Thomas Bewick, by E. H. Baily

Thomas Bewick

Edward Hodges Baily (1788-1867)

1825

Plaster copy (presented to Bewick by Baily himself) of the white marble original

Cherryburn (The Thomas Bewick Birthplace Museum)

Mickley, Northumberland

Thomas Bewick (1753-1828), the famous engraver and naturalist, sat for Baily in his early seventies. The bust was one of a number commissioned by subscribers for the Literary and Philosophical Society of Newcastle (see Read 123), with the idea of honouring Bewick's "uncommon Genius and extraordinary Talents." Jenny Uglow quotes this in her wonderful life of Bewick, going on to say that when the day came for the sitting, the unpretentious engraver: “stoutly refused to be portrayed in a toga. Instead he wore his ordinary coat and waistcoat with neckcloth and ruffled shirt, and even asked for some of his smallpox scars to be shown. "Although he hated the plaster cast being taken from his face as he lay on the couch 'with small pieces of quill in his nostrils, as usual, to enable him to breathe,' the resulting bust was a fine likeness" (382). [Continued below]


Photographs, caption and commentary by Jacqueline Banerjee, with many thanks to the Thomas Bewick Birthplace Museum and the National Trust, and to June Holmes, Archivist of the Natural History Society of Northumbria, Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle upon Tyne. The background of the photographs of the bust and Bewick's face has been digitally removed by the author. Click on the thumbnails for larger pictures.