J.M. Bellew (1823-74)
J.C. M. Bellew was a noted author, preacher, and public reader. He was ordained in 1848 and served in several curacies in England. In 1851 he assumed the chaplaincy of St. John’s Cathedral in Calcutta. He returned to England in 1855, and over the next decade became noted as one of London’s finest preachers.
During this period he also published several volumes of sermons as well as a work called “The Seven Churches of Asia Minor.” Accompanied by the illustration of Thomas Allom, this appeared in the Art Journal in 1862. In 1868 Bellew resigned as a clergyman and converted to Catholicism.
He then became successful as a public reader, with elocutionary prowess comparable to that of Charles Dickens. Following two extended reading tours in America, Bellew suffered a physical breakdown, dying prematurely at age 51. Bellew’s visit to the Seven Churches must have occurred during his travels to or from India.