“The story of Bewick’s life, as Uglow vividly recounts, is first the tale of a young boy who revealed in the natural world. But this is also a biography that traces a time of fierce and constant warfare, mass migration of laborers from the countryside into cities, and everyday suffering due to brutal weather and mysterious illness. And it was a time when Britain fell in love with nature. The organization of Uglow’s book is clever, embedding one man’s chronology into larger natural rhythms, keeping the pace brisk and ranging over a rich cultural and historical landscape . . . Nature’s Engraver is a refine and engaging biography, as beautifully wrought, in its way, as Bewick’s woodcuts. It simply requires its own leap of faith. Only as I was talking a walk through Central Park one morning—surrounded by people chattering on cellphones, plugged into iPods, moving with that increasingly familiar gait of creatures only vaguely aware of their surroundings—did I understand why a book about an obscure figure and outmoded form of art was so fascinating. Its quiet, cumulative power is in describing the value of a lifetime of paying attention, of seeing what is all around us—and of approaching the world with a heart full of love and wonder.”—Dominique Browning, The New York Times Book Review"Uglow’s biography is as poignant, shapely and incisive as Bewick’s woodcuts. Grounded in the countryside he came from, this marvellous book takes its structure from the River Tyne and explores the patterns of its subject's life organically, working outwards from within, tracing the inner play of force and feeling so that the outlines stand out crisply as each tiny detail falls into place."—Hilary Spurling, The Observer"Biographies rarely afford a glimpse behind the office door, and it is the image of Bewick at work that is so valuable here . . . It is hard to imagine a better biographer for this subject than Uglow, with her background in publishing and her knowledge of the North of England and the eighteenth century. It is also hard to imagine a more beautifully and produced book: scores of Bewick’s frameless vignettes float frame-free and captionless throughout, appearing as they would have done in his own time, tale pieces every one."—Frances Wilson, Times Literary Supplement"It’s a combination of precision allied to an uncluttered vision, and an exquisite sensibility, that makes Jenny Uglow the perfect biographer for this artist who spent his entire life in love with nature . . . Jenny Uglow is a publisher as well as a writer, who understands how important it is that a study of ‘nature’s engraver’ should please the eye as well as satisfy the mind."—Mark Bostridge, Independent on Sunday
Jenny Uglow is an editor at Chatto & Windus and lives in Canterbury, England. Her previous books include A Little History of British Gardening (FSG, 2004); The Lunar Men (FSG, 2002), winner of the PEN International Prize for History; and Hogarth (FSG, 1997).