Iain Bain

Iain Bain (1934-2018) was a distinguished scholar, an expert on printing techniques, and a world authority on the engravings of Thomas Bewick. He studied English at St Edmund Hall, matriculating in 1955.

After entering a career in publishing as Productions Manager at Bodley Head, Bain was appointed Head of Publications at the Tate Gallery in 1972, remaining in this post until his retirement in 1994.

As well as overseeing the Tate’s many catalogues and other publications, Bain wrote on the history of copperplate printing and, as a practical printer, involved himself in the discovery and use of original woodblocks and plates of artists such as Blake, Stubbs, Gainsborough and Bewick. While at the Tate, he was Curator of the acclaimed 1978 exhibition The Genius of Thomas Bewick, held in Newcastle and Yale.

Internationally renowned as a scholar, he wrote and edited numerous books and articles, including Thomas Bewick: An Illustrated Record of His Life and Work (The Laing Gallery, Tyne and Wear County Council Museums, 1979); The Watercolours and Drawings of Thomas Bewick and His Workshop Apprentices. (MIT Press, 1982); and Thomas Bewick’s Birds: Watercolours and Engravings (1981).

Bain was President of the Printing Historical Society and of the Bewick Society. He was also a Fellow of the Wordsworth Trust, of the Society of Antiquaries, and of the Royal Society of Authors; and a President of the Private Libraries Association. He was recognised with the award of an Honorary Doctorate of Civil Law by Northumbria University in 2003.

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