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Plate XXIII. from Horsfield's History and antiquities of Lewes and its vicinities. 


The Monument of Magnus depicted here was in the churchyard of the church of St John sub Castro in Lewes, Sussex. According to William Camden writing in the sixteenth century Magnus was a Danish prince who became an anchorite and  lived in a cell on the site in early days of the church (most likely in the 12th or 13th century). The Latin words on the inscription roughly translate:

“There enters this cell a warrior of Denmark’s Royal race: Magnus his name, mark of mighty lineage. Casting off his mightiness, he takes the lamb’s mildness, and to gain everlasting life becomes a lowly anchorite.”


Further information on the church and on Magnus can be found here: A Short Guide to the History of St John sub Castro


The Publisher.

Rev Thomas Walker Horsfield (1792-1837)  came to Lewes as a young non-conformist  in 1818, to take up the ministry at  Westgate Chapel. He also ran one of the many private schools in the town. During his ten years in Lewes he published the two volume  ‘History & Antiquities of Lewes’, the first volume in 1824, and the second volume in 1827 when he also became a felllow of the Society of Antiquairies. There is a tablet to his memory in Westgate Chapel, Lewes. The print here comes from the first volume in which there is a detailed history of the church and of its monuments. 


The Artist and Engraver: George Baxter. 

George Baxter was born in 1804 in Lewes, Sussex, and was the second son of John Baxter, the printer of the book from which this print originally came (see below). He was 20 years old when this work was published and at this time he was illustrating other books printed by his father. At  at 23, Baxter moved to London to be apprenticed to Samuel Williams, a wood engraver. In 1827 he set up his own business and subsequently invented a process of colour printing that made reproductions of paintings widely available. Baxter's process used the aquatint method but superimposed the colours on one another using wooden blocks. He used the finest colours, oils and paper.  


Baxter prints bear an imprint such as "Printed in Oil Colours and Published by G. Baxter, Patentee, 11, Northampton Square" (see the Robert Peel portrait) or "Baxter Patent Oil Printing 11 Northampton Square". The house at 11 Northampton Square in Clerkenwell, London, was Baxter's home and workshop from 1844–1860.


The Printer. 

BAXTER, JOHN (1781–1858), was a printer, publisher and bookseller who lived and worked in Lewes.  He was the first printer to use a composition roller, which was made for him by a saddler at Lewes named Robert Harrild. Baxter patented it and it made him a large fortune. A composition roller is a tool used in letterpress printing to apply ink to a bed of type in a printing press. Until that point, most inking of printing presses was done by manually pounding the type with ink balls, specially treated leather balls stuffed with wool. As well as volumes on the history of Lewes and another on the County of Sussex, his other works include a large quarto Bible, annotated by the Rev. John Styles, D.D., and illustrated with wood engravings (hugely successful in America), The Library of Agricultural  Knowledge, and with his youngest son, W. E. Baxter, he started the Sussex Agricultural Express. He was an enthusiastic cricketer, and  author of the first published book of rules  named Lambert's Cricketer's Guide, after the celebrated professional of that name. 

Monument of Magnus etc. in St John's Church Yard, George Baxter - Antique Print

SKU: 1127
  • Image Numbers: 1127
    Title: Monument of Magnus etc in the churchyard of St John sub Castro, Lewes

    Artist: George Baxter

    Printer: Lewes: J. Baxter

    Date: 1824-27 

    Publisher: Published in Thomas Walker Horsfield, History and antiquities of Lewes and its vicinity

    Medium: Lithograph
    Framed size (h x w): 342 x 293mm

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