Meet the Artist: W.H. Bartlett

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This week we found several etchings from the 1840’s British artist William Henry Bartlett (W.H. Bartlett).

W.H. Bartlett was born 1809 in northwest London.

Bartlett apprenticed with John Britton, who was an antiquary (an interest in old things), author, and editor. John Britton introduced a new form of literary work focused on topography (shape and features of the land). He published several works focused on topography and antiquities: The Beauties of England and Wales, a 9 volume set on the Architectural Antiquities of Great Britain, and a 14 volume set Cathedral Antiquities of England.

It is clear that the apprenticeship with Britton had a lasting impact on the work of Bartlett. Bartlett became one of the most prominent illustrators of topography. Much of Bartlett’s work will depict some aspect of the past. Nathaniel Parker Willis, an American author poet and editor who published a work about America illustrated by Bartlett said, "Bartlett could select his point of view so as to bring prominently into his sketch the castle or the cathedral, which history or antiquity had allowed".

W.H. Bartlett traveled extensively through Britain, North America, Balkans, and the Middle East. He would sketch scenes which would later be turned into engravings and published. He wrote in the preface to one of his books that he wanted to portray a “lively impression of actual sights”.

He died of fever at the age of 45. He was on a ship returning from a trip to the Near East.

W.H. Bartlett Hand Colored Etching Fredericton Published by George Virtue 1842

W.H. Bartlett Hand Colored Etching Fredericton Published by George Virtue 1842

W.H. Bartlett Hand Colored Etching Citadel of Quebec Canada Published 1840

W.H. Bartlett Hand Colored Etching Citadel of Quebec Canada Published 1840