Wood Engravings and Woodcuts

Wood engraving as a means of illustrating ornithology books has been popular from the 18th century until today. Differing from the woodcut, which is made in relief on a block of soft wood with horizontal grain, a wood engraving is cut across the polished end grain of a hard wood block. The resulting print is more detailed than that of a woodcut.

In the late 18th century, Thomas Bewick demonstrated that  in skilled hands, wood engraving could be just as effective as metal engraving in depicting detail in bird art.

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