List of contributors to Rees's Cyclopædia

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1819 title page from the Cyclopædia

There were about 100 contributors to Rees's Cyclopædia, most of whom were Nonconformists. They were specialists in their fields, covering science, technology, medicine, manufacturing, agriculture, banking and transportation, as well as the arts and humanities. A number were members of the teaching staffs of the Royal Military Academy, and the Addiscombe Military Seminary of the East India Company. Other contributors were working journalists who wrote for scientific, medical and technical periodicals of the time. Several of the contributors were active in radical politics; one was gaoled for sedition and another indicted for treason.

Amongst the eminent writers engaged by Rees were Dr Charles Burney (1726–1814) who wrote on music and musical biography; Dr Lant Carpenter (1780–1870) on education, mental and moral philosophy; Tiberius Cavallo (1799–1809) on electricity and magnetism; John Farey, sr. (1766–1826), on canals, geology, music and surveying; John Farey, jr. (1791–1851) on machinery, manufactures, steam engine, and water. He also contributed a great number of the illustrations; John Flaxman(1755–1826) on sculpture; Luke Howard (1772–1867) on meteorology; John Landseer (1769–1852) on engraving; Sir William Lawrence, (1783–1867) on human and comparative anatomy; Sir James Edward Smith(1759–1828) on botany; David Mushet on metallurgy and chemistry; Rev. William Pearson(1767–1847) on astronomy; Sir Thomas Phillips (1770–1875) on painting.

Among the artists and engravers employed were Aaron Arrowsmith (1750–1823) who engraved the maps; William Blake(1757–1827) who made engravings to illustrate some of the sculpture articles; Thomas Milton (1743–1827) who engraved most of the natural history plates; Wilson Lowry (1762–1824) who engraved numerous of the plates especially those relating to architecture, machinery and scientific instruments.

With the exception of the botanical articles by Sir James Edward Smith, none of the articles are signed. Names were recorded in the Prospectus of 1802, the introduction at the start of the first volume, the paper covers of the unbound parts which have survived, and in a paper in the Philosophical Magazine, published in 1820. The following alphabetical list has been compiled from the foregoing sources. The majority appear in the Dictionary of National Biography, and in sources listed in the British Biographical Index, but these accounts rarely record an involvement with the Cyclopædia.

List of contributors[edit]

