Local collectionsBewick Resources in the North East
There is a wealth of Bewick material in the region to access and enjoy, and it is hoped that this listing will assist the avid researcher or just the curious browser into more corners of Bewick’s world than they may have realised existed. It is only the regular use by scholars and fellow enthusiasts of these collections, which will help maintain their importance and conservation for the future.
The Great North Museum: Hancock,
Newcastle upon Tyne,
Director: James Littlewood
Open: During office hours Monday - Friday 10:00am - 2:00pm
Contact: Mrs June Holmes (Archivist - Monday, Tuesday & Thursday 10:00am - 3:00pm
Tel: +44(0)191 222 5834
The Natural History Society’s archive houses one of the most comprehensive collections of the work of Thomas Bewick in the country. His daughter Isabella Bewick sent a selection of watercolour drawings, held by the Bewick family, to the British Museum in 1882. The remaining collection, which included, a bust of Bewick, family portraits, original artwork and numerous impressions of woodcuts, was presented to the Society in 1884 by the executors of her estate. The Bewick family’s collection of natural history books was presented in 1881.
The most important part of the collection are the seven hundred and thirty-eight watercolour and pencil drawings and engravings of British and foreign birds, quadrupeds, vignettes etc. by Thomas Bewick, John Bewick, Robert Bewick and the apprentices (c.1776-1849). These are mostly transfer drawings used for engravings, with some studies and proof engravings. Included is a copy of the famous Chillingham Bull on vellum in the first state.
There is also a comprehensive reference collection of various editions of Bewick’s natural history books, some biographies and papers on Bewick etc. There are a number of bird specimens drawn by Bewick in the museum collections and the Wombat specimen figured by Robert Bewick in Fox’s Synopsis of the Newcastle Museum.
Within the rest of the archive collections are correspondence and manuscripts relating to other luminaries known to Bewick, such as P. J. Selby, George Clayton Atkinson, John Hancock, William Armstrong, Matthew Consett etc.
Catalogue: All items have been catalogued on a computer database and a printed catalogue is in progress.
Access: To obtain access to the Bewick archives please write to the archivist Mrs June Holmes at the above address to arrange an appointment.
The Great North Museum: Hancock, Barras Bridge, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 4PT
Senior Curator: Mr Steve McLean.
Access: Free Entry.
The Hancock Museum is owned by the Natural History Society of Northumbria and managed and curated by Tyne and Wear Museums.
Named after John Hancock, who was a life long friend of the Bewick family, the museum has many connections with Thomas Bewick. Some of the very first drawings Bewick prepared for British Birds were made from a collection of stuffed birds in the museum of Marmaduke Tunstall of Wycliffe Hall, near Barnard Castle in 1791. A few of these very early specimens are preserved today in the museum collections.
Blandford House, Blandford Square, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 4JA
Open: Monday-Friday: 9.00am-5.15pm; Tuesday: 9.00-8.30pm.
This is a particularly important archive of the manuscript account books, ledgers and other items detailing the day to day business of Thomas Bewick and Ralph Beilby’s engraving workshop. Meticulously detailed they provide an unparalleled source of information for students of engraving and copperplate printing as well as other local trades such as the Newcastle silversmiths, glass and pottery trades.
TWAS 1269/1-10 Ten Cash Books 1777-1838
TWAS 1269/11-21 Eleven Day Books 1766-1832
TWAS 1269/22-31 Ten Ledgers 1777-1849
TWAS 1269/32-62 Engraving work account books etc. 1772-1815
TWAS 1269/63-82 Press Work Account Books 1772-1813
TWAS 1269/83-229 Publications – ledgers, letters etc. 1786-1831
TWAS 1269/230-241 Outstanding Debts 1785-1825
TWAS 1269/242-265 Family Accounts, household accounts,
Bank Books etc. 1751-1881
Three account books, which complete the series, are held in the National Art Library of the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.
The Ward Collection of letters (accession code DT.BEW/1/1-300+), recently purchased with the aid of grants from the Victoria and Albert Museum Purchase Grant Fund, the Friends of the National Libraries and the Society of Antiquaries of Newcastle upon Tyne, is also deposited in the archives. This consists of over three hundred manuscript letters addressed to Thomas Bewick and his daughter; they are mostly business letters relating to the workshop.
Catalogue: There is a comprehensive archive list available in the search room for consultation (see Archive list 20).
No appointment is necessary except for the evening opening. The account books and ledgers may not be photocopied.
Station Bank, Mickley, Nr Stocksfield, Northumberland NE43 7DD
Open:17th March to end October: Monday - Sunday: 11.00am - 5:00pm. Wednesday closed.
Manager: Mr Stewart Thirkell.
