Wilson Lowry


Wilson Lowry

Wilson Lowry (January 24, 1762 - June 23, 1824) was an English engraver. He was born at Whitehaven, Cumberland, the son of Strickland Lowry, a portrait painter. The family settled in Worcester, and Wilson Lowry, as a boy, left home to work as a house painter in London and Arundel, Sussex. On returning home is received some instruction in engraving from a local craftsman.

He went to London at the age of 18 with an introduction to the print seller John Boydell, who gave him work and introduced him to William Blizard, the surgeon. Blizzard encouraged Lowry to become a surgeon and for four years he undertook training, but abandoned it.

Lowry received training at the Royal Academy and worked for a number of engravers, as well as Boydell. Lowry developed a number of special instruments to assist his work: about 1790 he devised a ruling machine; in 1801 a device for generating elliptical curves; in 1806 another for making perspective drawings. Lowry was the first engraver to use diamond points and to discover the composition of a corrosive fluid for biting the lines into steel plates.

Lowry specialised in making engraving of architectural and mechanical topics, and excelled in perspective views of machinery. His work appears in Tilloch's "Philosophical Magazine", and the "Journal of the Society of Arts", Wilkins's "Magna Graecia", 1807 and "Vitruvius", 1812, Peter Nicholson's "Principles of architecture"1795-98, and "Architectural Dictionary"1819, Crabbe's "Technological Dictionary" 1823, and the "Encyclopaedia Metropolitana". Lowry's most famous work in this field was undoubtedly the work he did for Rees's Cyclopaedia between 1802 and 1809, including contributing articles, but did work for other encyclopaedias including Pantologia and the British Encyclopaedia.

Lowry was of a scientific bent, and was a founder member of the Geological Society and was elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1812.

He married firstly a Miss Porter: they had two daughters, one of whom, Matilda, (who became Mrs Hemming) was a portrait painter. He married secondly Rebecca Delvalle (1761-1848) a mineralogist: they had a son Joseph Wilson Lowry and a daughter Delvalle, who married John Varley the landscape painter.

Wilson Lowry died at his residence, Great Titchfield Street, London.

References

DNB article Lowry, Wilson


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