"Pica luteo nigra varia, La Pie jaune et noire”
Mark Catesby (English 1682-1749) visited the American colonies in 1712. His sister, the wife of the secretary to the Governor of Virginia provided him with many social and scientific contacts and Catesby indulged his passion for collecting bird and plant specimens, all new to the Englishman. In 1722 Catesby returned to America to pursue a pet project, his Natural History of Carolina Florida and the Bahama Islands which was published in London between 1731 and 1743. Catesby's descriptions along with his illustrations of North American birds was more natural than any earlier attempt. He drew from living specimens and included foliage backgrounds. In fact, demand was so strong for Catesby’s work, that a German natural historian named Johann Michael Seligmann (1720-1762) re-engraved the plates in Nuremberg and reissued A Natural History between 1749 and 1776. This engraving was included in that edition of the famous work. Seligmann added German and French titles and references to Linnaean forms of classification. Seligmann also re-engraved plates from George Edward’s Natural History and bound them together with his re-engravings of Catesby’s work. The resulting natural history was so popular that it appeared in several editions and three languages during the 18th century. This charming magpie is balanced on a lily bulb, the white lily flowers fully in bloom.
17 x 11 ½ inches, sheet.
Engraving with perfectly preserved original color.
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