Name Topics
John Abernethy (1764–1831) Anatomy, Physiology
Arthur Aikin (1773–1854) Chemistry, Geology, Mineralogy
Charles Rochmont Aikin (1775–1847) Topics not Stated
Edmund Aikin (1780–1820) Architecture
William Anderson (1757–1837) Made drawings (perhaps of marine topics)
Aaron Arrowsmith (1750–1823) Directed Maps
John Bacon (1777–1859) Sculpture
Robert Bakewell (1768–1843) Geology, Mineralogy, Rock, Strata, Wool, Worsted
Peter Barlow (1776–1862) Algebra, Analysis, Geometry, Strength of Materials
Thomas Bateman (1778–1821) Medicine
Delabere Pritchett Blaine (1768–1845) Veterinary art; Sporting life
William Blair (1766–1822) Cipher, Stenography, Surgery
Robert Bland (1730–1816) Midwifery
John Bonnycastle (1780?–1821) Algebra, Analysis, Astronomy
Thomas Bradley (1751–1813) Medicine (Not listed in Phil. Mag. but on Prospectus)
William Thomas Brande (1788–1866) Chemistry
John Britton (1771–1857) Topography
Charles Burney (1726–1814) Musical biography, Music
Lant Carpenter (1780–1840) Education, Language, Mental & Moral Philosophy
Tiberius Cavallo (1749–1809) Electricity, Machinery, Mechanics
Bracy Clark (1771–1860) Comparative Anatomy (Not listed in Phil. Mag. but on a cover)
Thomas Clarkson (1760–1846) Various articles (?Slavery etc)
John Clennell (1772–1822) Topics not stated
Edward Coleman(1766–1839) Topics not stated (?Farriery)
Sir Astley Cooper (1768–1871) Topics not stated (?Medicine/Surgery)
Samuel Cooper (1780–1848) Surgery
William Crowe (1745–1829) Topics not stated (?Poetry)
John Cuthbertson (1743–1816) Electricity?
John Dalton (1766–1844) Chemistry, Meteorology
Thomas Daniell (1749–1840) Made drawings
William Daniell (1769–1837) Made drawings
Humphry Davy (1778–1829) Chemistry
John Davy (1790–1868) Chemistry
Richard Watson Dickson (1759–1824) Agriculture, Meteorology
Edward Donovan (1768–1837) Conchology, Entomology etc Made drawings and arranged natural history plates
John Duncan fl. 1800 Manufactures, Weaving
Sydenham Edwards (1769?–1819) Made Natural History drawings
Henry Ellis (1777–1869) Antiquities and various articles
John Farey, sr. (1766–1826) Canals, Geology, Measures, Music, Trig. Survey
John Farey, jr. (1791–1851) Machinery, Manufactures, Mechanics Mill, Steam Engine, Water etc. Made numerous mechanical drawings.
Joseph Farey (1796–1829) Made many mechanical and miscellaneous drawings
John Flaxman (1855–1826) Sculpture
John Fletcher Not identified Chemistry
Henry Fuseli (1741–1825) (Painting/Art?) In American prospectus only
James Glenie (1750–1817) Artillery carriages, Cannon, Fortification
George Glover (fl 1800) Naval Architecture. The writer is probably pseudonymous.
Agnes C. Hall (1777–1846) French School of Engraving
John Haslam (1764–1844) Mental derangement
Alexander Henderson (1780–1863) Medicine
Thomas Dix Hincks (1767–1857) Geography
Prince Hoare (1755–1834) Sculpture
Henry Howard (1769–1847) Drawing, and various articles
Luke Howard (1772–1864) Meteorology
James Ivory (1765–1842) Conic Sections, Curves, Geometry
John Jones (1766? – 1827) Grammar, Language
Jeremiah Joyce (1763–1816) Various articles
Patrick Kelly (1756–1842) Coinage, Exchanges, Standard, Weight
Kirkman (Dates not known) Made drawings
Charles Konig (1774–1851) Gem, Gem engraving, Geognosy, Mineralogy
John Landseer (1769–1852) Schools of engraving
William Lawrence (1783–1867) Anatomy, Human and Comparative Physiology
John Leslie (1766–1832) (? Mathematics)
Wilson Lowry (1762–1824) Made drawings for some and engraved very numerous plates.
James Macartney (1770–1843) Comparative Anatomy, Physiology
Andrew Mackay (1760–1809) Navigation
Benjamin Heath Malkin (1769–1842) Biographies
Alexander Marcet (1770–1822) Chemistry
John Milner (1752–1826) Gothic Architecture
Thomas Milton (1743–1827) Engraved Natural History Plates
Edward Moor (1771–1848) Indian Mythology
William Morgan (1750–1833) Annuities, Insurance[1]
David Mushet (1772–1847) Blast and Blowing Furnaces, Iron manufacture
George Nayler (1764?–1831) Heraldry
Peter Nicholson (1765–1844) Architecture, Carpentry, Joinery, Panorama, Perspective, Projection, Proportional Compasses, Shadows, Stereography, Stereometry.
John Opie (1761–1807) Painting
William Young Ottley (1771–1836) Painting
H. Parker Prosody, Versification
Samuel Parkes (1761–1825) Manufactures
Richard Pearson (1756–1836) Topics not stated (?Medicine)
William Pearson (1767–1847) Astronomical, Chronometrical, Optical etc. Instruments, Horology, Planetary Machines, Watch etc
Thomas Phillips (1770–1845) Painting
John Pond (1767–1836) Algebra, Analysis, Astronomy, Degree, Diophantine, Force etc
William Porden (1755–1822) Architecture
William Owen Pughe (1759–1835) English History
Abraham Rees (1743–1825) Gen. Editor; Atmosphere, Hydrostatics and various articles
Thomas Rees (1777–1864) Biography, various articles, examined and described the plates
Peter Mark Roget Sweating sickness, symptom, synocha, synochus, tabes, tetanus.
John Russell (1745–1806) Painting
George Sanderson Arch
John Scott (1774–1827) Engraved Natural History Plates
James Edward Smith (1759–1828) Botanical Biography, Botany D to the end
James Sowerby (1757–1822) Made Natural History drawings
Jonathan Stokes (1755–1831) Botany [sic] (Printed in the Prospectus in error)
Joseph Strutt (1749–1802) Antiquities
George Stubbs (1724–1806) Made Drawings
Charles Sylvester (? – 1828) Chemistry, Definite Proportions, File Cutting, Galvanism, Pottery, Voltaism etc.
W. Symonds Topics not stated
Charles Taylor( – 1816) Bleaching
John Taylor (1779–1863) Mining
William Thomas (Dates not known) Topics not stated
James Thomson (1779–1850) Cotton spinning and manufacture
William Tooke (1744–1820) Geography (?of Russia)
Sharon Turner (1768–1847) English History
Edmund Turrell (d. 1835) Enamelling
Thomas Webster (1773–1844) Architecture, Aquatinta
William Wood (1745–1808) Botany B to end of C
William Woodville (1752–1805) Botany A

