Thomas Bewick is generally credited with inventing of wood-engraving - that is, of making a woodcut on the end of a piece of boxwood rather than on the side of a board, a technique that allowed much finer detail. Whether or not he invented the technique he certainly made it much more popular. His best-known illustrations, and the first to use this technique to any extent, were for “General History of Quadrupeds’ (1790). Bewick combined techniques of variable-width white lines, of lowering the surface of the block (away from the paper) to preserve finr details, and even had the press operators clean the blocks between impressions.
Thomas Bewick and wood-block printing, at the Natural History Museum, UK.