Allen, James Baylis (DNB00)


ALLEN, JAMES BAYLIS (1803–1876), line-engraver, was born in Birmingham, 18 April 1803. He was the son of a button-manufacturer, and as a boy followed his father's business; but at about fifteen years of age he was articled to an elder brother, a general engraver in Birmingham, and about three years later he commenced his artistic training by attending the drawing classes of John Vincent Barber. In 1824 he came to London, and soon found employment in the studio of the Findens, for whose ‘Royal Gallery of British Art’ he engraved at a later period ‘Trent in the Tyrol,’ after Sir A. W. Callcott. Allen's best plates, however, are those after Turner's drawings for the ‘Rivers of France,’ 1833–5, consisting of views of Amboise, Caudebec, Havre, and St. Germain; and for the ‘England and Wales,’ 1827–32, for which he engraved the plates of Stonyhurst, Upnor Castle, Orfordness, Harborough Sands, and Lowestoft Lighthouse. To these may be added ‘The Falls of the Rhine,’ after Turner, for the ‘Keepsake’ of 1833; some plates after Stanfield and Allom for Heath's ‘Picturesque Annual,’ and others after Prout, Roberts, Holland, and J. D. Harding, for Jennings's ‘Landscape Annual;’ and ‘The Grand Bal Masqué at the Opera, Paris,’ after Eugène Lami—a plate remarkable for its effective rendering of artificial light and hot atmosphere—for Allom's ‘France illustrated.’ His larger works were executed chiefly for the ‘Art Journal,’ and comprise ‘The Columns of St. Mark, Venice,’ after Bonington, the ‘Battle of Borodino,’ ‘ Lady Godiva,’ and ‘The Fiery Furnace,’ after George Jones, R.A., and ‘Westminster Bridge, 1745,’ and ‘London Bridge, 1745,’ after Samuel Scott, for the Vernon Gallery; the ‘Death of Nelson,’ ‘Phryne going to the Bath as Venus,’ the ‘Decline of Carthage,’ ‘Ehrenbreitstein,’ ‘St. Mawes, Cornwall,’ and ‘Upnor Castle,’ for the Turner Gallery; and the ‘Battle of Meeanee,’ after Armitage, ‘Greenwich Hospital,’ after Chambers, ‘Hyde Park in 1851,’ after J. D. Harding, ‘Venice: the Bucentaur’ and ‘The Dogana, Venice,’ after Canaletto, and ‘The Herdsman,’ after Berchem, for the Royal Gallery; ‘The Nelson Column,’ after G. Hawkins, ‘Smyrna,’ after Allom, and ‘The Temple of Jupiter Panhellenius,’ after Turner. He engraved likewise a set of five views on the coasts of Suffolk and Kent, and plates for Bartlett's ‘Ireland,’ 1835, Bartlett's ‘Switzerland,’ 1839, Bartlett's ‘Canadian Scenery,’ 1840, Beattie's ‘Scotland,’ 1836, Finden's ‘Views of the Ports and Harbours of Great Britain,’ 1839, and Wright's ‘Rhine, Italy, and Greece,’ 1843.

Allen, together with William and Edward Radclyffe and the Willmores, belonged to a school of landscape-engravers which arose in Birmingham in the earlier part of the present century in consequence of the employment of numerous engravers of various kinds in the iron and steel manufactures of that city, which were then in some respects different from what they are now. He died, after a long illness, at Camden Town, London, 10 Jan. 1876.

[Art Journ. 1876, p. 106.]

R. E. G.