Contact: Mr Hugh Dixon at The National Trust, Scot’s Gap, Morpeth, NE61 4EG
Tel: 01661 843276
Web site: www.nationaltrust.org.uk
National Trust and Bewick Society members free. A small charge may be made at special events.
Bewick’s birthplace cottage, farmyard, garden and play lawn. Also a 19th– century farmhouse, the latter home of the Bewick family, houses an exhibition on Bewick’s life and work and there is a small shop selling prints from Bewick’s original wood engravings books and gifts. Demonstrations of wood engraving, printing and bookbinding are given in an adjoining barn. There is traditional music, song and dance every Sunday afternoon.
The museum has numerous original works on display but also houses an important archive of Bewick related works including: –
- The Justin Schiller collection of books: An assemblage of Children’s books and other examples of Bewick’s work and publications collected by Schiller, a rare book collector based in New York.
- Dr C. Clark Burman’s collection of 50 woodblocks and plates.
- A collection of woodblocks from Birds, Quadrupeds and the Fables of Aesop.
- The copperplate for the engraving of the ‘The Remarkable Kyloe Ox’, 1790 originally purchased from the Spearman family auction.
- A collection of drawings by Robert Bewick consisting of 82 folios of drawings, two engravings and one folio with manuscript notes.
Catalogue: None at present.
Access: To access the archive collection a request for an appointment must be made in writing to Mr Hugh Dixon at the address above.
Newcastle City Library, PO Box 88, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE99 1DX
Open: Monday, Thursday: 9:30am – 8:00pm
Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 9:30am – 5:00pm
Saturday: 9:00am – 5:00pm.
Contact: Service Manager Heritage, Ms Kath Cassidy.
Tel: 0845 002 0336
Fax: +44(0)191 277 4168
Website: New City Library website
Thomas Bewick's Box of Tools
Following the opening of the new Central Library in New Bridge Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, the Bewick Collection is at last on display again. It is to be found on the 5th floor of the new Charles Avison Building, easily accessible by lift.
The Bewick Collection is based on the Pease Bequest, the large collection amassed by John William Pease (1836-1901) of Bewick's works in all editions, with associated materials, all bequeathed to the City on his death and first housed in the Public Reference Library. A complete Catalogue was produced in 1904 by Basil Anderton, Public Librarian, and his assistant, W. H. Gibson. It covers 331 items, of which 170 are books. The associated materials include Bewick's box of tools (shown above), which had been given to Joseph Crawall by Isabella Bewick in 1882 for acting as her executor.
The Bewick Collection is too large to be all on display, so if a visitor wants to see something not on display, Kath Cassidy, Service Manager (Heritage) is the person to contact at the library.
Considerable additions, including books and woodblocks, have been made to the collection since 1901.
For more information, click here
Catalogue: The Catalogue of the Bewick Collection (Pease Bequest) 1904 by Basil Anderton can be viewed at the library, accessions made to the collection after that date are recorded in a manuscript ledger held at the library.
Access: The library has recently re-opened after refurbishment see website for opening hours. Viewing of the complete Pease collection will be by appointment only, requests to be made by written application to the Local Studies Manager. Certain items, such as the books, may be viewed at any time in the Local Studies Centre.
23 Westgate Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 1SE
Open: Monday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday 9:30am – 7:00pm
Tuesday 9:30am – 8:00pm, Saturday 9:00am – 1:00pm
The Literary and Philosophical Society runs a subscription library, which dates from 1793. Remarkably strong in nineteenth century literature, it also holds local history material. The Society holds lectures, recitals and other meetings, which are open to members and to the general public.
Bewick was a member of the Society from 1799 until his death in 1828 and was associated with many of its founder members. The library has an extensive collection of books by and about Bewick and has on display the marble bust of Thomas Bewick by Edward Hodges Bailey RA, taken from a life mask in 1825 as well as a portrait of Bewick by Ramsay. There is a framed manuscript letter from Bewick to his wife, sent from Wycliffe near Barnard Castle in 1791.
Catalogue: Library card index system and computer access to catalogue. References under Bewick include cuttings books with information relating to Charles Hutton etc.
Access: Although this is a member’s library, members of the Bewick Society are welcome by appointment, please contact the librarian.
Conducted tours can be arranged, subject to the availability of staff.
Newcastle University, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU
Curator: Emily Marsden
Open: Monday - Saturday: 10:00am – 5:00pm
Sunday: 2pm – 5.00pm
The Hatton Gallery, which forms part of the University of Newcastle, houses a small but extremely important selection of Bewick’s work. The two most significant items being: – The original woodblock for Bewick’s famous and most successful engraving ‘The Chillingham Bull’, 1789 commissioned by Marmaduke Tunstall of Wycliffe Hall. The block was purchased by Robert Robinson in 1876 from the Misses Bewick (Robinson, 1887 p.279) and was by 1904 in the possession of Thomas Gow (Anderton & Gibson, 1904 p.82). The original woodblock for Bewick’s last and unfinished large engraving ‘Waiting for Death’, a few impressions of which were published by Robert Bewick in 1832. Bewick was working on this block at the time of his death and it was to have been augmented by two or three more blocks to add tonal colour. Robert Robinson also purchased this block in 1876 and it was also in the possession of Thomas Gow by 1904 (Anderton & Gibson, 1904 p.87).
