Sunday, 24 January 2010
Last summer I read Jenny Uglow's excellent biography of Thomas Bewick, Nature's Engraver. There's a good review of it here, which will give some idea of his life and times in Northumberland. (That's a "rough northern region" of England, as the reviewer helpfully points out.) My mother had it on her shelves, which was coincidental as I'd been doing a lot of browsing about various kinds of print making - woodcut, wood engraving, etching - and made my first attempt at a linocut (not illustrated.)
He turned out to be a fascinating man, but the real interest lies in the fact that he was something of a genius. His skill with engraving tools was truly remarkable for observation and detail - many of the blocks from which the prints were taken are only about one or two inches wide and cut with such fine detail the technical feat on its own would be remarkable even if they weren't so fondly observed and beautifully full of life.
The Thomas Bewick Society has a very fine web site where you can find all manner of interesting things, not least more of his beautiful work. Clicking on his fizzog below will take you there.