Radclyffe, William (DNB00)

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RADCLYFFE, WILLIAM (1783–1855), line-engraver was born in Birmingham on 20 Oct. 1783, and was indebted to his own efforts for his education. He was at first apprenticed to Mr. Tolley, and under him learnt the art of letter-cutting. He soon obtained some work and credit as an engraver of book illustrations. He was a friend and relative of John Pye [q. v.] the engraver, and they both determined to go and practise their art in London. Radclyffe's resources were, however, insufficient to take him so far, and he returned from Stratford-on-Avon to Birmingham, while Pye proceeded to London. At Birmingham Radclyffe became very intimate with John Vincent Barber [see under Barber, Joseph] and Charles Barber [q. v.] He showed great promise in an engraving of a portrait of Bishop Milner by J. V. Barber, and in 1805 by an engraved portrait of Lord Nelson. Some illustrative engravings by Radclyffe to Goldsmith's ‘Animated Nature’ attracted the attention of Charles Heath [q. v.] the engraver, who gave Radclyffe many commissions for engravings in the numerous art publications which Heath was then issuing. Radclyffe obtained great repute for his skill in landscape engraving, and was one of the best exponents of the highly finished but somewhat mechanical style of engraving then in vogue. He formed in Birmingham a school of engravers, who were for some time the leaders of their profession. Radclyffe showed an early appreciation of the works of the great water-colour artists, J. D. Harding, De Wint, and others, and especially of David Cox the elder [q. v.] Some of these artists were engaged by Radclyffe to make the drawings (now in the Birmingham Art Gallery) for ‘The Graphic Illustrations of Warwickshire,’ published in 1829, in which all the plates were engraved by Radclyffe's own hand. He also engraved many plates after J. M. W. Turner, R.A., who had a high esteem for Radclyffe's work. A second complete set of landscape engravings after Turner, David Cox, Creswick, and others, was executed for Roscoe's ‘Wanderings in North and South Wales.’ Others were executed for the ‘Oxford Almanack,’ the ‘Art Journal,’ and similar publications. Radclyffe lived in the George Road, Edgbaston, and died on 29 Dec. 1855. He aided every effort for the promotion of art in Birmingham, and was a member of the Birmingham Society of Artists from its foundation until his death.

Of his three sons William Radclyffe (1813–1846), though he learnt engraving, became a portrait-painter, practising in Birmingham and London with some success, but died of paralysis on 11 April 1846, in his father's lifetime; Charles William Radclyffe, who became an artist and a member of the Birmingham Society of Artists, and still survives; and

Edward Radclyffe (1809–1863), born in 1809 in Birmingham, where he was educated under his father and J. V. Barber, and followed his father's profession as an engraver. He received medals for engraving at the ages of fifteen and seventeen from the Society of Arts in London, and in his twenty-first year removed to the metropolis. He was largely employed in engraving for the ‘annuals,’ then so popular, and for the ‘Art Journal’ and other works. He also was employed for many years by the admiralty in engraving charts. Like his father, he was an intimate friend of David Cox the elder, and published several etchings and engravings from his works. He planned a ‘liber studiorum’ in imitation of Turner, but had executed only three etchings for this at the time of his death in November 1863. He married, in 1838, Maria, daughter of Major Revell of Round Oak, Englefield Green, Surrey.

[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Catalogue of an Exhibition of Engravings by Birmingham Men, Birmingham, 1877; private information.]

L. C.

Dictionary of National Biography, Errata (1904), p.230
N.B.— f.e. stands for from end and l.l. for last line

Page Col. Line  
146 ii 16
Radclyffe, William: for 1796 read 1783
147 i 12 for He left three sons, of whom read Of his three sons
17 after 1846 insert in his father's lifetime