John Orrin Smith

From Infogalactic: the planetary knowledge core
Jump to: navigation, search

John Orrin Smith (1799–1843) was an English wood engraver.[1]


Born in Colchester, Smith went to London about 1818, and spent a short time training as an architect. Coming of age in 1821, he inherited some money, and bought a part-proprietorship in a newspaper, The Sunday Monitor, on which Douglas Jerrold worked as a compositor. By the time he was 24 he found himself penniless. William Harvey then instructed him in wood-engraving.[2] He[who?] had previously been a pupil of Samuel Williams.[3]

In 1842 Smith took into partnership William James Linton. Smith & Linton did much work for the Illustrated London News, and illustrated books, including Whist, its History and Practice, from designs by Kenny Meadows (1843).[2]

Smith died of apoplexy on 15 October 1843, at 11 Mabledon Place, Burton Crescent, London.[2]


File:Ponte Maddalena Orrin Smith.jpg
The Ponte della Maddalena, illustration from The Solace of Song by John Orrin Smith

After much hack-work, Smith was employed by Léon Curmer of Paris to engrave a number of the blocks for his edition of Paul et Virginie (1835). In 1837 he prepared engravings for John Antes Latrobe's The Solace of Song (Seeley & Burnside), a new departure in wood-engraving with a finish contrasting with the crisp work of Luke Clennell, Charlton Nesbit, and John Thompson.[2]

There followed, with other work:[2]

  • Johann Gottfried Herder's : Der Cid nach spanischen Romanzen, published at Stuttgart, 1839;
  • an English edition of Paul et Virginie, 1840;
  • Christopher Wordsworth's Greece, 1840–1;
  • Heads of the People, by Kenny Meadows;
  • Shakespeare's Works, in 1839–43, with nearly 1,000 designs by Kenny Meadows.

The last two works were part-owned by Smith, with Meadows and Henry Vizetelly.[2]

File:Sclavack Peasants from John Paget Hungary and Transylvania 1839.jpg
Slavic peasants in Hungary, from John Paget, Hungary and Transylvania (1839), engraving by John Orrin Smith


In 1821 Smith married Jane Elizabeth, daughter of Joseph Barney. His widow survived him with four children. Harvey Edward Orrinsmith, the son practised wood-engraving, but then became a director of the firm of James Burn & Co., bookbinders.[2]


  1. "Obit. Mr. Orrin Smith". The Art-Union: 296. November 1843.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6  Lee, Sidney, ed. (1898). [ "Smith, John Orrin" ] Check |ws link in chapter= value (help). Dictionary of National Biography. 53. London: Smith, Elder & Co.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Marsden, Christoper. "Smith, John Orrin". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (online ed.). Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/25859.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles> (Subscription or UK public library membership required.)


 This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainLee, Sidney, ed. (1898). [ "Smith, John Orrin" ] Check |ws link in chapter= value (help). Dictionary of National Biography. 53. London: Smith, Elder & Co.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>