List of contributors by topic[edit]

The previous list has been sorted into subject areas. It allows contributors of many single articles, usually of monograph length, to be identified. However a number of subjects, such as architecture and chemistry, have multiple contributors, so individual attributions are not possible.

Agriculture Richard Watson Dickson
Algebra Peter Barlow, John Bonnycastle, John Pond
Analysis John Bonnycastle, John Pond
Anatomy William Lawrence
Annuities William Morgan
Antiquities Henry Ellis, Joseph Strutt
Aquatinta Thomas Webster
Arch George Sanderson
Architecture Edmund Aikin, Peter Nicholson, William Porden, Thomas Webster
Artillery carriages James Glenie
Astronomy John Bonnycastle, John Pond
Astronomical instruments William Pearson
Atmosphere Abraham Rees
Biographies Benjamin Heath Malkin, Thomas Rees
Botanical Biography James Edward Smith
Musical Biography Charles Burney
Blast Furnaces David Mushet
Bleaching Charles Taylor
Blowing Furnaces David Mushet
Botany James Edward Smith, William Wood, William Woodville
Canals John Farey, sr
Cannon James Glenie
Carpentry Peter Nicholson
Chemistry Arthur Aikin, William Thomas Brande, John Dalton, Alexander Marcet, Charles Sylvester, Humphry Davy, John Davy, John Fletcher
Chronometrical instruments William Pearson
Cipher William Blair
Coinage Patrick Kelly
Comparative Anatomy Bracy Clark, James Macartney
Comparative Physiology William Lawrence
Conchology Edward Donovan
Conic Section James Ivory
Cotton spinning James Thomson
Curves James Ivory
Definite Proportions Charles Sylvester
Degree John Pond
Diophantine John Pond
Drawing Henry Howard
Dynamics Tiberius Cavallo
Education Lant Carpenter
Electricity Tiberius Cavallo, John Cuthbertson
Enamelling Edmund Turrell
English History William Owen Pughe, Sharon Turner
Entomology Edward Donovan
Exchanges Patrick Kelly
File Cutting Charles Sylvester
Force John Pond
Fortification James Glenie
French school of engraving John Landseer
Galvanism Charles Sylvester
Gem Charles Konig
Gem engraving Charles Konig
Geognosy Charles Konig
Geography Thomas Dix Hincks
Geography (?of Russia) William Tooke
Geology Arthur Aikin, Robert Bakewell, John Farey, sr
Geometry Peter Barlow, James Ivory
Gothic Architecture John Milner
Grammar John Jones
Heraldry George Nayler
Horology William Pearson
Human physiology William Lawrence
Hydrostatics Abraham Rees
Indian Mythology Edward Moor
Iron manufacture David Mushet
Italian school of engraving John Landseer
Joinery Peter Nicholson
Language Lant Carpenter, John Jones
Machinery Tiberius Cavallo, John Farey, jr
Manufacture of Cotton James Thompson
Manufactures John Duncan, John Farey, jr, Samuel Parkes
Mathematics John Leslie
Measures John Farey, sr
Mechanics Tiberius Cavallo, John Farey, jr
Medicine Alexander Henderson
Medicine Thomas Bateman
Mental & Moral Philosophy Lant Carpenter
Mental derangement John Haslam
Meteorology John Dalton, Richard Watson Dickson, Luke Howard
Midwifery Robert Bland
Mill John Farey, jr
Mineralogy Arthur Aikin, Robert Bakewell, Charles Konig
Mining John Taylor
Music Charles Burney, John Farey, sr
Naval Architecture George Glover
Navigation Andrew Mackay
Optical Instruments William Pearson
Other schools of engraving John Landseer
Painting John Opie, William Young Ottley, Thomas Phillips, John Russell
Panorama Peter Nicholson
Perspective Peter Nicholson
Physiology John Abernethy, James Macartney
Planetary Machines William Pearson
Pottery Charles Sylvester
Projection Peter Nicholson
Proportional Compasses Peter Nicholson
Prosody H. Parker
Rock Robert Bakewell
Sculpture John Bacon, John Flaxman, Prince Hoare
Shadows Peter Nicholson
Standard Patrick Kelly
Steam Engine John Farey, jr
Stenography William Blair
Stereography Peter Nicholson
Stereometry Peter Nicholson
Strata Robert Bakewell
Strength of Materials Peter Barlow
Surgery William Blair, Samuel Cooper
Topography John Britton
Trigonometrical Survey John Farey, sr
Versification H. Parker
Voltaism Charles Sylvester
Watch William Pearson
Water John Farey, jr
Weaving John Duncan
Weight Patrick Kelly
Wool Robert Bakewell
Worsted Robert Bakewell

