45

Details & Cataloguing

Fine Books and Manuscripts

|
New York

Catesby, Mark

The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands: containing the Figures of Birds, Beasts, Fishes, Serpents, Insects, and Plants ... Together with their descriptions in English and French.  London: Printed for Charles Marsh, Thomas Wilcox, and Benjamin Sitchall, 1754

2 volumes, folio (20 x 14 in.; 508 x 355 mm).  220 handcolored etched plates after and by Catesby, handcolored folding engraved map in volume 2, title-pages printed in red and black in English and French, text in parallel columns of English and French, dedication leaves in both volumes, "An Account of Carolina and the Bahama Islands" bound following plates of volume 2, etched headpiece by Catesby, historiated woodcut initials, first 20 text leaves of volume 2 with page numerals corrected by hand, as often; "DU" on title-pages corrected by hand, repair to upper right edge of title-page of volume 1 (not affecting text), tears repaired in plates 1–4, small holes (generally not affecting images) in plates 5–8 and 19–21 in volume 1, plates 57–80 in volume 1 with light vertical crease, plate 19 in volume 2 with marginal tear, scattered light foxing and browning throughout.  Full red morocco gilt, edges gilt; quite worn, volume 1 with covers detached, text block separated into two sections.


Read Condition Report Read Condition Report

Provenance

The Library Company of Baltimore (inventory labels) — Maryland Historical Society (bookplates)

Literature

Anker 94; Dunthorne 72; Ellis/Mengel 477; Fine Bird Books  65; Great Flower Books  53; Hunt 486 (first edition); McGill/Wood 281; Norelli, American Wildlife Painting  73; Sabin 11059

Catalogue Note

Second edition, revised by George Edwards, of "the most famous color-plate book of American plant and animal life ... [and] a fundamental and original work for the study of American species" (Hunt).  Catesby's preface details his two journeys to the New World and the development of his Natural History, including his decision to etch his plates himself in order to ensure both accuracy and economy.  "Instead of perpetuating the previous stiff, profile manner of presentation, Catesby devised the method of mingling plants and animals in logical groupings, most often with accuracy and proportional scale between figure and plant.  He did his utmost to convey something of the particular habits or movements of each species.  Simple thought they are, he infused his compositions with a sense of movement and vitality not usual prior to his work" (Norelli).

Fine Books and Manuscripts

|
New York