Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900/Freebairn, Alfred Robert

FREEBAIRN, ALFRED ROBERT (1794–1846), engraver, was apparently the son of Robert Freebairn [q. v.], the landscape-painter, and is probably identical with the younger Freebairn who etched the ‘Sketch-book’ of Robert Freebairn, published in 1815. He was a student at the Royal Academy, and engraved some vignettes and illustrations after Arnold, Nixon, David Roberts, S. Prout, Pyne, and others for the ‘Book of Gems’ and other popular works. His later work seems to have been entirely confined to the production of engravings by the mechanical process, invented by Mr. John Bate, known as the ‘Anaglyptograph.’ This machine was specially adapted for reproducing in engraving objects with raised surfaces, such as coins, medals, reliefs, &c. Freebairn produced a large number of engravings by this process, some of which were published in the ‘Art Union’ (1846). His most important works in this style of engraving were ‘A salver of the 16th century,’ by Jean Goujon, and a series of engravings of Flaxman's ‘Shield of Achilles;’ the latter, a very remarkable work, was executed and published at Freebairn's own risk and expense. He only completed it shortly before his death, which occurred somewhat suddenly on 21 Aug. 1846, at the age of fifty-two, a few days after the decease of his mother. He was buried in Highgate cemetery.

[Redgrave's Dict. of Artists; Art Union, 1846, pp. 14, 161, 264.]

L. C.