(E. E. Friedrich T. Schenck 1811-1885) Lithographer
the early 1840s the outstanding Edinburgh-based lithographer Frederick Schenck set up an atelier to instruct artists in the skill
of drawing on stone. He also gave lectures and practical demonstrations to the
Royal Society of Arts and contributed a Treatise
on Lithographic Printing for Encyclopaedia
Britannica. He allowed artists to attend the
atelier and produce their own lithographs. Among those to benefit were Jemima Wedderburn, the talented cousin of James Clerk Maxwell,
John Ruskin later described her as “the best artist I know”. Schenck’s open
approach contrasted with the secretiveness of other lithographers at the time,
and was an important contribution to the development of the arts generally in Scotland and artistic lithographic printing in particular.
Frederick Schenck was one of many key people encouraged in business
by the philanthropic papermaker Alexander
photograph and note
of Alexander Cowan from his son Charles’s Reminiscences
Schenck’s magnificent 1848 “Pictorial Giftbook or Lays
and Lithographs” was inscribed to Cowan. In the Giftbook
Schenck’s lithographs were accompanied with verses by
his wife’s father David Vedder; the book was sold by
John Menzies in Edinburgh and the letterpress printed
by Alexander Cowan’s son-in-law Tom Constable, the Queen’s printer. Cowan’s encouragement and Schenck’s
practical example helped lay the foundation for over a century of high quality
printing and mapmaking in Edinburgh.
of Schenck’s Giftbook
lithographs are used to illustrate David Vedder’s
translations from the German. The Aurora Borealis “As seen from the Orkney Islands” no doubt reflects Vedder’s Orcadian background; it is “drawn on stone by W. H.
Townsend”. The Shakespeare portrait
is Drawn upon stone by Wilhelm Trautschold after the bust in the possession of R. Muspratt. Esq., Liverpool. It is accompanied by Vedder’s
“Stanzas to Shakespeare”. The book gives
the impression that Vedder’s words have been brought
in to give a setting for the lithographs, rather than the other way round.
full biography by David H J Schenck (Great-grandson of E. E. Friedrich T. Schenck)
Friedrich T. Schenck
Inst Educ S.
Ernst Friedrich Schenck was born in Offenbach on 19th
June 1811, the son of Hauptmann Wilhelm Friedrich Georg Schenck, a captain in the
Army of Hesse, and his wife Johanna (née Siebenlist). The family
had an interesting background, and Wilhelm’s godfathers were Willem Frederich, Erbprinz of Orange and Nassau, and Willem Georg Frederich, Prinz of Orange and Nassau. Hauptman Schenck,
who had been born in The Hague in 1785, died prematurely in Marburg on 29th
October 1822, at which time Friedrich Schenck was
only 11 years old. Following completion
of his University education, Friedrich studied and worked as an artist and
lithographer in Munich. By 1838, he was similarly engaged in Paris, and possibly Stuttgart, all cities noted for
1840, Friedrich Schenck was brought to Edinburgh, Scotland by the lithographer, Samuel Leith, with the
objective of raising the standard of artistic lithography in his business. On 11th August 1842, Schenck married
Jane Vedder, daughter of the Orcadian
born, David Vedder, a Tide-Surveyor from Leith, a remarkable man, who had already achieved
considerable distinction in Scotland as a poet and writer. (See Directory of National Biographies). Within three years, Schenck
left Samuel Leith and established his own lithographic business, first
appearing in the Edinburgh Post Office Directory of 1843, having both his
business and residence located at 9, Greenside Place, Edinburgh. In
the ensuing years Friedrich encouraged a number of distinguished artists to
draw on stone in his atelier. In
addition to topographical views, military prints and maps, he produced many
lithographed portraits, his chalk portraiture being described by the well-known
lithographic works, C. W. H. Wyman and E. C. Bigmore
as ‘second to none’. Of more than 150
known portraits, eighty are held in the collection of the Scottish National
Portrait Gallery. Variously inscribed
Fr. Schenck, Schenck & Ghémar, Schenck and Macfarlane,
and Schenck & Son, they include internationally
and nationally known figures, such as Goethe, Niebuhe,
Shakespeare, Martin Luther, Robert Burns, James Watt, and embrace a number of
'series' including successive Lords Advocate, Professors of Medicine, Members
of Parliament, and distinguished Scottish artists.
