Witches, demons, and wondrous creatures appear in a new book from the British Library, Graven Images: The Art of the Woodcut.
Whether printed in early books, pasted on public walls, or hawked on street corners, woodcuts were some of the earliest forms of mass communication. They appeared in Europe around 1400 (having been used in Japan and China far earlier), where they were used to spread religious imagery, political propaganda, important news, and salacious gossip. A new book from the British Library, Graven Images: The Art of the Woodcut, collects some of the strangest and most amusing woodcuts in the library's collection, featuring astounding images of wondrous events, terrible crimes, and exotic creatures both real and imagined. The text, by London writer and editor Jon Crabb, provides an insightful guide to the turbulence depicted on the pages, whether it's the political upheaval of Henry VIII's break from the pope in 1534 or the "witch craze" of the 16th and 17th centuries.