Nature's Engraver: A Life of Thomas Bewick

Front Cover
Faber & Faber, Mar 31, 2011 - Design - 480 pages
2 Reviews

Thomas Bewick wrote A History of British Birds at the end of the eighteenth century, just as Britain fell in love with nature. This was one of the wildlife books that marked the moment, the first 'field-guide' for ordinary people, illustrated by woodcuts of astonishing accuracy and beauty. But it was far more than that, for in the vivid vignettes scattered through the book Bewick drew the life of the country people of the North East - a world already vanishing under the threat of enclosures.

In this superbly illustrated biography, Jenny Uglow tells the story of the farmer's son from Tyneside who revolutionised wood-engraving and influenced book illustration for a century to come. It is a story of violent change, radical politics, lost ways of life and the beauty of the wild - a journey to the beginning of our lasting obsession with the natural world.

Nature's Engraver won the National Arts Writers Award in 2007. Jenny Uglow is the author of, among others, A Gambling Man: Charles II and the Restoration, which was shortlisted for the 2010 Samuel Johnson Prize, Lunar Men and In These Times.

'The most perfect historian imaginable' Peter Ackroyd

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - andersonden - LibraryThing

I enjoyed this book, not least because it contained some absolutely amazing woodcuts, but also because it provided a view to a world not so far away in time but light years away in technology and way of life. Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Teazle - LibraryThing

I was enthralled by this book about the life and work of the 18th/19th century engraver. I didn't know anything about him before reading this, but the author's style made me feel as if I knew him well by the end of the book, and I was sorry to have finished it. Read full review

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About the author (2011)

Jenny Uglow grew up in Cumbria and now works in publishing. Her books include prize-winning biographies of Elizabeth Gaskell and William Hogarth. The Lunar Men, published in 2002, was described by Richard Holmes as 'an extraordinarily gripping account', while Nature's Engraver: A Life of Thomas Bewick, won the National Arts Writers Award for 2007 and A Gambling Man: Charles II and the Restoration was shortlisted for the 2010 Samuel Johnson Prize. Her most recent book In These Times, a comprehensive history of the home front during the Napoleonic Wars, was described as 'a remarkable book written by an award-winning historian at the peak of her powers'. She lives in Canterbury.