Melton prior Institut


Linton- Life in the Collections

John Thurston:

6) Religious Emblems. Being a Series of Engravings on Wood by C. Nesbit, Branston, Clennell and Hole.

The original edition was published by Rudolf Ackermann, a popular London publisher of pictorial prints, with the intention “to draw into one focus all the talent of the day.” The drawings were executed by John Thurston, a trained copper plate engraver, who became the most influential draughtsman on wood. Linton held those refined designs, which increasingly sought to imitate the imagery of intaglio, responsible for a decline of the art of wood engraving. Nevertheless, this early issue by Thurston marks in his view a pinnacle as it combines some of the best engravings of his xylographic heroes, of Luke Clennell and Charlton Nesbit, two disciples of Thomas Bewick who were trained in his workshop in Newcastle, and of Robert Branston, a former copper plate engraver, who became the actual founder of the London School of Wood Engraving. Branston was a relative and teacher of George Wilmot Bonner, to whose workshop Linton had been apprenticed in his sixteenth year. In his Manual of Instruction from 1884, Linton recommends the study of these twenty-one engravings of the Religious Emblems to all students of xylography: “They are all bold, large cuts, and might be called coarse and mannered, but for their very boldness are the better guides for the student; and they have the one great merit – the line is always intelligent and expressive.”




Copies of Robert Branston´s etching by G.T. Devereux and Blasius Höfel