The following are noted as contributors of unidentified topics: Abraham Rees, Charles Rochmont Aikin, Edward Coleman, Henry Ellis, Henry Howard, Jeremiah Joyce, John Clennel, Sir Astley Cooper, W. Crowe, (?Thomas) Clarkson, Richard Pearson, Thomas Rees, W. Symonds, and William Thomas.

List of artists[edit]

Artists not listed as contributors:

Name Plates
James Brown Cotton Manufacture IV
Edward Burney Instruments of Music
J. Burton Cotton Manufacture II, III, VII
W. Duesbury Chemistry XVI, XVII
Richard Duppa (1770–1831) Natural History, V, IV (Mount Vesuvius sketched 1797)
Edward Kennyon [sic Kennion] (1744–1809) Clouds I, II
John Laporte (1761–1839) Drawing, Plate 8. Plate 9
I. Glover [some just Glover] Naval Architecture II, VI, VIII, X, XI, XII, XIII, XIV; Rigging I, II, III,IV; Ships masts VII
L Hebert Astronomy, I, II; Constellation I, II; Woollen manufacture I [NB W. Hebert, artist, fl at end of C18]
Alex. Macpherson Geographiæ Antiquæ I, II, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, XIII, XIV, XVII, XVIII, XIX, XX, XXI, XXII
Strange (Dates not known) Ancient Musical Instruments IV
William Thomson (c1702-1802) Chemistry XX; Cotton Manufacture I
Cornelius Varley (1781–1873) Bleaching
Benjamin Lewis Vulliamy (1780–1854) Horology XLVI
T. Webster Musical Instruments, XI, XII, XII XII, XIV, XV, [This is not likely to be the Thomas Webster of the previous list]

List of engravers[edit]

Engravers not listed as contributors:

Name Plates
William? Bond ft 1803 Basso Relievo 1, 11
William Blake (1757–1827) Armour; Basso Releivo IV; Sculpture I, II, III, IV
J. Bye, 34 Duke Street, Smithfield Spain and Portugal
John Cooke, Camden Town fl 1800 Switzerland, East Germany, West Germany, Cape of Good Hope
Cooper ?Richard;?. Robert Geographiæ Antiquæ VI, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, XIII, XIV, XX, XXI; British Isles, Scotland, Ireland, Sweden & Denmark, S. Part of Russia in Europe, The Seven United Provinces, Hungary, Arabia, Persia, China, East India Islands, Pacific Ocean
Robert Hartley Cromeck (1770–1812) Sculpture I
Alex. Findlay (1790–1870) Geographim Antique I, III; Canals [etc] of Great Britain
J. Greig South Italy in Atlas
Hewitt, Queen Street, Bloomsbury England & Wales
Edward Jones, West Square. fl 1770 France, Asia, United States
Charles Knight (1743–1827?) Drawing IV
Jel- fecit [= John Landseer who wrote the articles] Monograms etc of French engravers Monograms etc of German engravers 1, 2, 3 Monograms etc of Low Countries engravers 2 Monograms etc of Italian engravers 1, 2, 3
Jno Lee Music I, II, III, IV, V, VI, VII, VIII, IX, X, XI, XII, XIII, XIV, XV, XVI, XVII, XVII; XIX, XX, XXI, XXII, XXIII; XXIV, XXV, XXVII, XXVIII; XXIX, XXX, XII, XXXIII; XLV, Plate Euclid, XLVIII; Ancient Musical Instruments III, IV, V; Instruments of Music VI,;Musical Instruments VII, VIII, IX; X, XI, X11, X111,XIV, XV; Writing by cipher II
Lewis Architecture XXVI
J Lodge The world on Mercator's Projection
Henry Noses (1782?–1870) Composition I, II
James Parker (1750–1805) Basso Relievo III

