antique prints, maps and watercolors

Pl. 1.83 The Brown Curlew. The Natural History of the Carolinas... London: 1771. $1,650.00

The Brown Curlew


Mark Catesby was an English botanist who spent a total of ten years traveling around the east coast of the United States and the Bahamas collecting specimens and making drawings for the first natural history of America.  His wildly diversified work contains plants, birds, insects, snakes, small mammals (and a bison!), fish and mollusks.  Catesby supported himself as a nurseryman while he labored for ten years organizing his specimens, drawing and engraving and sometimes hand coloring his work.  Finally, in 1731, he published the first volume of The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands. It contains 100 images of birds. He published a second volume containing animals, fish, shells, insects, snakes, etc. in 1743. The work remained unsurpassed as a reference for many years. It continued to be so useful, that a second edition was published in 1754 with an appendix of 20 additional engraved plates.  A third edition was published in 1771. Catesby's images are imaginatively and boldly figured in a straightforward style which calls folk art to the mind of the modern viewer.

18 1/2 x 12 1/4 inches, sheet.

Hand colored copperplate engraving.
Nicely preserved color. Some light mat staining, a few pinpricks of foxing, paper tape attached to margin at lower right.