Benjamin Fawcett

Engraver and Colour Printer
McLean, Ruari
McLean, Antonia
Bridson, Gavin
Date published: 
January 1988

Benjamin Fawcett (1808–1893) was the outstanding woodblock colour printer of the nineteenth century. Like Thomas Bewick, Fawcett was an artist,engraver, and naturalist. He was also a publisher, and originated all the books which made him famous. His earliest important works on British Birds, British Butterflies, and British Game Birds, were all illustrated with wood engravings skillfully hand coloured. But the success of these books made hand colouring increasingly uneconomical. By the late 1850s, Fawcett's illustrations were regularly printed in six or eight colours.

This beautiful volume, produced in a numbered and limited edition, includes previously unpublished illustrations and a checklist of all known publications containing plates by Fawcett, with every individual plate listed. There are also essays on Fawcett's life, popular scientific publishing in the nineteenth century and Fawcett's colour woodblock techniques.

Ruaria McLean is the author of Nicholas Bentley Drew the Pictures ; his wife Antonia McLean is the author of Humanism and the rise of science in Tudor England.