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Mary Jane Hancock

(1810-1896) Sketches by Mary Jane Hancock

Seven pencil and watercolour sketches by Mary Jane Hancock, the sister of John and Albany, were discovered in London in 2005 by one of our members. They were purchased and most generously deposited with the Society, which already holds a large collection of her works.

What is so interesting about the sketches is that they appear to have been taken while she was on holiday in Cumbria in 1836 with Miss Jane Bewick, the elder daughter of Thomas Bewick. Mary would have been twenty-six and Jane Bewick forty-nine.

The sketch, illustrated here, shows an idyllic scene of a thatched cottage surrounded by flowers with two cows in the foreground. Walking towards the cottage door is Albany Hancock in a brown hat and jacket with Miss Jane Bewick, towering above him in a pink dress and poke bonnet. If you recognise the cottage we would be delighted hear from you.

This collection of sketches is a remarkable addition to our archives and illustrates the close association of the Hancock family with Bewick’s children. Until now there has never been any evidence of their taking holidays together.