12. Catesby, Mark (1683-1749).
The Natural History of Carolina, Florida & the Bahama Islands. London: Printed for Charles Marsh... Thomas Wilcox... Benjamin Stichall, 1754.
Catesby was an English naturalist who took an early interest in the natural history of the southern American colonies. After an early foray to Virginia in 1712, he returned to what was called South Carolina in 1722, and he spent three years there sketching the animals and plants of the countryside. He then journeyed to the Bahamas, and then back to England, where he spent much of the rest of his life preparing his Natural History for publication. The first volume appeared in 1731, and the second in 1743; both were then reissued in 1754, which is the edition we display. Although Catesby considered himself a botanist, the book is more renowned for its illustrations of birds, nearly all of which Catesby drew and etched himself. We see here the Ivory-Billed Woodpecker, perched on a willow. Several of the plates, however, were drawn by the noted artist George Ehret, including this one of the Southern Magnolia.
Since Catesby’s book appeared while the Linnaean system was still being worked out, many of Catesby’s names are no longer valid. However, in later editions of the System of Nature, Linnaeus did incorporate many of Catesby’s specimens and give them an official stamp of approval.
The Natural History of Carolina, 1754.