60 color plates, 150 halftones
7 1/2 x 9 4/5
English wood engraver Thomas Bewick (1753–1828) is best known for the two-volume History of British Birds and his book A General History of Quadrupeds, which showcased his groundbreaking engraving techniques that allowed text and images to be published on the same page. Setting his art in the context of his tumultuous life, Diana Donald draws connections between Bewick’s political and religious views and the character of his images and provides a new perspective on an artist whose work has become synonymous with nineteenth-century rural life.
Donald argues that Bewick’s depictions of the natural world, particularly British birds, set new standards of realism and authenticity, while his graphic scenes of country life, which mingled humor and tragedy, were unparalleled in their thoughtful observation. She also explicates how his lively illustrations of dogs, horses, and other animals are expressive of the growing movement for the prevention of cruelty to animals. Allowing Bewick’s art to be viewed in a broad context of the artistic and scientific culture of his age, this lavishly illustrated volume affords a fresh overview of an artist who continues to fascinate modern audiences.