effected more by himself than has been produced by one of Our best wood-engravers * when working from drawings made by a professional designer, but who knows nothing of birds, of their habits, or the places which they frequent; and has not the slightest feeling for natural incident or picturesque beauty. * *
"Bewick's style of engraving, as dis played in the Birds, is exclusively his
own. He adopts no conventional mode
The tail-pieces which adorn Bewick's works, are, like the principal cuts, distinguished by their truth to nature, as well as by their humour and ingenuity, often conveying a moral, and preaching a sermon in a vignette. We have selected (in Plate III.) the Winter Scene, in which " some boys have made a large snow man, which excites the special wonderment of a horse; and Bewick, to give the subject a moral application, has added Esto perpetua!' at the foot of the great work of the little
The memoir of Bewick, given in this volume, is minute and interesting; it corrects a variety of errors in former biographies,† and furnishes full particulars of all his works, and those of his pupils. It is proved that both in the drawing and the engraving of his tail-pieces he received very considerable assistance from his pupils, more especially from Robert Johnson as a draftsman, and Luke Clennell as an engraver. Johnson, though he never engraved on wood, excelled much in the human figure; he died young in 1796. The other more eminent pupils are-Charlton Nesbit, "who is justly entitled to be ranked with the best wood-engravers of his time," and is still living; Luke Clennell, afterwards distinguished as a painter, and also still living, but insane; William Harvey, who, having practised as an excellent wood-engraver until 1824, (and formed, we may add, a lasting monument to his skill, in his large cut of the Death of Dentatus)," has since exclusively devoted himself to designing for copper
Mr. Branston actually attempted to excel Bewick's Birds, and failed. His Sand. piper is given as a specimen in p. 630.
† It is probably not generally known, that the memoir of Bewick which appeared in the Gentleman's Magazine for 1829, was written by his friend Mr. William Bulmer, the printer, of London. The portrait which accompanies it was engraved by Mr. Kidd of Newcastle, from a likeness taken by Miss Kirkley in 1798. EDIT.
plate and wood engravers ;" and to these (as we perceive merely from a note in p. 599), is to be added the name of John Jackson, the author of this work, and by no means the last in point of merit.
In the "London School" there was no rival to Bewick before the late Robert Branston. His predecessor was James Lee, who died in 1804. The best specimen of Branston's talents is a large cut of the Cave of Despair, in Savage's Hints on Decorative Printing. Mr. John Thompson, a pupil of Branston, is in p. 632 styled "the best English woodengraver of the present day;" and in the following page is a list of his most distinguished contemporaries; but for these particulars, as well as the store of useful information contained in the last chapter, entitled "The Practice of Wood Engraving," we must refer to the volume itself; and must now close our observations, after first directing the reader's attention to the two beautiful cuts in Plates II. and III. which are given in the work as examples of cross-hatching, and of the advantage of lowering the edges of a vignette, but which we have selected as pleasing examples of the abilities of Mr. Jackson.
DIARY OF A LOVER OF LITERATURE.
(Continued from Vol. XI. p. 579.)
1816. Jan. 16.-In the evening went to the theatre with Mrs. Fonnereau's order, to see Master Betty in Norval. Perfect in stage deportment and histrionic trick; but affected, elaborate, and with a miserably whining declamation-not one trait of genuine genius. The dying scene the best.
Jan. 20.-Read Wraxall's Memoirs. His serious reprehension of Dr. Johnson for mistaking an Earl of Dorset for a Duke, and a second Earl of Middlesex for a third, is very ludicrous. The mode in which he urges his scandal, first broadly stating, then combating, qualifying and disclaiming, and then resuming, after a pause, and confirming and aggravating the charge, is highly curious; as well as the slyness with which, on minor occasions, he drops, to appearance inadvertently, an oblique but mischievous insinuation in filthy anecdotes he manifestly luxuriates. His portrait of Lord G. Gordon corresponds with what I observed of him when brought up to the Court of King's Bench, in the character of a Jewish Rabbi. He was unquestionably mad. Notwithstanding all that Wraxall asserts, I have been assured, from the highest authority, that Junius's description of religion at St. James's was perfectly just. That the King was scrupulous in ceremonials-but nothing more. Wraxall insinuates that Lord North was really brother to the King! The portraits Wraxall gives of the members of Lord North's Cabinet are well delineated. He observes of Dunning, that the advocate appeared in the debater. Glad to find, if it be true, which I much doubt, that Hurd proposed Lowth to fill the metropolitan see in 1783.
Feb. 7.-Went to the theatre to hear Incledon, his last appearanceold and broken-his voice shattered and his bad style in full force. Sang the Quaker's song "Verily ah!"-well. Said, on being encored, that it was the best song he sung, and he would sing it with any man in England. "The Storm," always extravagant, was montrous. His surprising falsetto, (which once reached to C in altissimo) always distinct from his natural voice, now become a scream, lisping throughout and inarticulate. Incledon,