Northumbrian Language Society

The Masthead

The Society’s masthead is drawn from the works of Joseph Crawhall II (1821 – 1896).

Joseph Crawhall III – Portrait – Melanie Wood – Special Collections – Robinson Library -Tyne & Wear museums

Joseph Crawhall II (1821–1896) was born at West House, Newcastle. He was a ropemaker, author, and watercolour painter.  Like his father (also Joseph), a Newcastle ropemaker, he was interested in writing and watercolour painting. He went on to produce many books, illustrated by himself. His first (printed by himself in 1859) was entitled The Compleatest Angling Booke That Ever was Writ. The second edition (printed in 1881) contained illustrations from his son, Joseph Crawhall and James Guthrie (1859–1930).

Crawhall was a friend of Charles Keene (1823–1891), illustrator of Punch, and they worked together for over 200 drawings for the journal. There are 21 albums of these drawings in the Kelvingrove Art Gallery and Museum in Glasgow.

Joseph Crawhall II was a man of many talents. As well as a wood engraver and writer, he was a businessman, patron of the arts, campaigner for the preservation of architecture, collaborator of Charles Keene, book designer, collector of antiquities, and keen angler, as well as becoming secretary of the Newcastle Arts Association in 1880. Fully absorbed in the life of a thriving and productive city, he made a significant contribution to Newcastle in every area of interest that he pursued.

In his role as a collector of antiquities he published A Beuk o’ Newcassell Sangs Collected by Joseph Crawhall in 1888. It too was a pictorial book, giving in this case, the lyrics of the songs, in many cases the actual music, and all beautifully illustrated using his woodcuts.

Sotheby’s have been involved in marketing his works, the artist having been supported by members of the Coats family.   An article on the Sotheby’s website gives more detail.

As recently as 1990 Crawhall was being mentioned in a sale of his works.

‘[Crawhall] has always been a consummate artist, the perfection of the means for the end he had in view, the fineness of his instinct for form, colour and design; the rare knowledge of life and movement and the even rarer application of that knowledge to an art of the most exacting sensitiveness and power – these things will always give him a unique place. Such a combination exists in none else known to me and his work throughout has, in my mind, borne the stamp of a master.’

SIR JAMES GUTHRIE, QUOTED IN, VIVIEN HAMILTON, JOSEPH CRAWHALL 1861-1913, ONE OF THE GLASGOW BOYS, GLASGOW, 1990, P. 153

 

For more information see

this Wikipedia article

This article in Tyne and Wear Museums

Joseph Crawhall (II) Original Woodcut From COMPLEATEST ANGLING BOOKE.

 

Crawhall’s A pictorial archive of quaint cuts in the chap book style was published by Dover Press (now long out of print) is a collection of woodcuts.

After its  creation, the Society created a an amalgam of Crawhall woodcuts, which has been used as a masthead since then, and can still be seen on society publications.

 

 

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