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He gradually turned to illustrating, writing and publishing his own books, gaining an adult audience for the fine illustrations in A History of Quadrupeds.His career began when he was apprenticed to engraver Ralph Beilby in Newcastle upon Tyne.He notably illustrated editions of Aesop's Fables throughout his life.

On one occasion, being assaulted by two pitmen on returning from a visit to Cherryburn, he resolutely turned upon the aggressors, and as he said, 'paid them both well'." Bewick was also noted as having a strong moral sense and was an early campaigner for fair treatment of animals.his father John had been married before his union with Jane, and was in his forties when Thomas, the eldest of eight, was born.John rented a small colliery at Mickley Bank, which employed perhaps six men. At the age of 14 he was apprenticed to Ralph Beilby, an engraver in Newcastle, where he learnt how to engrave on wood and metal, for example marking jewellery and cutlery with family names and coats of arms. 11 August 1753 – 8 November 1828) was an English engraver and natural history author.Early in his career he took on all kinds of work such as engraving cutlery, making the wood blocks for advertisements, and illustrating children's books.He objected to the docking of horses' tails, the mistreatment of performing animals such as bears, and cruelty to dogs. All these themes recur in his engravings, which echo Hogarth's attention to moral themes.

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