Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Jenner, Thomas (fl.1631-1656)

JENNER, THOMAS (fl. 1631–1656), author, engraver, and publisher, kept in the reigns of Charles I and Charles II a print-shop by the south entrance of the Royal Exchange, which was recommended to Pepys by Evelyn as one of the best shops for engravings in London (Pepys, Diary and Corresp. v. 332). There seems little ground for the conjecture that he was a member of the corporation of the city, or was related to Sir Thomas Jenner [q. v.], baron of the exchequer.

The first work attributed to Jenner is the ‘Soules Solace; or Thirty and one Spirituall Emblems,’ 1631, 8vo; 2nd edit. 1639. This book contains thirty copper-plate engravings (one repeated), each with descriptive letterpress. The last engraving, which represents a person in gay attire, with hat and plume, sitting and smoking at a table, is accompanied by a poem which has been wrongly attributed to George Wither (Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. i. 378). The burden of Jenner's poem was ‘Thus thinke, then drinke Tobacco.’ Wither, who was in reality a strong opponent of smoking, and censures the practice as ‘a thing full of barbarism and shame’ (Abuses Stript and Whip't, 1613), wrote a reply with the counter-refrain, ‘Thus thinke, drinke no Tobacco.’ The next work attributed to Jenner was the ‘Direction for the English Traveller,’ with maps executed by Jacob von Langeren, 1643, 4to; and this was followed in 1648 by a series of tracts entitled ‘A further Narrative of the Passages of these Times,’ 4to, containing an engraving of the populace pulling down Cheapside Cross, together with portraits of Oliver Cromwell, Francis Manners, earl of Rutland, and Sir William Wadd, constable of the Tower, signed ‘Thomas Jenner fecit.’ In 1650 Jenner issued ‘A Work for none but Angels and Men, that is to be able to look into and know ourselves. Or a Booke showing what the Soule is,’ 4to, which is stated by Corser to be nothing more than a prose translation of Sir John Davies's poem on the immortality of the soul (‘Nosce Teipsum,’ 1599, 4to). Either in this same year, or in 1651, Jenner issued ‘London's Blame if not its Shame. Manifested by the great neglect of the Fishery which affordeth to our Neighbor Nations yeerly the Revenue of many Millions which they take up at our Doors. … Dedicated by Thos. Jenner to the Corporation of the Poor in the City of London, being a member thereof. Printed for T. J., 1651.’ This is the only work by Jenner which is in the British Museum Library.

Jenner's other works are: 1. ‘Wonderful and Strange Punishments inflicted on the Breakers of the Ten Commandments,’ London, 1650. 2. ‘The Ages of Sin, or Sinne's Birth and Growth. With the Stepps and Degrees of Sin from thought to finall Impenitencie.’ This work, which is fully described by Corser, consists of a series of engraved plates in which, after the manner of Quarles's ‘Emblems,’ each engraving is accompanied by six metrical lines. 3. ‘The Path of Life and the Way that leadeth down to the Chambers of Death or the Steps to Hell and the Steps to Heaven, in which all men may see their ways set forth in copper prints.’ London, 1656, 4to. There is no later trace of Jenner.

Jenner is also said to have etched a plate of a large ship, called ‘The Soverayne of the Seas,’ 1653 (Bryan, Dict. of Painters and Engravers, 1866).

He must be distinguished from Thomas Jenner (fl. 1604–1670) of Christ's College, Cambridge, and Catherlough in Ireland, author of ‘Quakerism Anatomiz'd and Confuted, wherein is discover'd their manifold Damnable Errors,’ &c., Dublin, 1670.

[Corser's Collectanea Anglo-Poetica, pt. viii. p. 298; Collier's Bibl. Account, p. 397, and Bridgewater Cat. p. 151; Hazlitt's Handbook; Lowndes's Bibl. Manual; Addit. MS. 24489, f. 177; Notes and Queries, 4th ser. iv. 452, vi. 17.]

T. S.