George Dalziel (George Dalziel)

George Dalziel

Engraver. Son of Alexander Dalziel (1781–1832) and his wife, Elizabeth Hills. Sibling to seven brothers and four sisters. George was a draughtsman and wood-engraver, the founder and leader of the London firm, he was born in December 1815, at Wooler, Northumberland, and was educated at Newcastle upon Tyne. He went to London early in 1835 as pupil to the wood-engraver Charles Gray, with whom he remained for four years. He then set up independently, and in 1840 was joined by his brother Edward at 48 Albert Street, Mornington Crescent. Work came to them partly through association with more established wood-engravers. Through Ebenezer Landells, they engraved for the early numbers of Punch (started in 1841) and the Illustrated London News (started in 1842), and were thus well placed to participate in the great flowering of the English pictorial press. Their Tyneside origins led them to engrave for the artist William Harvey, who hailed from Newcastle, and who introduced them to the publisher Charles Knight, another pioneer in the use of wood-engraved illustrations in popular works. Other publishers with whom they worked were Cadell of Edinburgh (on the Abbotsford Edition of Sir Walter Scott’s novels), Joseph Cundall of Bond Street, and David Bogue. In 1850 they began an association with the publisher George Routledge, which was to underpin their later success. They were joined in their wood-engraving business by their sister Margaret in 1851, and by their brother John in 1852 and Thomas in 1860. Their business address changed to 4 Camden Street North, Camden Town (thus cited in Post Office directories from 1854). George married Mary Ann, the daughter of Josiah Rumball of Wisbech, in 1846, but they had no children. Their collaboration with Millais endured, and included his illustrations for Trollope’s Orley Farm (1861), Framley Parsonage (1862), and The Small House at Allington (1864). The most notable collaboration with Millais was The Parables of Our Lord, a six-year project which was published in 1864. A similar but even more extended project was an illustrated Bible. The illustrations for this were never completely assembled, but sixty-two that were to hand were published in 1881 as Dalziel’s Bible Gallery. This included work by Millais, Holman Hunt, Ford Madox Brown, E. J. Poynter, Lord Leighton, Edward Burne-Jones, Simeon Solomon, and Frederick Sandys, and can be seen as a Pre-Raphaelite work rather out of due time. The Dalziels also engraved work by Arthur Hughes, who might be seen as the children’s Pre-Raphaelite. Many of the books with engravings by the Dalziels were conceived primarily as illustrated books, and were commissioned, financed, and produced by the brothers, though they appeared over the names of other publishers. Most prominent among these were Routledge and their partners, Warne, who had a close relationship with the Dalziels, concentrating on the business side of publishing, and leaving the art direction to the engravers. The Dalziels’ ventures (usually lavishly produced in gold-blocked, embossed cloth bindings, and called fine art gift books) often took the form of anthologies (of text by various writers and illustrations by various artists, the illustrations sometimes being reused in different contexts), which have been criticized as lacking a unified aesthetic. Among them were The Home Affections Pourtrayed by the Poets (ed. C. Mackay, 1858), Summer Time in the Country (ed. R. A. Willmott, 1858), English Sacred Poetry (ed. Willmott, 1862), A Round of Days (1866), The Spirit of Praise (1866), Wayside Posies (1867), Golden Thoughts from Golden Fountains (1867), Touches of Nature (1867), and Picture Posies (1874). There were also texts by a single author with illustrations from many hands, such as the poems of Wordsworth (1859) and Jean Ingelow (1867). Sometimes a single artist’s vision of a whole work was conveyed, as in the edition of Shakespeare (1858–61) illustrated by Sir John Gilbert, Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress (1863) and Defoe’s Robinson Crusoe (1864), both illustrated by J. D. Watson, and Cervantes’ Don Quixote (1866), illustrated by Arthur Boyd Houghton.The Dalziels also contributed engravings of the work of their stable of artists to magazines, such as Good Words and the Cornhill Magazine (both begun in 1860) and the Sunday Magazine (begun 1865), which were important showcases for ‘sixties’ illustration, and assisted in the emergence of several new artists with marked individual talents: Arthur Boyd Houghton, G. J. Pinwell, Frederick Sandys, M. J. Lawless, J. W. North, Fred Walker, and Frederick Barnard. Most of these contributed to another major project, the Household Edition of Dickens’s works, published by Chapman and Hall (1871–9). The Dalziels’ publications in the 1860s became esteemed and collectable, and they exhibited wood-engravings at the Royal Academy in 1861–3, 1866, 1869, and 1870. George Dalziel died in August 1902 at Dalkeith, 107 Fellows Road, Hampstead, where he had lived since 1900. (bio by: Shock)


  • December, 01, 1815
  • England


  • August, 08, 1902
  • England


  • Highgate Cemetery (West)
  • England

2588 profile views