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Samuel Williams - Wood Engraver

It is said that Baxter was 'apprenticed' to Samuel Williams around 1825. It couldn't have been a normal apprenticeship as it only lasted a 'few months', most probably about 6. By 1824 Baxter had already had lithographs published in his father's History of Lewes and by 1826 had a number of wood engravings published again in his father's publications Stranger in Brighton for that year, the 2nd volume of History of Lewes and by 1827 was advertising as a wood engraver.

The 1824 edition of his father's Baxter's Stranger in Brighton contained an aquatint of Brighton Chain Pier, drawn by Baxter but also a wood engraving by Williams. Perhaps this is how they met and I feel the apprenticeship was more of mentorship possibly at the request of Baxter senior.

Baxter was already a skilled artist and within a very short time was also a skilled wood engraver. Williams was one of only a handful of wood engravers who were in great demand as it seems that most wood engravers of the day could only copy designs drawn by someone else. Anyone who could design as well engrave was sought after. Baxter soon joined this elite group and his wood engravings can be found in many books (outside of his father's publications) from 1833 onwards - Does anyone know of any earlier date?

Jackson's Treatise on Wood Engraving of 1839 listed both Williams and Baxter as amongst the best wood engravers of the day.

Does anyone have any more information about the connection between Baxter and Williams or can confirm any dates or addresses?


Courtney Lewes stated that at some time Baxter met Bewick but this has always thought of as wrong. Bewick died in 1828, and why would he have met such a young and junior wood engraver? BUT! S Williams, as stated, was one of the most respected wood engravers of the period.

It is possible that Bewick, in his later years, met Williams and if it had been during the period of Baxter's 'apprenticeship' could have been introduced as an up and coming talented engraver.

Can anyone confirm or add any information?


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