a series of lectures on lithographic topics, Schenck
was highly commended by the Royal Scottish Society of Arts, who stated that he
had prosecuted lithography in Scotland with such energy, ‘taste and skill as to
have advanced it from a mere branch of trade to take its place among the fine
arts of the country’. His efforts now
recognized, he was elected a Fellow of the Society, and following his invention
and demonstration of the now universally used cross-line system of
registration, was awarded a medal, and twenty gold sovereigns. In 1848, Schenck
collaborated with his father-in-law, David Vedder, to
produce his first known lithographic bookwork of importance, ‘The Pictorial Gift Book of Lays and
Lithography’. This contained a
portrait, Shakespeare, by Wilhelm Trautschold, described by the Tait Magazine as ‘perfect a specimen of lithography as we have yet seen
issued in this country’.
1850, Friedrich Schenck appears to have been
recognized as the foremost lithographer of artistic works in Scotland, and with the artist Louis Ghémar, produced a number of beautifully chromolithographed
illustrations in The Chapel of St Anthony
Born in Lannoy in 1820, Louis Ghémar was a gifted artist whose works include a very fine
print of the House of John Knox, and
excellent lithographed portraits of the distinguished artists John Faed and Thomas Faed in
an unusually dashing style, and which were more recently reproduced in Mary McKerrow’s book The Faeds (Cannongate 1982). Ghémar also worked
in oils. Around 1855, he lived at 14, Princes Street, being listed in the Post Office Directory
as ‘Ghimer, Lewis’.
In the following year he returned to Belgium, where he and his brother established a
photographic business. The combined inscription ‘Schenck
and Ghémar’ appears on a number of portraits and
topographical views produced within the period 1847 and 1850, but this apparent
change in title was not reflected in Post Office Directories, suggesting that
the partnership was an informal arrangement.
in 1850, Friedrich Schenck moved to 19 St James Square, entering the formal partnership ‘Schenck & Macfarlane’ with
William Husband Macfarlane (b. Dunfermline in 1805.
d. Italy in 1875), formerly a Tea,
Wine, and Spirit Merchant in Howe Street. Even
so, the inscription of Louis Ghémar continued to
appear as the artist of a number of works produced by the new partnership. In 1852, ‘Schenck
and Macfarlane’ lithographed the tinted illustrations
in David Vedder's brilliant version of the Story of Reynard the Fox. Drawn on stone by Gustav Canton of Munich, the work was an immediate success, and a
second edition was published in 1854. In
addition to specializing in illustrations for books, the firm produced a series
of delicately coloured lithographs of landscapes and panoramic views of Edinburgh; and a variety of maps for the
distinguished publishers and map makers, John Bartholomew, A. & C. Black,
and Chambers. Schenck
also wrote a Short Treatise on
Lithography which formed the entry for ‘Lithography’ in the 8th Edition of Encylopaedia Britannica published in 1857. This concise, but comprehensive, treatise was
subsequently re-published in both booklet and article form.
1859, the partnership of Schenck and Macfarlane was dissolved, William H. Macfarlane purchasing
the goodwill of the business, with agreement for the continued use of the ‘Schenck and Macfarlane’ name; and
Friedrich Schenck starting a new business under his
own name. The reason for the split is
not known. Macfarlane joined in a new
partnership with William Erskine in 1871, and the
company, which was renamed Macfarlane & Erskine,
continued in business until 1980.
artistic commercial work and book illustrations, Friedrich Schenck
continued to produce a large range of lithographed portraits. From 1866–68, he was in partnership with his
son Frederick E. E. Schenck, who later achieved
distinction as an architectural sculptor in London. In 1868, Friedrich lost both his wife and his
youngest son. Thereafter, his
involvement in lithography appears to have steadily diminished until around
1875, when he retired and took to travelling, writing
and teaching the German language with his second wife (née Adele Henriette Momme born in Gottingen on 13 December 1837). This he continued until his death, in Edinburgh, on 9th June 1885. He was buried in the Grange Cemetery.
H. J. Schenck.
Directory of the Lithographic
Printers of Scotland
1820–1870. Published in 1999 by The
Edinburgh Bibliographic Society in association with The National Library of
Scotland. ISBN 1 872116 29 9 (UK) and by Oak Knoll Press 1 884718 85 X (USA).
Wakeman & Gavin D. Bridson.
