In digging through the British Museum online collection database this week for a project, I tripped over the wood engravings of Thomas Bewick (1753-1828). Operating mostly in Newcastle for his entire career, Bewick’s rural upbringing led to an interest in natural history. Bewick used metal engraving tools to carve end-grain boxwood blocks, resulting in wood cuts of exceptional durability and detail. Interestingly, when having his bust made, Bewick insisted on being depicted not in a toga, but in his everyday dress and with smallpox scars depicted. Bewick’s tooled blocks were so intricate they challenged printers in their correct use, so rendering himself accurately was of great importance.
You can search the over 3,000 prints made by Bewick and family in the collection of the British Museum online. A 2013 publication, Thomas Bewick: Graphic Worlds by Nigel Tattersall, focuses on the work Bewick produced for hire, such as book illustrations, trade cards, bills, and medals. The book is readily available online. Tattersall also produced a three-volume catalog of Bewick’s work in 2011, The Complete Illustrative Work of Thomas Bewick with 1,200 black and white illustrations.
 Hugh Dixon. 2010. “Thomas Bewick and the North-Eastern Landscape”, in Northern Landscapes: Representations and Realities of North-East England, editors Thomas Faulkner, Helen Berry, and Jeremy Gregory. Woodbridge: The Boydell Press. p. 266