Pseudonymous and unknown contributors[edit]

Pseudonymous and unknown contributors are very few. Contributor Richard Watson Dickson published a book about gardening in 1807 under the name of Alexander MacDonald. At about this time there seems to have been a genre established of books on practical topics for craftsmen, containing information taken from the various encyclopædias being published then and written by journalists. One such was "Thomas Martin", The Circle of the Mechanical Arts.[2] Another was "John Nicholson", The Operative Mechanic, 1825.[3] Both the writers were described as civil engineers, yet are quite unknown in the profession and published nothing more.

A handful of contributors are just recorded by name, with no indication of what they contributed, nor whom they might be.

George Glover

George Glover (fl. 1804–18), naval architect, was the named author of the naval architecture articles. However, no person of that name has been traced writing anything else or to have a connection with shipbuilding matters. It seems probable that the name is pseudonymous.[4]

The articles are:

  • Blocks, vol 4, 1804/5
  • Boat, vol 4, 1804/5
  • Mast, vol 22, 1812
  • Rope and Rope-making, vol 30, 1815
  • Rigging, vol 30, 1815
  • Sail and Sail-Making, vol 31, 1815
  • Ship-Building, vol 32, 1816
  • Yards, vol 39, 1818

These articles were reprinted (with the one by John Farey on the manufacture of Ship's Blocks, from Volume 22), by David & Charles in 1972 with the title Rees's Naval Architecture. All the Glover articles have elements from the 1794 edition of Steel's Rigging and Seamanship and the 1818 edition of The Art of Rigging.

John Fletcher

A number of the covers (1805–1809) note he was a lecturer at the Royal Institution; he also wrote about chemistry.[5] So far, no biographical information has been found.


Noted as making drawings, but no candidate has been found.

H. Parker

Noted as writing about prosody and versification, but no candidate has been found.

George Sanderson

Noted as writing the "Arch" article, but no candidate has been found. He was a self-taught mathematician.[6] A portrait had appeared in Philosophical Magazine, vol. 15, with an appeal for a biography to be written.

W. Symonds

No topics or candidate have been found.

Notes and references[edit]

  1. ^ June Z. Fullmer, Technology, Chemistry, and the Law in Early 19th-Century England, Technology and Culture Vol. 21, No. 1 (Jan. 1980), pp. 1–28, at p. 1 note 1. Published by: The Johns Hopkins University Press on behalf of the Society for the History of Technology. Stable URL:
  2. ^ According to the Cambridge Bibliography of English Literature, vol 4. Martin was, in fact, John Farey, Jr.
  3. ^ According to Jeremy, David J. and Darnell, Polly C., Visual Mechanic Knowledge: The workshop drawings of Isaac Ebeneezer Markham (1795–1825), New England Textile Mechanic, Pub. Memoirs of the American Philosophical Society, Vol 263 , 2010, p 338, this author is also likely to have been Farey.
  4. ^ "George Glover". Retrieved 4 April 2012. 
  5. ^ Anonymous (1820). "Notices of New Books: The Cyclopædia ...". Philosophical Magazine. 1st series. 56 (269): 218–24. 
  6. ^ Anonymous (1820). "Notices of New Books: The Cyclopædia ...". Philosophical Magazine. 1st series. 56 (269): 218–24.