FINE ART INVESTMENTS SINCE 1978
Title: "The Loggerhead Turtle" (plate/tab 40) Very Rare*
Portfolio: 'Natural History of Carolina, Florida & the Bahama Islands', 1736-1771
Medium: Original Hand-Colored Copper plate Etching
Matted size: 17.25" x 21.5"
Sheet size: 14" x 20.75"
Image size: 10.25" x 14"
Mark Catesby (24 March 1683 – 23 December 1749) was an English naturalist. Between 1729 and 1747 Catesby published his Natural History of Carolina, Florida
and the Bahama Islands, the first published account of the flora and fauna of North America. It included 220 plates of birds, reptiles, amphibians, fish, insects,
mammals and plants.
Mark Catesby's The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands is generally credited as the first published work to provide illustrations and
descriptions of North American flora and fauna. From 1722-1726 Catesby, an English naturalist, ranged over South Carolina, Georgia and the Bahamas sketching
and collecting specimens of native plants and animals.
Little is known of Catesby's early life. He was born in eastern England in 1683. Although Catesby does not appear to have attended university or studied for the
Bar, he was sufficiently educated to write clear English and Latin. His interest in and knowledge of plants may have derived from his uncle, who maintained a
botanical garden. Catesby also appears to have benefited from an acquaintance with John Ray, a leading English naturalist of the 17th century and the co-author
of an early classic study of birds. It is unclear when or how Catesby developed his skills as an artist.
Catesby's first visit to North America occurred in 1712 when he traveled to Williamsburg, Virginia, to live with his sister and her husband, who had settled there.
During his seven-year stay, he explored the length of the James River sketching plants and collecting botanical samples.
Upon Catesby's return to England in 1719, his work in Virginia drew the attention of several influential members of the Royal Society. And with their financial
backing, Catesby returned to North America three years later, arriving in Charleston in May 1722. During his four-year stay, he traveled throughout South
Carolina, coastal Georgia and to the Bahamas.
The sketches and specimens Catesby gathered during his second North American trip formed the basis for The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the
Bahama Islands. Although most often found as a two-volume set, Catesby's Natural History was published in 11 discrete sections from 1734-1747 and sold by
subscription. Although Catesby died in 1749, his work was republished in 1754 and again in 1771. Catesby's work predated the classification system developed by
Swedish botanist Carl Linneaus. However, the 1771 edition, featured here, includes a catalog of the Linnean names for the plants and animals Catesby featured in