Friday, 5 January 2018

John Keeley Halswelle - artist and book illustrator

The wiki article about John Keeley Haswelle and the ODNB article offer quite a bit of information about his life and works. These detail his work as a painter, and the influences on his art. Also there are numerous reproductions of his paintings online. This blog gives more information about his work as a book illustrator. So far, I have encountered five books for which he provided illustrations. Two of the books were published by T. Nelson. The Lamplighter, [1854], has a title page after Halswelle, and is signed "Keeley Haswell [i.e. Halswelle] del; F. Borders Sc". The eight plates within the text are signed "Keeley Haswell". In 1863, T. Nelson published A.L.O.E’s The crown of success. This work has four plates which are signed “K. H.” Two books with Halswelle illustrations were published by Routledge, both authored by James Grant, both with covers designs by John Leighton. Jack Manly was published in 1861. The eight plates are signed: "Keeley Halswelle" and "Dalziel [Brothers]". Dick Rodney was published in 1863. The eight plates are signed: "K. Halswelle [i.e. Keeley Halswelle]" and "Dalziel [Brothers]". For these four books, Halswelle provided all of the illustrations.
Pen and Pencil Pictures from the Poets was published in Edinburgh by William P. Nimmo, [1866]. Edinburgh: Ballantyne, Roberts, & Company, Printers. viii, 152p. There is a copy in the British Library (shelf mark 11651.f.7.) and a copy in the de Beaumont collection, British Museum (P&D register number: 1992,0406.251). These two copies are bound in green sand-grain cloth, with an elaborate identical design blocked on the both covers, with a fine, separate design blocked on the spine.

 My copy, reproduced here, has the same design blocked on the covers and the spine as the BL and BM copies, but has brown sand-grain cloth. All of the pages have single red rule borders. All of the illustrations are part of the overall pagination, and are not separate plates inserted into the text.

In the book’s ‘[List of ] Illustrations’, there are thirty-five cited. The artists are given as: Keeley Haswelle[12 illustrations], John MacWhirter [9 illustrations], W. Smith [2], George Hay [4], John Lawson [1], S. J. Groves [2], Hugh Cameron [b.1835-d.1918], [4], Samuel Edmonston [1]. The engravers are: Pearson [i.e. probably George Pearson], [3], Robert Paterson [13], James Mackenzie Corner [10], J. Adam [i.e. possibly John Adam], [2], Frederick Borders [4], Thomas Bolton [3]. The illustrations after Halswelle are:

Page 2 – “The spirit of poetry”; engraved by Pearson

Page 6 – “The wedding procession”; engraved by Pearson

Page10 - “At night”; engraved by R. Paterson.

Page 14 – “The life-boat”; engraved by R. Paterson.

Page 22 – “Evening star”; engraved by J. M. Corner

Page 30 – “Evangeline”; engraved by Pearson

Page 38 – “The wreck of the Hesperus”; engraved by J. Adam

Page 44 – “Sonnet”; engraved by J. M. Corner

Page 56 – “A serenade”; engraved by T. Bolton

Page 60 – The Wanderer”; engraved by R/ Paterson

Page 92 – “Excelsior”; engraved by T. Bolton

Page 138 – “Twilight”; engraved by T. Bolton

 All of these illustrations by Halswelle are available to view on a Pinterest board.

Edmund M B King
January 2018

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