VI. The Engravers

The 94 engravings for Moore were drawn and engraved by a large number of artisans (see Appendix II) although the name of Deeble stands out prominently and it is little wonder his name is included in the complete title of the work. Although Ian Mackenzie refers to him as “a line engraver of small bookplates including landscapes, and topographical views after his contemporaries” it is clear he had some sort of reputation[i] and the title page makes it clear he was in charge of the illustrations. William Deeble (fl.1815-1858) may even have been from Devon, or more likely, Cornwall: of 217 Deebles registered in the 1881 census 99 lived in Cornwall and 15 in Devon (41 others in London).[ii] While several have no reference such as James Bingley, William Floyd, J Eke, or Thomas H Shepherd, H Worsley (a local Plymouth artist and engraver), A Glennie, T H Clarke, J Gandy, W J Lea, S Condy or W H Bartlett and are not listed in Mackenzie’s catalogue others receive brief mention similar to that of William Deeble, these being Thomas Higham, Henry Wallis, A MCcClatchie and J Henshall.

Other contributors deserve a little more attention: Thomas Mann Baynes was known as a watercolour artist as well as draughtsman and lithographer and worked with W H Bartlett on a series covering the Wye. Robert Brandard (1805-1862) who only drew the Bishop’s Palace in Paignton was born in Birmingham but worked in London and was one of two or three brothers who worked there. Interestingly, he was registered in Islington about the time he produced the one plate for Jennings. Thomas Hewitt Williams was known as a West Country draughtsman and occasional lithographer who wrote and illustrated several books. He was in Devonport in 1801 but moved to Exeter before 1807 where he remained. He made a number of walking tours throughout Devon and illustrated his own guide books.[iii] George Bryant Campion (1796-1870) was also a painter of landscapes and military subjects even teaching drawing at the Royal Military Academy, Woolwich but later lived in Munich and is known for two sets of prints.

R Browne’s name crops up in two Devon contexts. Henry Besley’s Route Book of Devon was a huge success as one of the first Devon guides produced in the county and ran to several reprints. In the early guides (1845 to 1851) Besley introduced a map of Plymouth and it is signed in the title panel “R. Browne, Architect, Delin.” However, the Plan of Plymouth, Stonehouse and Devonport had already appeared in 1841 in William Wood’s The Stranger’s Handbook to the Western Metropolis. This was not, however, R Browne’s first cartographic venture. When Octavian Blewitt updated The Panorama of Torquay in 1832 for E Cockem in Torquay there was a map of that town[iv] “Drawn by R. Browne, archt.” Moore’s map of Exeter was similarly drawn by Browne.

There were other contributors: there are 13 other engravings embedded in the text section of Volume I. While most are unsigned including 2 Dartmoor scenes, Dartmouth, 3 fossils and a plan of their find, a Devonshire plough, the Laywell spring in Brixham; four are signed. Sowerby drew an illustration of Grauwracke of Hartland Point, a scene of Vixen Tor is signed J Mosses Sc., Bowman’s Nose is by Sears, and W Dawson signed the view of Aqueduct over the Torridge.

Fig. 14. Illustration by Dawson embedded in text of Moore's History.

James Sowerby (1757-1822) was the leading botanist of the age, but this drawing is more likely from his son, James De Carle Sowerby (1787-1871), a well-known mineralogist. He and his cousin founded the Royal Botanic Society and Gardens. William Dawson is quoted in Somers Cocks as contributing to two works. Together with Mary Buckland he contributed views to the Rev. Conybeare’s and Pof. Buckland’s Memoirs and Views of the Landslips on the Coast of East Devon (1840); and he drew the six views included in William Spreat’s publication Six Sketches Illustrative of the South Devon Railway (1848). A further view by Dawson listed by Somers Cocks is of the bridge and viaduct on the Exeter to Exmouth railway which was never actually built (SC. 3004, c.1855).

