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a printmaking technique in which a print is made from a design incised on the transverse section, or end, of a hardwood block. The technique was developed in England in the last half of the 18th century, and its first master was the printmaker Thomas Bewick, whose illustrations for such natural history books as A History of British Birds (1797 and 1804) were the first extended use of the technique. After Bewick's death, however, wood engraving served merely as a method to reproduce other works of art. The English poet and artist William Blake (1757-1827) engraved his own designs on wood, but his work is an isolated example of original work done in the technique in his day.