Bell, Robert Charles (DNB00)

BELL, ROBERT CHARLES (1806–1872), line-engraver, was born at Edinburgh in 1806. At an early age he was articled to John Beugo, the friend of Burns, and whilein his studio he also attended the classes at the Trustees' Academy, then under the direction of Sir William Allan. After leaving Beugo he engraved a series of Scottish views and a considerable number of vignette portraits, the best known of which are those of Professor Wilson and Dr. Brunton; but the works which brought him more prominently into notice were 'The Rush Plaiters,' after Sir George Harvey, and the plates which he engraved for the Royal Scottish Association, among which were 'The Widow' and 'Roger and Jenny,' after Sir William Allan; 'The Expected Penny,' after A. Fraser; 'The Quarrel Scene in The Dowie Dens o' Yarrow,' after Sir J. Noel Paton; and 'Baillie McWhirter at Breakfast,' after J. Eckford Lauder. The largest and most important plate he ever undertook was 'The Battle of Preston Pans,' after Sir William Allan, upon which he was engaged at intervals for some years, and which he had only just completed at the time of his decease. Several of his best plates appeared in the 'Art Journal' between the years 1850 and 1872. They included 'The Duet,' after Etty; 'The Philosopher,' after H. Wyatt; 'The Bagpiper,' after Sir David Wilkie; and 'The Young Brother,' after Mulready, from the pictures in the Vernon Gallery; 'Teasing the Pet,' after that by Mieris in the Royal Collection; 'Sancho Panza,' after that by C. R. Leslie in the Sheepshanks Collection; 'Words of Comfort,' after Thomas Faed; 'Renewal of the Lease refused,' after Erskine Nicol; and 'Within a Mile of Edinbro' Town,' after John Faed. He died in Edinburgh on 5 Sept. 1872. His son, Mr. Robert P. Bell, A.R.S.A., is a well-known Scottish painter of figure subjects.

[Art Journal. 1872, p. 284.]

R. E. G.