Harvey, William (1796-1866) (DNB00)

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HARVEY, WILLIAM (1796–1866), wood engraver and designer, was born at Newcastle-upon-Tyne on 13 July 1796, his father being keeper of the baths at the Westgate. At fourteen years of age he was apprenticed to Thomas Bewick [q. v.], with whom he became a great favourite. He worked with Temple, another pupil, upon Bewick's ‘Fables of Æsop,’ 1818, transferring to the block many of the designs of a third pupil, Robert Johnson. He removed to London in September 1817, studying drawing under Haydon, and anatomy under Sir Charles Bell. Lance, Eastlake, and Landseer were his fellow-pupils with Haydon, for whom he engraved on wood, in imitation of copper-plate, the large block of the ‘Assassination of Dentatus.’ This, at the time of its production, was probably the most ambitious block which had been cut in England. After the death in 1822 of John Thurston, the chief designer on wood in London, Harvey abandoned engraving for design, becoming speedily as popular as he was facile, although he grew with time unpleasantly mannered. One of his earliest works was his illustrations to Henderson's ‘History of Ancient and Modern Wines,’ 1824. Among his other efforts may be mentioned ‘The Tower Menagerie,’ 1828; ‘Zoological Gardens,’ 1830–1; ‘Children in the Wood,’ 1831; ‘Blind Beggar of Bethnal Green,’ 1832; ‘Story without an End,’ ‘Pictorial Prayer Book,’ ‘Bible,’ ‘Pilgrim's Progress,’ ‘Shakespeare,’ and many other of the innumerable issues of Charles Knight's untiring press. ‘The history of wood engraving,’ says a writer in the ‘Art Union’ for 1839, ‘for some years past, is almost a record of the works of his [Harvey's] pencil.’ His masterpieces are his illustrations to ‘Northcote's Fables,’ 1828–33, and to Lane's ‘Thousand and One Nights,’ 1838–40, in the latter of which he worked under the eye of the translator himself (who assisted him with indications of costume and accessories), and his somewhat florid style was not unsuited to oriental subjects. He died at Prospect Lodge, Richmond, in which place he had long resided, on 13 Jan. 1866; he was an amiable, unpretending man, and the last survivor of Bewick's pupils.

[Thomas Bewick and his Pupils, by the present writer, 1884; Robinson's Thomas Bewick, 1887; Chatto's Treatise on Wood Engraving, 1839; Redgrave's Dict. of Artists.]

A. D.