Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Lowry, Joseph Wilson

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LOWRY, JOSEPH WILSON (1803–1879), engraver, born in London on 7 Oct. 1803, was the only son of Wilson Lowry [q. v.] by his second wife, Rebecca Delvalle. He received his artistic training from his father, and from both parents inherited a strong taste for natural science and mathematics. As an engraver he devoted himself wholly to scientific subjects, and became one of the ablest illustrators of works of that class. Lowry's first employment was upon the ‘Encyclopædia Metropolitana,’ and later he executed a series of plates of London Bridge for Sir John Rennie. Other important works on which he was engaged were Phillips's ‘Geology of Yorkshire,’ 1835, Scott Russell's great treatise on ‘Naval Architecture,’ 1865, ‘Weale's Scientific Series,’ and the ‘Journals’ of the Institute of Naval Architects and the Royal Geographical Society. He also engraved a series of illustrations of British fossils, issued by the Christian Knowledge Society, and many excellent maps, including the set published by the ‘Dispatch’ newspaper.

Lowry was a student of geology, and early in life constructed with his friend Professor Phillips a geological model of the Isle of Wight. On the establishment of the Geological Surrey of Great Britain and Ireland he became engraver to the department, and it is by the vast number of beautiful plates of 'sections' and fossils which he executed in that capacity that he will be remembered; on these he continued to work until his death. Lowry was on terms of intimacy with all the leading members of the Royal Geographical Society, of which he was a fellow, and with the geologists connected with the Jermyn Street Museum, who frequently met at his house. He exhibited some marine views at the Royal Academy and British Institution in 1829, 1830, and 1831. He died unmarried in Robert Street, Hampstead Road, on 10 June 1879.

[Nature, 1879, ii. 197; Athenæum. 1879, i. 706; information from Dr. A. H. Robinson.]

F. M. O'D.