A Guide to Nineteenth
Century Colour Printers. Plough Press, Loughborough. 1975. ISBN 0
902813 04 8.
David H J Schenck (Great-grandson of E. E.
Friedrich T. Schenck)
Ref: Friedrich Schenck
Biography Revised 7th August 2002
Information on his son the
sculptor Frederick E. E. Schenck (1849-1908)
contributed by David
H. J. Schenck to Bob Speel’s
Victorian art website at myweb.tiscali.co.uk/speel.
Born in Edinburgh, Scotland, on 31st
Frederick Emil Eberhard Schenck
was the second son of E E Friedrich T Schenck, FRSSA, who had
emigrated from Offenbach, Germany, to settle in Edinburgh in 1840. By 1850, Friedrich Schenck appears to have been established as one of Scotland's foremost artistic lithographers,
having achieved considerable distinction for his work in chalk portraiture and colour lithography.
After a formal education, Frederick Schenck spent two years working in his father's
lithographic business in the partnership Schenck
& Son. However, with the encouragement of his father, and Clark Stanton
RSA, he adopted art as his profession and entered the Edinburgh School of Art,
which became the only School outside London to be included in the 1872 prize
list of the National Art Competition when Schenck won
the Bronze Medal. Resulting from this, he became a National Scholar, and after
three months gaining working experience with Wedgwood, spent two years at the National Art Training School, South Kensington (now the Royal College of Art). He then returned to Edinburgh in 1875, where he trained for three
years in the Life Class of the Royal Scottish Academy. During this time he exhibited a number
of busts at the Academy, and also commenced freelance designing and modelling for the George Jones (Crescent) Pottery, Stoke-on-Trent, mainly specialising
in low-relief and highly exacting pate-sur-pate work.
His first known work for George Jones is a jardiniere, inscribed 'F Schenck',
the design of which was registered on 31st October 1877.
Following the completion of his course at the Royal Scottish Academy, Schenck took
up an appointment as Modelling Master at Hanley School of Art, Stoke-on-Trent. On 7th
August 1879, at Birmingham he married Mary Ann Goodall,
whose profile is featured on some of his low relief work for George Jones. Over
the next few years, he extended his freelance modelling
activities, and in addition to George Jones, undertook work for Wedgwood, and
also for Brown, Westhead, Moore for whom he modelled a vase, four feet in height. This was awarded the
Grand Prix at the Universal Exhibition held in Paris in 1889.
Towards the latter part of the 1880s, the high costs
involved in producing intricate pate-sur-pate work
led to a decline in manufacture, and, greatly encouraged by the response to his
having exhibited a low-relief architectural panel in the Royal Academy, Schenck changed both his residence and the direction of his
career. He resigned from Hanley School of Art towards the end of 1886, and in
1888 moved to London and was afterwards engaged, almost
exclusively, in architectural sculpture, working in stone, plaster and
terracotta. He exhibited numerous architectural panels and played an important
part in the movement to encourage closer co-operation between architect and
Schenck's first work of major importance was the
Council Chamber for the Municipal Buildings in Bath, (Architect: J. M. Brydon), completed in 1895, and described by Alastair Service, in his book Edwardian Architecture, as
having 'a marvel of a ceiling'.
He formed a particularly close working relationship
with the architect Henry Hare, and their first project together was the County
Buildings at Stafford. Here, Schenck
produced relief panels of classical figures for the walls and ceilings of
several rooms including the Council Chamber and the Members' Room.
Subsequently, in 1896, replicas of four of the panels, Agriculture, Pottery,
Ironwork and Mining, were exhibited in the Royal Academy. Schenck's
other works with Henry Hare included sculptured panels for the interior of the
Oxford Town Hall (1897); exterior sculptures on the Municipal Buildings and
Public Baths in Shoreditch (1899); and Crewe (1903);
and the Central Libraries at Hammersmith (1904/5); and Islington (1905).
Working with the architect A. Beresford Pite, he also carved the sculptures on the beautifully
proportioned corner site building at 37 Harley Street (1898), and on
J. B. Dunn's building for The Scotsman, in Schenck's
birthplace, Edinburgh (1904).
Schenck's last major work, again with
Henry Hare, was Ingram House - the famous building of the United Provident
Institution at 196, Strand (1906). This building, which was generally
regarded as their masterpiece, was demolished in 1961.
Schenck died, from influenza, in London on 21st
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