James Gwim, Designer and Engraver

(fl. 1720-1769)

Designer and Engraver

From A Dictionary of Irish Artists 1913

Born in the county of Kildare, he commenced his career as a coach-painter and afterwards worked as an engraver in Dublin. He was employed for many years by George Grierson, the Dublin publisher. The frontispiece to the "History of Ecclesiastical Writers," by L. E. Du Pin, folio, published by Grierson in 1723, is engraved by him; also a portrait of Milton prefixed to an edition of "Paradise Lost" in 1724, and the frontispiece to the folio edition of the "Book of Common Prayer," published by Grierson in 1750. A "Map of the World," J. Gwim, scul., forms the frontispiece to "Modern History," published by W. Williamson in Bride Street in 1755. Gwim went to London in or about 1755, and found employment as a designer for lids of snuff-boxes, etc., in the Battersea Enamel Works, which were under the management of John Brooks (q.v.). He was an eccentric man, living in seclusion and devoting his spare time to mathematical and scientific studies. He lodged at the Three Tuns, an alehouse in Westminster, and afterwards at the Buffalo in Bloomsbury, having for a time John Brooks as a fellow-lodger. He kept to his room, which nothing would induce him to leave, his food being carried up by a servant and left at his door. His fellow-countryman, Charles Spooner, the engraver (q.v.), undertook for a wager to compel him to come out; a scuffle ensued in which Spooner and Gwim rolled down the stairs. A fortnight later, on the 26th April, 1769, he was found dead in his room. Michael Jackson (q.v.), scraped a mezzotint portrait of the actor Spranger Barry, as Macbeth, from a drawing by Gwim. The print bears the inscription, Jas. Gwim Delint. M. Jackson Fecit 1753.

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