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Thomas Bewick Papers

Identifier: DG0087

Scope and Contents

All told, the deGrummond Collection holds twenty-four woodblock Bewick prints. The first, entitled a "Collector's Portfolio of Thomas Bewick, 1753-1828," contains four 8 x 11" matted prints, all of which portray various birds.

Folder two contains an unidentified minature print that portrays a man on horseback apparently wading up stream.

The last folder, entitled "Thomas Bewick Wood Engravings in Portfolio," contains a miscellany of 8 x 11" matted prints. Most of these portray wildlife in repose or scenes in which the human character appears to encounter some difficulty.


  • 1753-1828

Conditions Governing Access

Noncirculating; Available for research

Conditions Governing Use

The collection is protected by the Copyright Law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code). Reproductions can be made only if they are to be used for "private study, scholarship, or research." It is the user's responsibility to verify copyright ownership and to obtain all necessary permissions prior to the reproduction, publication, or other use of any portion of these materials.

Biographical / Historical

Thomas Bewick was born to John and Jane Bewick on a small farm along the river Tyne in Northumberland England in 1753. The oldest of eight children, Bewick enjoyed nature and spent a good deal of time wandering and studying his surroundings when he wasn't helping his family around the farm. After his formal education at a nearby village school, Bewick was apprenticed at the age of fourteen to an engraver in Newcastle upon Tyne, where he remained in service for seven years. It was obvious to Ralph Beilby, Bewick's employer, that he was quite talented in the art of wood engraving, and during his apprenticeship he worked on numerous books, including the engraving of children's books for local printer Thomas Saint.

After his apprenticeship was completed, Bewick trekked across Scotland for a bit, then decided to go to London to perform his trade. Disliking London immediately, he returned to Newcastle as soon as possible, where he entered into a partnership with his former employer, Ralph Beilby. He married Isabella Elliot in 1786 and they had four children.

In 1790, Beilby and Bewick produced a volume on natural history for young people entitled General History of Quadrupeds, which sold quite well. Because of the success of this book, Bewick was invited to Wycliffe Hall to study the stuffed birds that were in the Tunstall Collection there. Bewick recognized the enormous task of producing a volume that would include so many specimens, therefore he decided to produce a two-volume set dedicated to only British birds. History of British Birds: Land Birds was published in 1797, and History of British Birds: Water Birds in 1804.

Although the Beilby-Bewick partnership was dissolved in 1798, Bewick retained the engraving business. He went on to expand the engraving in his shop to work with the mediums of glass, silver, and copper and published revised editions of Quadrupeds and British Birds over the next several years. In 1812, Bewick began work on The Fables of Aesop and Others, which was completed in 1818.

Thomas Bewick was known as an engraver, artist, and naturalist during his lifetime. He passed away in 1828.


Holmes, June. "Thomas Bewick (1753-1828)."Â Bewick Society. The Bewick Society, n.d. Web. 14 Mar. 2017.


.40 Cubic Feet

Language of Materials


Immediate Source of Acquisition

Acquired by the deGrummond Collection.

Thomas Bewick Papers
In Progress
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Repository Details

Part of the de Grummond Childrens Literature Collection Repository

118 College Drive - 5148
Hattiesburg MS 39406-0001