Thomas Onwhyn

Thomas Onwhyn, Comic map of the seat of war with entirely new features. 1854.
Thomas Onwhyn, Comic map of the seat of war with entirely new features. 1854. Courtesy of Bryars & Bryars.

ONWHYN, Thomas (1813-1886) — London

Artist, illustrator, engraver and etcher. Produced Comic map of the seat of war with entirely new features for Rock Brothers & Payne (see BME 2011) 1854 — probably the earliest caricature map of this type. Known principally for his series of additional illustrations to Charles Dickens, “The Posthumous Papers of the Pickwick Club” and “Nicholas Nickleby”, illustrations to novels by Henry Cockton and Frances Trollope, the translations of Eugène Sue, satires and humorous pieces, his own “Peter Palette’s tales and pictures, in short words, for young folk” 1856 and “Mr. Perry Winks submarine adventures. Dream at sea. A yarn spun by T. Onwhyn” ca.1860, etc.

Born 25 Jan 1813 and baptised 28 Mar 1813 at St. James Clerkenwell, London — the son of the stationer, Joseph Onwhyn (see BME 2011), then of Northampton Row, and his wife Frances. Recorded as an engraver on the 1851 census return, resident at Catherine Street with his parents and siblings. A son Herbert Thomas Onwhyn was born 1856. Although the child was baptised in his name in 1857 — Onwhyn described as an artist — he did not marry the child’s mother, Maria Ravenhill, a dressmaker from Stonehouse in Gloucestershire until 1866. He was still living with his family in Catherine Street in 1861, again recorded as an artist. Resident at 5 Bedford Street in 1871, described as a landscape engraver, with his wife and son Herbert. By 1881 and probably rather earlier he had become and newspaper agent, while his son was described as lunatic and unemployed. He died at Great Mays Buildings on 21 Jan 1886. Administration of the artist’s estate, valued at £235, was granted to his widow 9 Mar 1886 — she died the following day.

1 Catherine Street — 1851-1861
32 Shouldham Street — 1857
5 Bedford Street — 1871
18 Great Mays Buildings — 1881
9 Great Mays Buildings — 1886

BM. BNA. Census 1851-1881. COPAC. Holloway. Houfe. Hunnisett. ODNB.

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