Jackson, John (1801-1848) (DNB00)

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JACKSON, JOHN (1801–1848), wood-engraver, was born of humble parentage at Ovingham, Northumberland, on 19 April 1801. His early attempts at drawing attracted the notice of his neighbours, and in the expectation that he might follow the example of Thomas Bewick [q. v.], a native of the same village, he was apprenticed to Messrs. Armstrong & Walker, engravers and printers at Newcastle. On the failure of their business he was apprenticed to Bewick, and at the close of his apprentice- ship came to London. Here he assisted William Hughes to engrave the illustrations of Mr. Weare's murder for the ‘Observer,’ and was afterwards employed by James Northcote, R.A. [q. v.], to engrave most of his well-known series of ‘Fables.’ Henceforth Jackson was one of the first engravers of illustrations on wood for popular literature or journalism. His work for Charles Knight's ‘Penny Magazine’ did much to insure the success of the periodical. Jackson also drew and painted domestic subjects with some success. Some of his drawings were engraved in the ‘New Sporting Magazine,’ and to that magazine as well as to Hone's ‘Every-day Book’ he contributed literary articles. Jackson took a literary and historical, as well as a practical interest in his profession as a wood-engraver, and continually collected materials for a history of wood-engraving. Ultimately he and his intimate friend, William Andrew Chatto [q. v.], joined together in bringing out the work in 1839. The project was Jackson's; the subjects were selected by him, and he contributed some of the historical matter, bore the cost of production, and engraved the illustrations; some of his best work as a wood-engraver is to be found in the first edition. The whole was edited and brought into shape by Chatto. A dispute followed between Jackson and Chatto as to their respective shares in the credit of producing it. Jackson died in London of chronic bronchitis on 27 March 1848, and was buried in Highgate cemetery. He was the brother of Mason Jackson, the well-known wood-engraver. There are good examples of his work in the print room at the British Museum.

[Information from Mr. Mason Jackson.]

L. C.