Thomas Bewick (1753 1828) is synonymous with finely crafted wood engravings of the natural world, and his instantly recognisable style influenced book illustration well into the nineteenth century. During his childhood in the Tyne valley, his two obsessions were art and nature. At fourteen, he was apprenticed to the engraver and businessman Ralph Beilby (1743 1817) with whom he later published A General History of Quadrupeds (also reissued in this series). The present work, with its text compiled from various sources, was the first practical field guide for the amateur ornithologist, inspiring also artists and writers. Each of the two volumes contains hundreds of illustrations of breathtaking beauty and precision: one for each species, neatly capturing its character in exquisite detail, interspersed with charming vignettes of country life. Volume 1, published in 1797, covers land birds, including eagles and owls. Volume 2, published in 1804, covers water birds, including sandpipers and guillemots.