John Cousen

Born 1804
Died 1880
Place of Birth Miry Shay, near Bradford
Place of Death Holmesdale Road, South Norwood, London
Gender Male
Biographical Notes John Cousen (1804-1880), engraver and painter, specialised in seascapes and landscapes. He was the son of James Cousen, woollen draper, coal and stone merchant, quarry owner and Commissioner in Bradford; his mother’s maiden name was Mann. Branwell Brontë was among his acquaintances in his home town. Cousen was a pupil of John Scott (1774-1827), well known for his animal engravings and racing and hunting scenes: an advertisement in La Belle Assemblée in 1827 drew attention to this connection when describing the forthcoming publication of A Historical, Antiquarian and Picturesque Account of Kirkstall Abbey, with ‘highly-finished line engravings by J. Cousen’. Like several other northern engravers in London, including his younger brother Charles Cousen (1813?-89), Edward Paxman Brandard (q.v.), James Bayliss Allen (q.v.), he was engaged to engrave works by Turner. Other early output included engravings of Cologne and Coblenz in Heath’s Picturesque Annual for 1833 by Leitch Richie, and contributions to similar volumes. Notable among volumes to which he contributed are several published by Virtue, including Switzerland (1836-1840), The Scenery and antiquities of Ireland (1841),Scotland (1838), American scenery (1840), The Waldenses (1838), Canadian scenery (1842), The ports, harbours, watering-places, and coast scenery of Great Britain (1842), and The Danube (1844). Between 1849 and 1866 he supplied thirty-two plates to George Virtue’s Art Journal. Ill health forced his retirement c. 1864 (ODNB), but over the course of his career he had been chosen to engrave works by many highly regarded artists, among them T. Allom, W.H. Bartlett, William Brockedon, A.W. Callcott, William Daniell, J.D. Harding, Landseer, H. M'Culloch, Clarkson Stanfield, and David Wilkie. Several of his engravings were exhibited in the Royal Academy in the 1860s. He died on 26 December 1880, at Holmesdale Road, South Norwood, London. Obituaries appeared in the Times, the Athenaeum and the Art Journal.

Art Journal, February 1881, 63
Michael Bryan, ‘Cousen, John’. In Robert Edmund Graves (ed.), Bryan's Dictionary of Painters and Engravers (A–K), I, 3rd ed. (London: George Bell & Sons, 1886)
Robert Edmund Graves, ‘Cousen, John (1804–1880)’, rev. Donato Esposito, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2008 [, accessed 5 Oct 2017], consulted 22.06.2018 Andrew Jampoler, Horrible Shipwreck! (Annapolis, MD: Naval Institute Press, 2013), pp. 5-6, 7
La Belle Assemblée, 3rd series, 5 (Jan.-June 1827)
Catherine Thackray, ‘Brunswick Place – Bradford: A study based on the Census 1841 to 1881’ (first published in the Bradford Antiquary, 3rd series, 2 (1986), 1-14. Online at, consulted 23.06.2018
The Athenaeum, 1 Jan 1881
The Times, 29 Dec. 1880
Butler Wood, ‘Some Old Bradford Artists’, Bradford Antiquary, o.s., 2 (1895), 26-32
The Yale Centre for British Art, at, consulted 21.06.2018.



Ballybunnian (Engraver)