Animal artist and draftsman, Thomas Bewick was born in Newcastle upon Tyne and remained in his hometown to establish a school of engravers. Largely considered to be the father of 19th-century wood engraving, as well as a one of the best of the British graphic artists, Bewick's most famous illustrations depict animal and bird life such as in 'Select Fables' 1784, and 'A History of British Birds' 1797 and 1804.
Bewick was a master of acute observation. As an engraver he pioneered the technique of cutting into the end grain with a burin, rather than into the plank and thereby was able to achieve a wide range of middle tones for foliage and textures. This did much to prevent the medium of engraving from degenerating into a solely reproductive technique.