E. B. Bensell

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E. B. Bensell
Born Edmund Birckhead Bensell
(1842-06-11)June 11, 1842
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Died November 24, 1894(1894-11-24) (aged 52)
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
Nationality American
Education Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts
Known for Illustration
Movement Philadelphia Sketch Club

Edmund Birckhead Bensell (June 11, 1842 – November 24, 1894) was an American artist and illustrator, usually known as E. B. Bensell. While an accomplished painter, he is best known for his ink drawings, particularly his illustrations for Charles F. Hazeltine's edition of Shakespeare.

Life and family[edit]

Bensell was born in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, the son of Edmund Shippen Bensell and Margaret Sperry Bensell. His older brother was artist George Frederick Bensell. As an adult he lived in the Mount Airy neighborhood of Philadelphia. On March 20, 1871, Bensell married Eliza Robert Poole, a musician who frequently sang in the city's churches. They had one daughter, Marion Bensell, born in 1874. He died at the age of 52 in or near Philadelphia.


Bensell and his brother George both attended and graduated from the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. While there, in 1860, they joined with four other students to form the Philadelphia Sketch Club, one of America's oldest existing artists' clubs. George was the club's first president, and It first met in his studio. Bensell also served as club president, from 1869 to 1871. The brothers' enthusiastic abolitionist feelings influenced its early political sentiments, and many of their early sketches were published in its popular publication, the Sketch Club Portfolio. At first primarily a painter, Bensell made his reputation and career as an illustrator in the magazines and books of his day. He worked at various times for the firms of Harper & Brothers, J. B. Lippincott & Co., Charles Scribner's Sons and J. M. Stoddard & Co. His illustrations often appeared together with those of his brother until the latter's premature death in 1879.

Bibliography of books illustrated[edit]

General references[edit]

External links[edit]