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Isaac Taylor (1787 - 1865) was an English philosophical and historical writer, artist, and inventor.


He was the most eminent member of the Taylors of Ongarmarker, a family known especially in art and literature. His grandfather and father, who bore the same name, were both eminent engravers, and the latter was the author of various books for children. Taylor was brought up to the hereditary art of engraving, in which he displayed pre-eminent skill, his work gaining the admiration of D. G. Rossetti.

He decided, however, to devote himself to literature, and for 40 years continued to produce works of originality and value, including Elements of Thought (1823), Natural History of Enthusiasm (1829), Spiritual Despotism (1831), Ancient Christianity (1839), Restoration of Belief (1855), The Physical Theory of Another Life, History of Transmission of Ancient Books, and Home Education, besides numerous contributions to reviews and other periodicals.

Besides his literary and artistic accomplishments Taylor was an important inventor, two of his inventions having done much to develop the manufacture of calico.


Two of his sisters had a reputation as poets. Ann Taylor, later Mrs. Gilbert (1782 - 1866), and Jane (1783 - 1824) were, like their brother, taught the art of engraving. In 1804-5 they jointly wrote Original Poems for Infant Minds, followed by Rhymes for the Nursery and Hymns for Infant Minds. Among these are the well-known rhymes, "My Mother" and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. Jane was also the author of Display, a tale (1815), and other works, including several hymns, of which the best known is "Lord, I would own Thy tender Care." The hereditary talents of the family were represented in the next generation by Isaac Taylor (1829-1901), the son of Isaac last mentioned, who, in addition to The Liturgy and the Dissenters, published works in philology and archaeology, including Words and Places and Etruscan Researches; and by Josiah Gilbert, son of Ann Taylor, an accomplished artist, and author of The Dolomite Mountains, Cadore, or Titian's Country, and ed. of the Autobiography of his mother.

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