CHAT: A letter to Charles Jeens

The November 2018 issue of Stamp Magazine has a very interesting feature on the engraver Charles Jeens. It's in Norman Watson's monthly column 'Eyewitness Accounts', which is a monthly feature going beyond the front of old covers. Always interesting to read but this month it was extra special, because it featured an 1868 letter sent by the parliamentarian John Bright to the engraver Charles Jeens!

John Bright had been involved in the preparation of a book of his speeches and was asked to supply a good photograph which could then be engraved to be used as a frontispiece in the book. This cover still included the original letter from Bright to Jeens, and the photograph was included as well.

I got into touch with Master Watson to see if I could get good pics of all the items and he duly obliged.

But it got better: the magazine only illustrated the cover and part of the letter, but as I have no space restrictions here whatsoever, I am now very happy to be able to show you not just the cover and the entire letter, but the engraving executed by Jeens as well!

Isn't it a wonderful portrait?! It is to be found in his 'Speeches on Questions of Public Policy', written by John Bright and edited by James Rogers. The book is in two volumes, and was first published in 1868. There are several reprints but I'm not sure whether they will all carry this portrait or whether, if they do, it is printed in recess, so it's probably best to opt for a first edition. Or try and find the portrait being sold on its own, taken out of the book. Not that I've seen any so far....

Anyway, it looks from the scan as if Jeens applied the dot technique, but that could of course just be the scan. It seems rather modern to have done so, so  think it's really a traditional line engraving. If I ever get my hand on this actual engraving, I can offer you a super hi res pic, so: watch this space!

In the meantime, thanks again to Master Watson for the wonderful images.