Charles Heath

HEATH, Charles (1785-1848) — London

Engraver and etcher. Engraved, with Jacob Perkins, maps for William Channing Woodbridge, “Modern atlas on a new plan; to accompany the system of universal geography” 1828. Chiefly known for figure and especially landscape engraving, e.g. for “Views in London” 1825, portraits, etc. He also engraved banknotes as a member of the firm of “Perkins, Fairman, and Heath”, with Jacob Perkins, and in 1840, with his son, Frederick, engraved the master die for the world’s first postage stamps, from a medal of Queen Victoria by William Wyon.

Charles Theodosius Heath was born at 13 Lisle Street, Leicester Square, London, 19 Jan 1785 and baptised on 1 Mar 1785 at St. Martin in the Fields, the son of the engraver James Heath and Mary Phillipson. An etched head of a housemaid, engraved when he was just six years of age, survives in the British Museum. Apprenticed (Stationers) to his father 5 Feb 1799. Free (Stationers) 1824. He married Elizabeth Petch (1787-1861) 16 Jan 1808 at St. Pancras, with whom he had eight children, two of whom died in childhood. Exhibited engravings both at the Royal Academy and the Royal Society of British Artists (of which he was a member). In 1823 he was working in Fleet Street with Jacob Perkins and George Thomas Heath — an American employee called Joel Dutcher attempted to embezzle over £200 but was apprehended in Liverpool attempting to return to the United States. Heath had financial difficulties in the 1820s, being declared bankrupt in February 1826, but recovered by engaging in the contemporary fashion for illustrated annuals and gift-books. He died at Seymour Place 18 Nov 1848 and was buried at All Souls, Kensal Green, 24 Nov 1848. “He was the inventor of the ‘Annual’, a class of work which has occasioned a larger expenditure in favour of literature, painting, and engraving during the last sixteen years, than any other enterprise … the idea of the ‘Annual’ was entirely Mr. Heath’s, and he … had also been engaged for nearly forty years in introducing to the public the very best engravings which have appeared during that time. Talent is seldom hereditary, but in this instance the rule is departed from, Mr. Heath having not only equalled, but exceeded, the merit of his father, who was esteemed the best engraver of his day. There are few departments of art in which the loss of Mr. Heath will not be felt … a shrewd originator, an active and enterprising man of business, and a liberal paymaster, while the effect of his efforts for the general prosperity of the artistic republic will always be recognised and appreciated” (London Evening Standard, 22 Nov 1848). 1837 insurance policy in LMA.

15 Russell Place, Fitzroy Square — 1801-1807
6 Seymour Place, Euston Square — 1823-1848

Pupils and assistants: Thomas Wallis; Richard Rhodes; Edward John Roberts; R. J. Lane; George Doo; James Henry Watt; Joseph Goodyear; James Tibbetts Willmore; James Baylis Allen.

Adams. BBTI. BM. BNA. Bryan. Engen (1979). Grant. Graves (1901) (1905). Hake. John Heath, “The Heath Family Engravers” 1993. Holloway. Houfe. Hunnisett. Johnson (1975). LG. Mackenzie. NA. OB. ODNB.

Leave a Reply