British Birds: Water Birds

4.    The History of British Birds: Water Birds

Bittern Bittern c. 1804, wood engraving, 8.4 x 8.4 cm, EAG 90.41.019

With the departure of Ralph Beilby as a participant in the natural history publications, Bewick now found himself responsible for both the text and the engravings for the second volume of the History of British Birds.

He described his method in his Memoir as follows:

As soon as each Bird was finished in the Wood, I set about describing it from my Specimen—and at the same time consulted every Authority I could meet with to know what had been said, & this together with what I knew from my own knowledge, were then compared, and in this way, I finished, as truely as I could, the second Volume of the History of British Birds.

This was finally ready in July of 1804, more than six years after the publication of the first volume. After the earlier editions, revisions of both volumes would generally be published and released together.


Select an edition to access information on that edition and the wood engravings.

1804 1805 1809 1816
1821 1826 1832 1847

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