Art Term

Wood engraving

A printmaking method distinct from woodcut in that the line is incised into the woodblock, rather than the background being cut away to leave a line in relief

Edward Calvert, ‘The Brook’ 1829
Edward Calvert
The Brook 1829
Tate

Wood engraving is a relief form of printmaking. It is usually done on the end grain of a block of boxwood, which is very hard, and so extremely fine detail is possible.

It became widely used in the nineteenth century as a method of reproducing pictures in books, newspapers and journals before the invention of photo-mechanical methods of reproduction, but was also occasionally used by artists, such as Edward Calvert, as an original printmaking medium.

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