The John Laws Scrapbook
Conserved and Scanned.
The Bewick Society has been working with the Laing Art Gallery and members of the Angus family to scan and conserve the John Laws Scrapbook. The project has been undertaken in memory of the late Alan Smillie Angus (1920-2002) formerly Treasurer to the Thomas Bewick Birthplace Trust and the Bewick Society.
Bewick called John Laws (1765 -1844) "our first apprentice:"
"Our first apprentice, was John Laws, who was brought up as a silver engraver & I think he never touched upon the Wood- his turn was directed to the ornamental & chiefly in the branch, of what is called bright engraving & at this kind of work he excelled, & is perhaps the best at this day - with it he also follows the business of a Farmer at ‘Heddon Laws’, the place of his nativity. We greatly respected him for his honesty, sobriety, civil deportment and attention."
He was the first apprentice of the newly finalised Bewick-Bielby partnership of 1782.
The John Laws Srapbook, on loan to the Laing Art Gallery, dates from this period. It may have served Laws as a pattern book during the rest of his career. It has been conserved with assistance from the Bewick Society. New binding and repairs by Tim Gradon Bookbinder. A future edition of the Cherryburn Times will detail the conservation project and highlight the varied career of John Laws.
You can view the pages of the Scrapbook by visiting the Society's pages on Flickr here.
The Bewick Society
The aim of the Bewick Society is to promote an interest in the life and work of Thomas Bewick and related subjects, especially with regard to wood-engraving. The Society publishes a journal called the Cherryburn Times, normally twice a year. This provides a forum for the activities of the Society and keeps members informed about the latest research into the life and work of Bewick and his apprentices. Members publish articles about their own special interests where relevant to the Society. The Society also arranges visits to special collections, some of which are not normally open to the general public. It encourages the development of facilities for conservation and display of Bewick related materials, including wood-engraving as practised by those following in Bewick’s footsteps.
Membership of the Society also gives free admission to the museum at Cherryburn, where Thomas Bewick was born, now in the care of the National Trust.
More information can be found on this page at the National Trust website.