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Thomas Rothwell (Engraver)

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1Thomas Rothwell (1740-1807) was born and bred in Liverpool and described himself as ‘enamel painter’ when he married in 1760. It is clear from his history that he must have learned engraving and overglaze printing in Liverpool before going freelance, and then exporting his skills to Wedgwood’s competitor Humphrey Palmer in Staffordshire.  Simeon Shaw’s account published in 1829 says of the year 1767: ‘About this time Thomas Rothwell possessed of great skill as an enameller, engraver and printer, was employed by Mr Palmer at Hanley…’  The signature on printed creamware ‘T Rothwell delin[eavit] et sculp[sit]’ means that he drew and engraved the design.

By 1773 Rothwell had moved to Birmingham, and in the following year the firm of Rothwell & Hicks was listed as engravers in Church Street. He does not re-surface until 1785-1788 when he is listed as engraver in Loveday Street.

In 1790 Rothwell was living in Swansea. Charles Stevens one of the throwers at the Cambrian Pottery, gave his address as ‘at Mr Rothwell’s, engraver, in the Strand, Swansea.’ There are views of local places inscribed ‘Drawn and engraved by T. Rothwell Swansea’ dated 1792 and 1793.

From 1794 Rothwell engraved plates to illustrate books published in London, and he may have moved there, but by 1803 he was back in Birmingham. In 1805 he is described as ‘engraver and copper plate printer’ of Coleshill Street, and he remained in Birmingham until he died.   

For examples of Rothwell's work click here