Chronology of Thomas Bewick

(from Bain, I., ed., 1975 Thomas Bewick - a Memoir Written by Himself. Oxford University Press)


1753 10 or 12 August, born at Cherryburn, Eltringham, Northumberland, eldest son of John Bewick (1715-85), farmer and tenant of land-sale colliery. Baptized Ovingham 19 August
1760 Brother John born at Cherryburn. Baptized 30 March
c1763-7 Attends school of Revd Christopher Gregson at Ovingham Parsonage
1767 1 October, apprenticed to Ralph Beilby (1743-1817), engraver in Newcastle upon Tyne
1768 Charles Hutton's Mensuration commences part publication: the first work for which Bewick engraves on wood
1774 Apprenticeship ends 1 October. Returns to Cherryburn for two years
1776 4 January, receives premium from Society for the Encouragement of Arts for engravings for fable illustrations
June to August walks to and round Scotland.
1 October travels to seek work in London. T. Saint's Select Fables with Bewick's engravings published
1777 22 June, returns to Newcastle. Joins Ralph Beilby in Partnership. John Bewick becomes his apprentice
1778 17 October, elected a member of Swarley's Club at the Black Boy Inn
1779 Publication of Fables by the late Mr Gay, and Tommy Trip's History of Beasts and Birds, T. Saint, Newcastle
1781 Takes over tenancy of Dr Hutton's house in Circus Lane at the Forth, Newcastle, in October
1782 18 December, joins Brotherly Society at Whitfield's Golden Lion, Newcastle.
John Bewick's indentures cancelled after five years; he removes to London
1784 Select Fables published by T. Saint incorporating designs from edition of 1776 and some by John Bewick
1785 Begins work on cutting blocks for A General History of Quadrupeds 15 November, on which day his father dies.
Mother, Jane Wilson, dies 20 February
1786 20 April, marries Isabella Elliot of Ovingham at St John's, Newcastle
1787 Eldest child Jane born 29 April.
John Bewick commences business at Clerkenwell Green 15 October
1788 Son Robert Elliot Bewick born 26 April
1789 Engraving of the Chillingham Bull for Marmaduke Tunstall of Wycliffe completed. Consett's A Tour through Sweden, Swedish-Lapland, Finland and Denmark, published with Bewick's copper engravings
1790 Publication of A General History of Quadrupeds
27 April.
Considers dissolving partnership with Beilby.
Daughter Isabella born 14 January
1791 16 July, visits Wycliffe Museum for two months to commence drawings for A History of British Birds.
Second edition Quadrupeds published
1792 Third edition Quadrupeds published
1793 Daughter Elizabeth born 7 March
1795 Poems of Goldsmith and Parnell printed and published by William Bulmer with engravings by Thomas and John Bewick.
Brother John dies aged 35, 5 December.
Moves to new engraving shop in south-east corner of St Nicholas's Church Yard
1796 Somervile's Chase with engravings by Bewick and brother John printed and published by William Bulmer.
Le Grand's Fabliaux published privately by Gregory Way and printed by Bulmer with engravings by Bewick, John Bewick, and Charlton Nesbit
1797 First volume of British Birds, Land Birds, published.
Partnership with Ralph Beilby dissolved. Beilby continues in watch-glass and clock manufactory
1799 Second edition Land Birds published
1800 Fourth edition Quadrupeds published
1804 Publication of first edition of the Water Birds.
Son Robert apprenticed for seven years, 26 May
1805 Third edition Land Birds and second edition of Water Birds published
1807 Fifth edition Quadrupeds published
1809 Fourth edition of Land Birds and third edition Water Birds published.
His schoolmaster the Revd Christopher Gregson dies aged 71
1811 Son Robert out of apprenticeship 26 May.
Sixth edition of Quadrupeds published
1812 Seriously ill in April.
Son Robert into partnership I January.
Moves to 19 West Street, Gateshead, early September.
Begins work on drawings for Fables of Aesop
1814 Fifth edition Land Birds published
1815 10 March, writes short autobiographical memoir for John Chambers
1816 Sixth edition Land Birds and fourth edition Water Birds published
1817 Ralph Beilby dies 4 January, aged 74
1818 Fables of Aesop published.
Elected member Society of Dilettanti of Edinburgh, 4 May
1820 Seventh edition Quadrupeds published.
Charnley's edition of the Select Fables published
1821 Seventh edition Land Birds and fifth edition Water Birds published
1822 Begins writing Memoir, November
1823 Visits Edinburgh and executes first and only lithographic drawing: 'The Cadger's Trot'.
Second edition Fables of Aesop published
1824 Eighth edition Quadrupeds published
1826 Wife Isabella dies I February.
Marble bust by E. H. Bailey completed for Literary & Philosophical Society of Newcastle.
Eighth edition Land Birds and sixth edition Water Birds published
1827 Visited by Audubon.
Completes 221 pages of Memoir
1828 Visits London for second time.
Dies 8 November.

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