Williams, Samuel (DNB00)

From Wikisource
Jump to: navigation, search

WILLIAMS, SAMUEL (1788–1853), draughtsman and wood engraver, was born at Colchester, of humble parentage, on 23 Feb. 1788. He was apprenticed to a Colchester printer named Marsden, but devoted all his spare time to drawing and engraving on wood, and subsequently adopted this as his profession. He first established himself in his native town, but in 1819 settled in London. His earliest patron was Crosby the publisher, for whom he drew and cut a series of illustrations to a work on natural history (1810), and he eventually became one of the ablest and best employed of English wood engravers, specially excelling in landscape work. He was also a clever and facile designer, and a large proportion of his cuts were done from his own drawings; these include the illustrations to Whittingham's edition of ‘Robinson Crusoe,’ 1822; Mrs. Trimmer's ‘Natural History,’ 1823–4; ‘The British Stage,’ 1826 and following years; Scott's Bible, 1833–4; ‘The Olio,’ a weekly magazine, 1828–33; Hone's ‘Every-Day Book,’ 1825–7; Lady C. Guest's ‘Mabinogion,’ 1838; Thomson's ‘Seasons,’ 1841; Selby's ‘British Forest Trees,’ 1842; and Miller's ‘Pictures of Country Life,’ 1847. Among his best cuts from the designs of other artists are those in Wiffen's edition of Tasso's ‘Jerusalem Delivered,’ 1823; Lockhart's ‘Spanish Ballads,’ 1840; the Abbotsford edition of the Waverley Novels, 1842; Scrope's ‘Deer-stalking,’ 1846; Kugler's ‘Handbook of Painting’ and Milman's ‘Horace,’ 1849. In the early part of his life Williams painted some excellent miniatures and a few oil pictures. He died on 19 Sept. 1853, leaving four sons, who all practised wood engraving with success. A large collection of his works is in the printroom of the British Museum.

Thomas Williams (fl. 1830), younger brother of Samuel, was his pupil, and almost equalled him in skill as a wood engraver, but worked entirely from the designs of others. Specimens of his art are to be found in most of the illustrated publications of the day, including Northcote's ‘Fables,’ 1828; and Martin and Westall's ‘Bible Illustrations,’ 1833.

[Athenæum, 1853, pp. 1231, 1261; Notes and Queries, 1st ser. viii. 312; Linton's Masters of Wood Engraving; Ottley's Dict. of Painters and Engravers.]

F. M. O'D.