Catesby Natural History
Lot 2033
CATESBY, MARK. c.1679-1749. The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands: Containing the Figures of Birds, Beasts, Fishes, Serpents, Insects, and Plants... Revis'd by Mr. Edwards. London: C. Marsh, 1754.
Sold for US$ 206,000 inc. premium
Auction Details
Catesby Natural History Catesby Natural History Catesby Natural History Catesby Natural History Catesby Natural History Catesby Natural History Catesby Natural History Catesby Natural History
Lot Details
CATESBY, MARK. c.1679-1749.
The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands: Containing the Figures of Birds, Beasts, Fishes, Serpents, Insects, and Plants... Revis'd by Mr. Edwards. London: C. Marsh, 1754. 2 volumes. [4], viii, xliv, 100, [6]; [iv], 100, 20, [1] pp. Titles printed in red and black. Dedication and index leaves in each volume. Text in English and French. Descriptions printed in 2 columns. Hand-colored double-page engraved map; 220 hand-colored etched plates by and after Catesby and most signed with his monogram, except for plates 61 and 96 in vol 2 by Georg Dionysius Ehret; etched head-pieces. Folio (530 x 350 mm). Period French mottled calf, a.e.g. Pale even toning, faint offsetting chiefly from plates to text but occasionally the other way, bindings worn and scuffed, spines especially. Complete list of etchings with additional condition notes available on request.

Second edition. Catesby spent from 1712 to 1719 in Virginia and returned to England with an impressive collection of plants. His work attracted the notice of Sir Hans Sloane who helped fund Catesby's second trip to Carolina, Georgia, Florida and the Bahamas from 1722 to 1729. Catesby again returned to England and prepared this natural history. To reduce costs, Catesby learned to etch the plates himself. Most remarkably, he prepared his compositions to depict birds, butterflies and other animals in their natural settings. He was the first natural historian to combine ornithological details with botanical ones. The first edition was published in parts and completed in 1747—the earliest color plate book on American birds. Its popularity was such that this second edition was undertaken, edited by George Edwards. Anker 95; Ellis/Mengel 478; Fine Bird Books p 65; Nissen IVB 177; Sabin 11509; Wolf pp 5-7.
Provenance: bookplates of John Wingfield Larking [1802-1891], diplomat and antiquarian; his sale, Sotheby's, April 4-6, 1892; William Porcher Miles [1822-1899], Confederate congressman and "Fire-Eater"; by descent.
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