Landells, Ebenezer (DNB00)

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LANDELLS, EBENEZER (1808–1860), wood-engraver and projector of ‘Punch,’ born at Newcastle-on-Tyne on 13 April 1808, was third son of Ebenezer Landells, merchant of that town, and a native of Berwick-on-Tweed, and was descended from William Graham (1737–1801) [q. v.], minister of the Close meeting-house at Newcastle. Landells was educated at Mr. Bruce's academy in Newcastle, and at the age of fourteen was apprenticed by his father for seven years to Thomas Bewick [q. v.] the wood-engraver. He was a favourite pupil of Bewick. After his master's death Landells accepted an engagement to work in London with John Jackson [q. v.] the wood-engraver, and is stated to have resided with him for some time, from November 1829, in Clarendon Street, Clarendon Square. He was also employed by William Harvey [q. v.] on the second series of Northcote's ‘Fables,’ for which he engraved most of the initial letters, and he engraved some of the drawings by H. K. Browne and Cattermole for Dickens's ‘Master Humphrey's Clock.’ This and other work was done in partnership with his fellow-townsman Charles Gray. For a time he superintended the fine-art engraving department of the firm of Branston & Vizetelly. Landells was soon known among the artists of his time in London, both as an industrious and deserving artist and as an agreeable companion. He always retained a great love for Newcastle, and when a large staff of assistants was working under him on wood-engraving, they nicknamed him ‘Tooch- it-oop,’ from his strong Northumbrian accent, which, never deserted him. His chief work was contributed to illustrated periodical literature.

Landells started about 1840 an illustrated journal of fashion, called ‘The Cosmorama,' which had s short life. Shortly afterwards he conceived the idea of ‘Punch, or the London Charivari,’ of which he was the original projector. He communicated the idea to Henry Mathew, who was one of the first editors, Landells undertaking to find the drawings and engravings. At first there were three shareholders in the venture, Landells holding one, Mayhew, Mark Lemon, and Stirling Coyne, the editors, a second, and Joseph Last, the printer, a third. The first number appeared on 17 July 1841. After a few weeks Landells purchased Last's share, and on 24 Dec. 1842 sold his two shares to Messrs. Bradbury & Evans for 350l., on condition of being employed for a fixed time as engraver for the paper. Messrs. Bradbury & Evans also acquired the editors’ share, and thus became the sole proprietors. When Herbert Ingram [q. v.] started the ‘Illustrated London News’ in 1842, Landells was consulted. He engraved much for the early numbers, and was employed to make sketches of the queen's first journey to Scotland for reproduction in the per. He played a similar part in the royal visits to the Rhine and to other places, and was the first special artist-correspondent. His Scottish sketches were noticed by the queen, who thenceforth showed him much favour. In 1843 he was associated with Ingram and others in starting the ‘Illuminated Magazine,' a periodical of which Douglas Jerrold [q. v.] was editor, and for which Landells supplied all the woodcut illustrations. A more successful venture for Landells was the 'Lady's Newspaper,' of which the first number appeared on 2 Jan. 1847, with a title-page engraved by him. This was the earliest paper devoted to female interests, and after a successful career was ultimately incorporated with the still existing weakly paper ‘The Queen.' Landells was connected, either as artist or proprietor, with other journalistic experiments, such as 'The Great Gun’ (started in 1844), ‘Diogenes’ (1858), the ‘Illustrated Inventor,' &c., but his pecuniary profits were never large. His later engravings lack any special excellence, but he was a good instructor and much respected by his pupils and assistants, among whom were Edmund Evans, Birket Foster, J. Greenaway, T. Armstrong, the Dalziels, and other well-known wood-engravers. Landells, according to the custom of his profession, usually put his own name to the blocks which were engraved under his direction. He illustrated some books for children, such as the ‘Boy's Own Toy Maker’ (1858; 10th edit. 1881), the ‘Illustrated Paper Model Maker’ (1860), &c. He died on 1 Oct. 1860 at Victoria Grove, West Brompton, and his widow with two sons and four daughters, survived him. He was married, on 9 Jan. 1832, at New St. Pancras Church, London, to Anne, eldest daughter of Robert McLegan of London.

Landells, Robert Thomas (1838–1877), artist and special war correspondent, born in London on 1 Aug. 1888, was eldest son of the above. He was educated principally in France, and afterwards studied drawing and painting in London. In 1856 Landells was sent by the ‘Illustrated London News’ as special artist to the Crimea, and contributed some illustrations of the close of the campaign. After the peace he went to Moscow or the coronation of the csar, Alexander II, and contributed illustrations of the ceremony. He was present as artist throughout the war between Germany and Denmark in 1868, receiving decorations from both sides, and again in the war between Austria and Prussia in 1866; on the latter occasion he was attached to the staff of the Crown Prince of Prussia, afterwards Emperor Frederick III. On the outbreak of the Franco-German war in 1870 he was again attached to the staff of the crown prince, and during the siege of Paris resided at the prince's headquarters in Versailles. He received the Parisian cross not only for his labours as an artist, but for his assistance to the ambulances, and also the Bavarian cross for valour. His war sketches were always much admired. As a painter he also had some success. He was employed by the queen to paint memorial pictures of various ceremonials which she attended. He died on 6 Jan. 1877 at Winchester Terrace, Chelsea. He married, on 19 March 1857, at New St. Pancras Church, London, Elisabeth Ann, youngest daughter of George Herbert Rodwell [q. v.], musical composer, and grand-daughter of Liston the actor. By her he had two sons and two daughters.

[Informaion from Mrs J. H. Chaplin, Mr. Mason Jackson, and Mr. M. H. Spielman.]

L. C.