The collection also consists of a small number of preparatory drawings for vignettes and circus tickets as well as some of the larger impressions including the Tiger, Lion, Zebra and Elephant produced for Gilbert Pidcock, proprietor of a travelling menagerie. A number of early volumes of books complete the assemblage.
The Hatton Gallery hopes to place some of these items on permanent display to the public in the near future if a suitable grant can be obtained.
Access to the collection is by application only to The Curator at the above address.
Catalogue: No published Catalogue.
New Bridge Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, Tyne & Wear, England, NE1 8AG
Open: Monday to Saturday: 10:00am – 5:00pm. Sunday: 2:00pm – 5:00pm.
The Curator: Julie Milne
General enquiries (Tel) : 0191 232 7734
Textphone users (Tel): 18001 0191 232 7734
General enquiries (Fax) : 0191 222 0952
General enquiries: firstname.lastname@example.org
Main website: www.twmuseums.org.uk/laing
Large portrait in oils of Bewick by William Nicholson on display within the ‘Art on Tyneside’ exhibition.
`Art on Tynesdside` is currently closed. You can read the gallery's future plans here.
- Portrait of Bewick as a young man by George Gray
- Drawings by Thomas Bewick (Robert Spence bequest)
- Substantial collection of correspondence and other manuscript material relating to TB.
- Collection of woodblocks
- Collections of miscellaneous items engraved in the Bewick workshop, such as silverware, mourning rings, clock faces etc.
- Examples of glassware decorated in enamel by the talented William and Mary Beilby.
- Collection of books by and relating to Bewick.
- Watercolours and pencil drawings by the apprentices Robert Johnston and Luke Clennell.
To view the Laing’s ‘Art on Line’ Bewick collection click here
Catalogue: In Progress
To view the ‘Discovering Bewick’ collection click here.
University of Newcastle, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 4HQ.
Tel: General enquiries 0191 222 7662
Special Collections opening hours: Monday – Friday 9.30 a.m. – 4.45 p.m.
(For the main Robinson Library opening hours, which vary according to the time of year, see www.ncl.ac.uk/library/open.html.)
The Robinson Library holds in Special Collections a collection of books relating to Thomas Bewick known as the Bradshaw-Bewick Collection. Special Collections are not on open access, but must be requested in advance, either through the Special Collections webpage or by completing a paper application form at the main counter on Level 2 of the Robinson Library.
Users from outside the University are strongly advised to contact the Special Collections Department at least two working days in advance of any visit and before making travel and accommodation arrangements.
Catalogue: Material in the Bradshaw – Bewick Collection can be traced in the Library catalogue (www.ncl.ac.uk/library/cathelp.html) by means of a shelfmark search for “Bradshaw-Bewick”. Items elsewhere in the Library, either in Special Collections or on the open shelves, can be located by a keyword search for “Bewick”.
Some descriptions and digitised images from the Bewick collection can be seen on the Bewick exhibition pages: here
Morpeth Chantry, Bridge Street, Morpeth, Northumberland NE61 1PJ
Tel: 01670 500 717
Open: Monday - Saturday 10:00am – 5:00pm. Summer Sundays 11:00am – 4.00pm
Britain’s only bagpipe museum currently houses 120 sets of pipes ranging from Northumbrian and Irish small pipes to Scottish and European bag-pipes. For Bewick aficionados the Museum has in its permanent display the original pipes owned by Robert Elliot Bewick, on loan from the Newcastle Society of Antiquaries.
William Cocks, who lived in Ryton Tyne and Wear, built up the collection of pipes and music. He revived the popularity of the small pipes and the Border half longs in the North in the 1920’s and 1930’s. He eventually gave his vast collection to the Society of Antiquaries in Newcastle who agreed to transfer the collection to the Bagpipe museum.
Chillingham Wild Cattle Association, Chillingham, Alnwick, Northumberland NE66 5NP
Open: The park is open from 1st April until 31st October.
Monday, Wednesday - Saturday; 10:00am - 12 noon / 2:00pm - 5:00pm.
Sunday 2:00pm – 5:00pm.
Contact: The Warden
Tel: 01668 215250
Admission: See website for entrance fees.
Chillingham Park, the home of the Wild Cattle, is situated north of Alnwick in Northumbeland and is well signposted from both the A1 and the A697.