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William Harvey (1796-1866)


William Harvey (1796-1866)

William Harvey played an important role in the development of the art of illustration during the first half of the nineteenth century. Having trained as a wood engraver, ‘he always made his drawing sympathetic to the process and helpful to those who worked to his drawings’ (Iain Bain, 2004, page 684). As a result, he proved popular and prolific.

William Harvey was born in Newcastle upon Tyne on 13 July 1796, the son of the superintendant of the Public Baths, Westgate. His talent for drawing being recognised at an early age, he became the last apprentice of the pioneering wood engraver, Thomas Bewick, during the years 1810-17. He assisted on the illustrations to Bewick’s famous edition of The Fables of Aesop (1818), and would remain in contact with his master until his death a decade later.

In 1817, Harvey moved to London, and gradually established himself as a wood engraver.

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