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William Bell

(1740-1804)

Artist of 1 portrait

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Colin Patterson

09 July 2018, 16:08

There is a good case for setting Bell's dates as 1733 - 1794, as follows:

1) The report quoted below by Laura Wiles was published by the Newcastle Courant on Saturday 14 June 1794. It is consistent with the following entry in the register of St. Andrew's Church, Newcastle upon Tyne: "10 June 1794 Buried Wm. Bell, yeoman."

2) Bell was the son of William Bell, a bookbinder, according to Eneas McKenzie, "Descriptive and Historical Account of the Town and County of Newcastle upon Tyne" (1825), p 125. This is consistent with the following entry in the register of All Saints' Church, Newcastle upon Tyne: "Baptised 17 December 1733 William, son of William Bell, yeoman."

3) The assumption that Bell was born in 1740 probably derives from the Memoir of the engraver Thomas Bewick, who says that Bell died in 1800, aged 60. Admittedly, Bewick is not always accurate with dates, and both 1800 and 60 look like round figures. However, coupling the age 60 with year of death 1794 points to 1733 or 1734 as the birth year.

Laura Wiles

28 March 2017, 07:42

Death of artist William Bell (probably 8 June 1794) reported in newspaper: "DIED, Sunday morning, Mr William Bell, an eminent Portrait Painter, whose memory will be esteemed at long as his animated productions remain, many of which bear testimony to his abilities in this part of the kingdom."

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