Walter Scott


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Samuel Freeman (1773 or 4-1857)

Samuel Freeman, a prolific and versatile engraver, is thought to have been a pupil of Francesco Bartolozzi. He showed early promise with a portrait of the actor David Garrick after Sir Joshua Reynolds, in the Monthly Mirror (1807). He went on to engrave portraits and historical scenes, mainly after old masters, for such prestigious publications as Henry Tresham's British Gallery of Pictures (1815-18), Edmund Lodge's Portraits of Illustrious Personages of Great Britain (4 vols., 1821–34), James Dallaway's edition of Horace Walpole's Anecdotes of Painting in England (1826–8), Otto von Kotzebue's New Voyage round the World (1830), Fisher's National Portrait Gallery (1830-34), Robert Chamber's Biographical Dictionary of Eminent Scotsmen (1834), James Browne's A History of the Highlands and of the Highland Clans 1835-38), and Richard Jones's National Gallery of Pictures by the Great Masters (1836). In the latter part of his career, he turned to scriptural engraving, providing plates for Fisher's Historic Illustrations of the Bible (1840-43), The Imperial Family Bible (1844), G. N. Wright's Gallery of Engravings (1844-46), and John Kitto's Gallery of Scripture Engravings (1846-49).

Freeman was also known for his engraved portraits of contemporary literary figures. Besides engraving an unfinished portrait of Sir Walter Scott by Sir John Watson Gordon, he produced images of a number of Scott's peers and associates, including Jane Porter after George Henry Harlow (1811), Francis Jeffrey after Sir Henry Raeburn, Lord Byron after Mrs Leigh Hunt (1828), Henry Mackenzie after Sir John Watson Gordon (1835), the Rev. James Graham after an unknown artist (1835?), and the Rev. Sydney Smith after John Wright (1837). In addition he engraved one imaginary portrait of a Scott heroine, Rowena (Ivanhoe) after Frank Stone, for Portraits of the Principal Female Characters in the Waverley Novels (1834).

Corson P.2989
Click on the thumbnails to see Samuel Freeman's engravings of Rowena (left) and the Rev. James Grahame (right).
Corson P.2024

Freeman was a founding member of the Artists' Benevolent Fund, a mutual assurance society for artists who were not members of the Royal Academy. He died in Kentish Town on 27 February 1857.


  • DeGategno, Paul J. ‘Freeman, Samuel (1773/4–1857)’, in Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2004) [, accessed 16 March 2009]

  • Hunnisett, Basil. A Dictionary of British Steel Engravers (Leigh-on-Sea: F. Lewis, 1980), pp. 73-74.

  • Thieme, Ulrich, and Felix Becker (eds). Allgemeines Lexikon der Bildenden Künstler: von der Antike bis zur Gegenwart (Leipzig: Seemann, 1907-50)

In addition to the sources above, details of engraved portraits of contemporary literary figures were taken from the online catalogue of the National Portrait Gallery.

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Last updated: 24-Mar-2009
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