James Thomson (engraver)

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Thomas Frognall Dibdin, engraving by Thomson after Thomas Phillips.

James Thomson (1788–1850) was an English engraver, known for his portraits. He completed his apprenticeship in engraving and then established himself independently, following the dot and stipple style. His engravings and paintings featured both leading figures of his day and those of previous periods.


Thomson was baptised on 5 May 1788 at Mitford, Northumberland, where his father James Thomson, who later became vicar of Ormesby in Yorkshire, was then acting as curate. He was sent to London to be articled to an engraver named Mackenzie. After completing and apprenticeship with Mackenzie, he worked for two years under Anthony Cardon, and then established himself independently. He became an accomplished engraver in the dot and stipple style. He died at his house in Albany Street, London, on 27 September 1850.


Elisabeth Pepys in a stipple engraving by Thomson, after a 1666 painting (now destroyed) by John Hayls.[1]

Working mainly on portraits, Thomson was engaged for major illustrated works including Edmund Lodge's Portraits of Illustrious Personages, Fisher's National Portrait Gallery (of Henry Fisher, Son and Jackson, edited by William Jerdan), Horace Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting, Charles Heath's Book of Beauty, Anne Mee's Gallery of Beauties, the Keepsake, the Court Magazine, and Ancient Marbles in the British Museum.

Thomson's single plates included the portraits:


By his wife, whose maiden name was Lloyd, he had two daughters, one of whom, Ann, married Frederick Goodall.



 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainLee, Sidney, ed. (1898). "Thomson, James (1788-1850)". Dictionary of National Biography 56. London: Smith, Elder & Co.