Havell, Robert (senior) 1769 - 1832


Robert Havell senior was born in Reading on 29 December 1769. By the beginning of the 19th century, he owned a printing and engraving shop in Marylebone, London. He married Lydia Miller Phillips in February 1793 and their eldest son Robert junior, who went on to become a successful engraver, was born in Reading in December the same year.

Robert junior joined his father’s engraving business in 1818. The company was known as Havell and Son until Robert junior left to establish his own business in 1825, and was well known for its expertise in aquatint engraving and colouring.

In 1827, John James Audubon approached Robert senior to engrave a portfolio of 240 drawings he had brought with him from America. Robert senior understood that the work required the assistance of another expert engraver, and he approaches his son Robert junior to re-establish their previous partnership. Robert junior engraved the plates and Robert senior supervised their printing and colouring. The partnership continued until Robert Havell senior's retirement in 1828.

Robert senior died on 21 November 1832, and was buried at the Old St Pancras Church graveyard in London.