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Nature's Engraver

At the end of the 18th century, Britain fell in love with nature. Thomas Bewick's History of British Birds 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 vanishing way of life of the country people of the North East. In this superbly illustrated biography, Jenny Uglow tells a story of violent change, radical politics, lost ways of life and the beauty of the wild - a journey to the beginning of our last obsession with the natural world.
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Promotional Information

Winner of the National Arts Writers Award, Nature's Engraver: A Life of Thomas Bewick is Jenny Uglow's beautifully illustrated biography of Thomas Bewick, the man whose wildlife illustrations shaped the way we view the natural world.

About the Author

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.


In this perceptive biography, Uglow (A Little History of British Gardening), an editor at the British publisher Chatto & Windus, chronicles the life of the wood engraver acclaimed for exquisite little vignettes of the Northumbrian countryside and its people. Thomas Bewick (1753- 1828) remained most of his life in his beloved Northumberland, where he was much in demand for bookplates, trade cards, playbills, business cards, leaflets and broadsides decorated with charming images of farmers, fishermen, peddlers, barnyards, moors, trees and streams. A naturalist as well as an artist, he rose to national fame with illustrations for three books, A General History of Quadrupeds, A History of British Birds and an edition of Aesop's Fables. Despite his celebrity, Bewick was "a plain, no-nonsense man" who cherished his family, loved fishing and tramping about the countryside and occasionally dabbled in politics. Uglow fleshes out what might have been a prosaic biography with a wealth of fascinating information about the world in which Bewick lived and worked-including descriptions of Northumberland and its people, and accounts of contemporaneous politics and religious thought. Her charming book, copiously illustrated with Bewick's wood engravings, includes extensive notes and a list of Bewick's workshop apprentices. 2 maps. (June) Copyright 2007 Reed Business Information.

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