front cover of Nature's Engraver
Nature's Engraver
A Life of Thomas Bewick
Jenny Uglow
University of Chicago Press, 2009

Thomas Bewick’s (1753–1828) History of British Birds was the first field guide for ordinary people, illustrated with woodcuts of astonishing accuracy and beauty. In Nature’s Engraver, Jenny Uglow tells the story of the farmer’s son from Tyneside who became one of Britain’s greatest and most popular engravers. 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.

 “A refined and engaging biography, as beautifully wrought, in its way, as Bewick’s woodcuts.”—New York Times

“Uglow’s clear prose sparkles like Bewick’s River Tyne.”—Los Angeles Times

“This is a lovely book, not just in the quality and sympathy of the writing but in the care of its design and illustration. [Uglow] has turned a rich but undramatic life into a vignette as full of interest and details as one of Bewick’s own woodcuts.”—Sunday Telegraph


“A splendid biography. But it becomes an endearing one by the scattered presence of so many of Bewick’s woodcuts.”—Washington Post


“Another triumph for England’s most innovative biographer, and a marvelous treat for fans of Bewick’s beguiling work.”—Kirkus Reviews



front cover of Period Piece
Period Piece
Gwen Raverat
University of Michigan Press, 1991
At the close of 1952, Bettrand Russell wrote to Gwen Raverat that he had been reading Period Piece “with the very greatest delight.” Raverat’s memories of childhood and coming of age during the final years of Victoria’s reign capture a young woman’s impressions of dons, eccentrics, and tradespeople in Cambridge during the 1890s. With astonishing power Period Piece brings us into the real presence of the late Victorian past.

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