Nature's Engraver: A Life of Thomas Bewick

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Macmillan, 2006 - Biography & Autobiography - 458 pages
2 Reviews

A beautifully illustrated biography of Thomas Bewick (1753-1828), the man whose art helped shape the way we view the natural world

At the end of the eighteenth century, Britain, and much of the Western world, fell in love with nature. Thomas Bewick's History of British Birds marked the moment, the first "field guide" for ordinary people, illustrated with woodcuts of astonishing accuracy and beauty. But his work was far more than a mere guide, for in the vivid vignettes scattered through the book, Bewick captured the vanishing world of rural English life.

In this superb biography, Jenny Uglow tells the story of the farmer's son from Tyneside who 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.

 

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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

Contents

A PLAIN MANS ART
xiii
SOURCE
1
THE BANKS OF THE TYNE
3
NATURE AND DRAWING
17
THE COMMON
27
BEILBYS WILD LAD
39
LIFE IN THE TOWN
54
PRETTY HISTORIES
64
DAILY BREAD
229
LAND BIRDS
242
ON HIS OWN
262
HOME AND FRIENDS
280
TIDE
291
WATER BIRDS
293
WITH BEWICK I WAS THEN HAPPY
306
BACK TO BUSINESS
321

GOD GAVE THE EARTH TO YOU
77
STREAM
89
NORTH AND SOUTH
91
PARTNER
106
ESTO PERPETUA
118
WALKING
129
BELL AND JOHN
141
AMONG THE ANIMALS
153
QUADRUPEDS
172
FLOOD
187
FROM FUR TO FEATHERS
189
YOUR LADS
201
RED NIGHTCAP DAYS
217
SHIFTING GROUND
329
FAME FABLES AND APPRENTICES
336
TAKING STOCK
353
SALMON AND SWALLOWS
366
SORE TIRED
377
NATURES ENGRAVER
395
ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
405
WORKSHOP APPRENTICES
407
ABBREVIATIONS SOURCES AND NOTES
409
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
440
INDEX
443
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About the author (2006)

Jenny Uglow is an editor at Chatto & Windus and lives in Canterbury, England. Her previous books include A Little History of British Gardening (FSG, 2004); The Lunar Men (FSG, 2002), winner of the PEN International Prize for History; and Hogarth (FSG, 1997).

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