Wednesday, 1 March 2017

John Caffrey (1939-2017)

It is with great sadness that we have learnt of the death of John Caffrey.
John was a regular at Bewick Society meetings. We shall miss his good humour, great knowledge and quiet encouragement. His knowledge of Bewick's Birds was second to none. An enthusiast for the books of Henry David Thoreau, he was delighted to find connections between the American writer and the Northumberland engraver.

Link to the Guardian Other Lives Obituary.

Wednesday, 7 September 2016

National Heritage Open Day weekend

From the Natural History Society of Northumbria:

"We have a treat in store for Bewick fans at the Hancock Museum

The 2 rare specimens of the extinct Great Auk will be on show for one day only with the original drawings of the Auks by Thomas Bewick. Bewick visited Marmaduke Tunstall's bird collection in 1791 and sketched the immature Great Auk in preparation for his History of British Birds. John Hancock's work on the Great Auk will also be highlighted - Hancock owned a Great Auk egg and regularly made copies of it for other collectors, come and find out how he did it!

Friday 9 September, 11 – 3.30pm

Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle upon Tyne

We will be opening the doors of our prestigious Council Room in the Great North Museum: Hancock as part of the National Heritage Open Day weekend. Come and see some of our fascinating archive material, including manuscripts and artwork relating to the Society’s Great Auk collections, as well as some specimens from our museum collection. You can also see the historic furnishings and paintings in the room and speak to the Society’s archivist, June Holmes."

Friday, 2 September 2016

Post-Bewick Wood Engraving

 On Thursday we'll be looking at Wood Engraving after Bewick, including a glimpse of works from a substantial private collection.

AN INFORMAL LOOK AT POST-BEWICK WOOD ENGRAVING Date and time: at 6.30-7.30. Venue: Bewick Hall, Newcastle City Library, Charles Avison Building, 33, New Bridge Street, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 8AX.

Free but booking essential.

To book a place see Post-Bewick wood engraving, Thursday @ToonLibraries 6.30 pm, details here

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Walk to Cherryburn

Last  year’s  experimental  long  walk  to Cherryburn was a great success. This year there will be an opportunity to join in the fun along the way as we have three starting points and times.

Depart Gateshead 10am
Meet    outside    the    site    of    Thomas Bewick’s  last  home,  the  old  Gateshead Post  Office  on  West  Street.  Today  it  is the  Workplace  Gallery,  19-21  West  St, Gateshead NE8 1AD.

Sturdy footwear, water bottles and a sense of adventure required. The walk to Cherryburn from here is 12 miles following, in the main,riverside paths.

It’s a long and tiring day but well worth the effort.

Depart the  the Keelman Pub, Newburn, 1pm
The walkers from Gateshead will have stopped here for lunch. Join the group or set out on your own. The walk to Cherryburn from here is roughly 7 miles. En route, you will pass the Tidestone, near Heddon-on-the-Wall. (See Cherryburn Times Vol 6 No.7).

Depart George Stephenson’s Birthplace, Wylam NE41 8BP, 2pm
The walk from here to Cherryburn is around 4 miles.

Bewick in his Memoir writes:

“I regularly pursued my walks & while thus exercising, my mind was commonly engaged in considering upon plans about how I should conduct myself in life & forming resolutions on such as I approved of & of strictly acting upon them…..
I thought nothing of leaving Newcastle (occasionally) after I had done work (7 o clock) in a winters night & setg off to walk to Cherryburn – in this I was stimulated by an ardent desire to visit my parents as often as possible, & this desire continued to act upon me as long as they lived – In my solitary walks ( as before noticed) the first resolution I recollect of having made, was that of living within my income & another, of similar import, was that of never getting anything upon trust…”

Photos from last year's walk:click here to go to Flickr pages.

Thursday, 31 March 2016


This meeting will focus in particular on the work and enthusiasms of the Newcastle Imprint Club. Founded in 1963 the club met regularly over the next thirty years to discuss books, printing and design. They frequently printed from historic blocks and we hope to have numerous examples of the Club’s Bewick reprints on hand.
Date and time: Saturday 16 April at 1.00pm.
Venue: The Council Room of the Natural History Society of Northumbria, 2nd Floor Great North Museum: Hancock, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 4PT.
Admission: Free. Contact: June Holmes: The Natural History Society of Northumbria.
Tel no. 0191 208 5834 or Email

Monday, 19 October 2015

Thomas Bewick's Last Days

Thomas Bewick's Last Days with a Commentary by Iain Bain

From the Fleece Press website:

"Aware that his final days were approaching, Thomas Bewick made a journey – only his second – to London in 1828 in order to dispose of remaining stocks of his books, and to see old friends. The journey began on his 75th birthday, and within three months he had died. He wrote the account of his journey on a single small piece of paper, and his daughter Jane later pasted it into a bound set of corrected proofs of her father's Memoir. Iain Bain, renowned scholar of all that is Bewick, has added a prefatory note and fascinating commentary bringing Bewick's account to life.
200 copies have been printed, all bearing one engraving by Thomas Bewick (his silhouette portrait of his friend Robert Pollard) printed from the block, and of these, 100 have an extra TB engraving, of his smaller version of Waiting for Death, printed by Iain Bain from the original block for the book. The standard copies carry this engraving but only in reproduction; Iain Bain has also signed each special copy of the book under TB's own facsimile wood-engraved signature, printed from the block. All copies are bound in quarter cloth and a wonderful marbled paper made by Antonio Velez Celemin for the book; the special copies are housed in a Cheviot tweed pouch made for the book by Sally Lucas.
This is a small book of 34 pages with six tipped-in illustrations, as well as a hand-coloured title page..."

All enquiries to
Simon Lawrence, The Fleece Press, 95 Denby Lane, Upper Denby, Huddersfield HD8 8TZ .
Telephone 01226 792200; email