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 Abraham John Mason  (1794 - 1884)

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Lived/Active: New York / England      Known for: wood engraver, book illustrator

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This biography from the Archives of AskART:
A wood engraver, teacher and writer, Abraham Mason was born in London, England where he served as an apprentice to Robert Branston from 1808 to 1821. Then he established himself as a wood engraver in London and is described as having "achieved great respect in the profession" (Falk 2206). He lectured widely on the subject and then in November, 1829, sailed with his family to America. His wife, whom he married in 1815, was Robinianna Bonner, a niece of Robert Branston.

He was in New York City by 1830, and that year became an Associate Member of the National Academy of Design where he exhibited his work from 1830 to 1837 and lectured in 1831 and 1832. In 1833, he was appointed the Academy's Professor of Wood Engraving and lectured widely on wood engraving. He also opened a large bookseller's shop in Canal Street and illustrated many books. His son, Walter Mason, born 1820, studied with his father, and became a wood engraver for the "Illustrated London News" and "Punch" in England and later settled in Australia.

Abraham Mason returned to England where he remained until his death. The date of his death is reported as 1839 in Peter Falk's "Who's Who in American Art", as 1838 by art historian Dr. Clarke Marlor, and "about 1860" by the "Sydney Morning Herald" in a January 30, 1937 article on the son.

Peter Falk, "Who Was Who in American Art"

The following, courtesy of Robyn Ward, descendant of the artist:
Copies of "Sydney Morning Herald", 30 Jan 1937, 'Wood-Engraver Artist of Old Sydney
"Australian Biographical & Genealogical Records, Series 2 1842-1899 Vol. 3 p. 177-178
Kevin Quinlan, 'The Masons---A Family of Wood Engravers; "Descent", the Journal of the Society of Australian Genealogists, December 1997, pp. 188-192

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