Have your very own Thomas Bewick print

The Dunkey Sheep

Thomas Bewick was one of the most innovative artists Britain has ever produced. With a career spanning over six decades, he created a series of engraving blocks that he used to illustrate his books. Prints made from these original 200-year-old blocks are now available to purchase from Cherryburn

Bewick created the wooden blocks between around 1790-1818 to use in his books; A History of British Birds, A General History of Quadrupeds, and Aesop’s Fables; or as the illustrious Vignettes. He personally carved each of them and they therefore must be preserved, but their purpose is to create intricate pieces of art, which is why many are still used to print with.

The prints available are produced by Master Printer Christopher Bacon in order to do justice to Thomas Bewick. To preserve the centuries-old blocks, only 20 prints per block are commissioned each decade, giving each one an exclusive status. Prior to printing, the condition of the block is carefully examined to determine whether it can still be used without causing damage, in which case it will be decommissioned. As a result, each block can only produce a limited and unknown number of prints in its lifetime. 

As opposed to a copy of a painting for which an artist’s work is merely mimicked, these prints are actually made by the very blocks that Bewick himself created through the same process, meaning that each print has been indirectly crafted by him. What’s more, no two prints are the same and each features its own individuality and unique details. It is this idiosyncrasy that gives these prints character and a degree of originality.

Below are the prints currently available from Cherryburn. They can bought either framed (£100) or unframed (£50), and every penny goes back into caring for his birthplace and continuing his legacy. If you would like to purchase one of these distinguished pieces, please visit Cherryburn, call on 01661 843276 or email cherryburn@nationaltrust.org.uk *

*We can post prints out to you but there is a £5 postage and packaging fee. We can only post unframed prints.