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300 years ago and a century before Audubon, British born Mark Catesby followed his passion in search of plants and nature that were foreign to England and set out for America in 1712. There he discovered a new world of endless possibilities and strange creatures.

On November 4th – 9th, 2012, The Catesby Commemorative Trust brought together experts from America and Europe to discuss Catesby’s influences, drawings, science and impact on natural history. By traveling to places once visited by Mark Catesby—like Richmond, Virginia and Charleston, South Carolina; we had the privilege of viewing his most famous etchings.

The Catesby Commemorative Trust together with the Society for the History of Natural History and the Garden Club of America would like to thank our participating organizations:

The Historic Wilton House Museum
The Commonwealth Club of Richmond
The Kent-Valentine House
The Smithsonian Institution –
     Museum of Natural History
Smithsonian Libraries –
     The Joseph F. Cullman 3rd
     Library of Natural History
The U.S. Botanic Garden
The College of Charleston –
     Addlestone Library
The Gibbes Museum
The Library Society of Charleston
The Preservation Society of Charleston
Middleton Place
The Miles Brewton House
The William Gibbes House
Kiawah Island Golf Resort
     Nature Program

Latest News

We are pleased to announce that both Thomas Schreck (Portola, California) and Herbert E. Fitzgerald, III (Richmond, Virginia) have recently accepted our invitation to join the Catesby Commemorative Trust Board of Directors. Please see the “Those Involved” tab for photos and biographical information.

We are pleased to announce that Professor Sir Ghillean Prance FRS, VMH has accepted appointment as Patron of the Catesby Commemorative Trust.

Sir Ghillean was a keynote speaker at the Tercentennial and is author of a chapter in our book. Please see “Those Involved” for his biographical information.

Visit the summer exhibition “An Introduction to Mark Catesby” at the Petersburg Public Library.

For Information see:

On June 25th, the Paul Mellon Centre for Studies in British Art of Yale University in London is hosting a seminar entitled “Catesby – 1 object 3 voices”. The speakers are our authors Henrietta McBurney, Leslie Overstreet, and Charles Jarvis. Reservations are essential, so contact Ella Fleming at if you are interested in attending or want more information.

The Smithsonian Libraries unveils Once There Were Billions: Vanished Birds of North America at the National Museum of Natural History on June 24. This exhibition is a joint production of Smithsonian Libraries, Biodiversity Heritage Library, and the National Museum of Natural History. Take a look at the link and you’ll see Catesby’s illustrations of the Passenger Pigeon and the Heath Hen.


Thursday, 5th June 2014, 6.30pm for 7.00pm, Graham Kerr Building, University of Glasgow.

The author, Charles Nelson, will deliver a lecture “Home and abroad with the nineteenth century Scottish naturalist John Scouler of Kilbarchan”

John Scouler (c1804-1871) made a remarkable two-year journey to Northwest America discovering plants and animals while travelling through the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to his destination, the Columbia River. His companion was the Glasgow botanist David Douglas where they discovered many plants new to science. Scouler then went to India, adding to his collections which helped found the Andersonian Museum in Glasgow. When not travelling he was Professor at Anderson’s College and in Dublin. His work contributed to anthropology, natural history and geology – truly a “man of parts”. The illustrated lecture will describe his adventures and legacy to natural science.

Dr E. Charles Nelson, FLS. After a PhD in Australia Charles returned to his native Ireland in 1975, to take up the position of horticultural taxonomist at the Irish National Botanic Gardens, Dublin. He is the author or editor of over 20 books and more than 150 research papers, most recently a prize-wining book on heathers. Since 1996 he has lived in England and worked as a freelance botanist, author and editor, and is currently acting as editor for the Catesby Commemorative Trust’s intended book The curious Mister Catesby – A Naturalist Explores New Worlds. In May 2013, he received the Society for the History of Natural History’s Founders’ Medal.

Exhibits relating to The Andersonian Museum from the Zoology Museum and Glasgow Museums herbarium can be viewed in The Hunterian (Zoology Museum) where refreshments will be served.

Catesby Exhibit – Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden & Library

The Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden & Library in Richmond, Virginia is currently displaying a collection of exceptional facsimiles of Mark Catesby’s original watercolors. The originals are at Windsor Castle, and it has been 17 years since there has even been a selection of these prints in the US. The complete set has never been here, so don’t miss your opportunity to see this exhibit which is on display now through June 1st. For more information, please call 804.262.9887 Ext. 240 or see

Merian Symposium

The Artis Library (Special Collections of the University of Amsterdam) will host a three day symposium entitled Exploring Maria Sibylla Merian on May 26-28, 2014. Speakers will include three authors of chapters in our forthcoming book The curious Mister Catesby: a “truly ingenious” naturalist explores new worlds – Kay Etheridge (Professor of Biology at Gettysburg College), Leslie K. Overstreet (Curator of Natural History – Rare Books, Smithsonian Libraries), and Florence F.J.M. Pieters (former Curator of the Artis Library, University of Amsterdam; presently guest researcher at Artis Library). More information on the symposium can be found at:

UGAP will publish “The Curious Mister Catesby: A ‘Truly Ingenious Naturalist’ Explores News Worlds”

The University of Georgia Press has decided enthusiastically to publish “The curious Mister Catesby: a ‘truly ingenious’ naturalist explores new worlds”. We’ve been advised that the Press’ Faculty Board, comprised of senior scholars from a variety of fields, was particularly enthusiastic about the project and impressed by the rigor of our contributors’ scholarship.

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