Devon and Cornwall Illustrated was a superb piece of cooperation between artists such as Thomas Allom and W H Bartlett who provided the original drawings, John Britton and Edward Wedlake Brayley, who provided the text to each illustration, together with the various steel engravers, printers and publishers (see Appendix III). The original covers to the monthly magazine gave credit to all four with “original drawings by Thomas Allom, and W H Bartlett” and continued “with descriptive accounts ... by J Britton, and E W Brayley Esqrs.”

The whole work was originally published in parts by H Fisher, Son & Co and Devon was published concurrently with the Cornish volume (although a large portion of Devon was complete before the first section of Cornish text appeared) between circa September 1829 and October 1832. The work was also to be published on the first of every month with two leaves of views (two to a page, i.e. 4 views) and two leaves of text as: Devonshire & Cornwall Illustrated; … Forming part of … Fishers’ Grand National Improvements, and Jones’ Great Britain Illustrated. The latter mention was important as it crops up again, more significantly, in later issues of the parts series.

This work, unlike Moore’s book, covered both Devon and Cornwall. The Devon section has a title vignette and 94 other steel line engravings by William Taylor, William Le Petit, John Thomas, John Smith, W H Bond, Samuel Fisher (born in Birmingham but worked in London) and Ebenezer Challis who are all listed in British Prints as “line engravers of small bookplates usually of either landscapes, topographical views, architectural views or historical subjects after their contemporaries” and “flourishing in the mid 18th century”.[v] Others such as Percy Heath, J R Davies, Thomas Dixon, J Lowry, J F Lambert, F J Havill, John James Hinchliff, Alexander (“Old”) Carse, Tombleson and William Miller are not listed at all. Some receive special mention such as Henry Wallis who was also an etcher and who suffered two strokes and became a book dealer; Charles Mottram (1806-1876) is listed as major line and mixed method engraver of biblical, sporting, historical, sentimental and animal subjects who was responsible for many of the best known Victorian engravings: Joseph Clayton Bentley (pupil of Robert Brandard) also executed plates after Old Masters for The Art Journal (born in Bradford 1809 he died in London 1851); and M J Starling, one of a large family who were involved in engraving at this time. William Tombleson (1795-c.1846) is probably most well-known for 69 illustrations he executed for Tombleson’s Views of the Rhine from Cologne to Mainz. This was even published in 1832 by George Virtue in French. He also produced a number of views for The Thames and Medway. These views are notable for the decoration around the plate borders.

All of these engravers executed their work after the work of Thomas Allom (76 plates), W H Bartlett (15), J Harwood (2), A Salvin and G Wightwick (1 each). Only Thomas Allom was of any note as an architect and painter of topographical views. He travelled extensively abroad producing many drawings for reproduction by steel engravers. He himself also lithographed several architectural and topographical views. At the time of his engagement with Fisher he had just left the Royal Academy school where his professor for perspective had been J M W Turner. Diana Brooks and James M’Kenzie-Hall believe it was the lure of travel that led him to work for Fisher and not develop a career as an architect. Bartlett was apprenticed to John Britton between 1822-29.[vi]

The Cornwall section has title vignette and 44 steel line engravings by W Taylor, W Le Petit, J Thomas, B R Davies, S Fisher, T Dixon, F J Havill, E Challis, W Miller, Rolph, W S Wilkinson, and M J Starling after T Allom (all). The text ran to 48 pages. See Appendix VII for a list of plates and artists for the Cornwall section.

Link to images of all Moore plates

Link to images of all Fisher plates


[i] For further information regardng these engravers see Ian Maxted Etched on Devon’s Memory listing.

[ii] Mackenzie (1987/88).

[iii] See website

[iv] A Topographical Map of the Parishes in the vicinity of Torbay Illustrative of the District and Antiquities Described appeared in the Panorama of Torquay. This map was only 135 x 180 mm. It was lithographed by George Rowe, a popular local lithographer, draughtsman and publisher of topographical views.

[v] Mackenzie (1987/88).

 [vi] Diana Brooks; Thomas Allom, RIBA; London; 1998. Quoted by M’Kenzie-Hall in an email to the author.


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