Full Event Schedule
Event Sponsors
Latest News

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

Tercentennial Program
Detailed Program | November 4-9, 2012
Mark Catesby’s Third Centennial In America;
Celebrating His Impact On Our World


Sunday, November 4, 2012: Richmond, VA
(Rooms have been reserved at a special rate at the four star Omni Hotel.)

    4:00 pm – 7:30 pm: Wilton House Museum of the National Society of Colonial Dames in America in the Commonwealth of Virginia

  • Tour of the Wilton House and viewing of “The Curious Mr. Catesby
  • Welcome: Laura Towers, President of NSCDA – VA and Robert Strohm, Executive Director, Wilton House Museum
  • Introduction: Viewing of “The Curious Mister Catesby” Documentary Motion Picture, introduced by Cynthia P. Neal, Producer & Director
  • The Museum will have a concurrent exhibit of Catesby etchings
  • Cocktail Reception

Monday, November 5, 2012:
Richmond, VA / Washington, D.C.

(Rooms have been reserved at a special rate at the four star Hotel Monaco.)

    9:00 am – 12:30 pm: Wilton House Museum

      9:00 am: Catesby’s Influences and Sources

    • Mark Catesby and his Botanical Forerunners
      Dr. Karen Reeds, independent scholar
    • William Dampier: Diana & Michael Preston; Authors of “A Pirate
      of Exquisite Mind: Explorer, Naturalist and Buccaneer: The Life of
      William Dampier”
    • Maria Sibylla Merian: Pioneering Naturalist, Artist & Inspiration
      for Catesby: Florence F. J. M. Pieters, Faculty of Biology, University of
      Amsterdam & Dr. Kay Etheridge, Professor of Biology, Gettysburg College
      10:45 am: Catesby’s World

    • England: Dr. Janet Browne, Chair, Aramont Professor of the History of
      Science, Harvard University
    • Virginia: Dr. Sarah Meacham, Associate Professor of History, Virginia
      Commonwealth University, Richmond, VA
    • Carolina: Dr. Suzanne Linder Hurley, Independent Research Historian
      and Author, Davidson, NC
    • Bahamas: Dr. Robert Robertson, Curator Emeritus of Malacology, Philadelphia
      Academy of Natural Sciences

    12:30 pm – 2:00 pm: Lunch at the Commonwealth Club

    2:15 pm: Tour of Kent-Valentine House which has a large collection of Catesby etchings.

    4:00 pm: Chartered coach transfer to four star Hotel Monaco in Washington, D.C.

    Evening free

    Tuesday, November 6, 2012: Washington, D.C.

      10:30 am – 12:00 pm: Museum of Natural History, Baird Auditorium;
      (Lectures at the Baird Auditorium will be non-ticketed and open to the public.)

    • Welcome: Senior Smithsonian and Garden Club of America officials
    • Moderator: Nancy Gwinn, Director, Smithsonian Institution Libraries
    • Catesby’s Drawings: Speaker, Henrietta McBurney Ryan, Keeper of
      Fine & Decorative Arts, Eton College; formerly Deputy Keeper, Royal Library,
      Windsor Castle & author of forthcoming book on Catesby’s original paintings
    • The Natural History — Its printing and publication:
      Speaker, Leslie K. Overstreet, Curator, Natural-History Rare Books,
      Smithsonian Institution Libraries
    • Catesby’s Etchings — His Compositional Interests & the Birth of
      Environmental Science: Speaker, Dr. Amy Meyers, Director, Yale Center
      for British Art
      12:30 pm – 2:00 pm: Ticket Holders’ Lunch in the Executive Conference Room at the Museum of Natural History

      2:00 pm – 5:00 pm: Museum of Natural History, Baird Auditorium;
      (Lectures at the Baird Auditorium will be non-ticketed and open to the public.)

        2:30 pm: Catesby’s Science

      • Ornithology (incl. bird migration): Shepard Krech III, Professor
        Emeritus, Brown University
      • Botany: Dr. Steven A. Harris, Druce Curator of the Oxford University
        Herbaria (scheduled – possibly given by his delegate)
      • Zoology (other than ornithology): Dr. Aaron Bauer, Professor & Gerald
        M. Lemole Chair in Integrative Biology, Villanova University, Villanova, PA
      • Catesby’s Economic and Ethnobotany: Dr. W. Hardy Eshbaugh,
        Professor of Botany Emeritus, Miami University, Oxford, OH
        • 5:15 pm – 6:15 pm: Ticket holder’s viewing of the Smithsonian’s first edition of The Natural History

            6:30 pm – 7:30 pm: The United States Botanic Garden, Washington, D.C.

          • Welcome by Dr. Ari Novy, Public Program Manager
          • Display of Catesby-Related Plants
          • Cocktail Reception

          Evening free

          Wednesday, November 7, 2012:
          Washington, D.C. / Charleston, SC

          Personal transportation to Charleston, SC to be arranged by attendees
          (Rooms have been reserved at a special rate at both The Five Star Sanctuary Hotel and the Kiawah Island Golf Resort.)

            2:00 pm – 4:00 pm: Customized Kiawah Island Nature Tours

          • Dolphin Tour
          • Birding Tour: Led by National Geographic expert Jonathan Alderfer

          6:15 pm: Cocktail Reception and tour of Vanderhorst Plantation

        7:30 pm: Banquet at Cassique on Kiawah Island, with keynote speaker – Sir Ghillian Prance, FRS; Director (retired), Royal (Kew) Botanic Gardens; previously Vice President, New York Botanical Garden as well as President of the UK Linnean Society, and currently Scientific Director of the Eden Project.

        Thursday, November 8, 2012: Charleston, SC
        Coach transfers into Charleston within Town and return to Kiawah

          9:30 am – 1:00 pm: College of Charleston – Stern Center Ballroom

        • Coffee reception with viewing of the College of Charleston Addlestone Library Rare Book Collection
        • Welcome to Charleston – The Honorable Joseph P. Riley, Jr., Mayor of Charleston
        • Catesby The Explorer: Dr. James L. Reveal, Professor Emeritus, University
          of Maryland and Adjunct Professor of Plant Biology, Cornell University
          11:45 am: Catesby’s Impact on Natural History

        • Linnaeus and the relevance of his use of Catesby’s botanical work:
          Dr. Charlie Jarvis, Botany Department, Natural History Museum, London
        • Linnaeus and his use of Catesby’s zoological work:
          Dr. Kraig Adler, Professor & Department Chair, Department of Neurology
          & Behavior, Cornell University
        • The Naturalists who came after Catesby: Judith Magee, Special
          Collections Curator, Library & Archives, Natural History Museum, London
          and author of “Art and Nature: Three Centuries of Natural History Art from
          Around the World”
        • Opportunity to view second edition Natural History:
          Alexander Wilson and Audubon double elephant folio (Leslie Overstreet
          will be available for all viewings of the Natural History to point out
          their salient features – no two are exactly the same)
          1:30 pm – 3:30 pm: The Gibbes Museum of Art
          This section of the program honors the memory of Chris Hammond, long-term Director of the Trust to whom it owes much; truly a gentleman, and a good friend

        • Lunch in the Museum Garden
        • View exhibit of Colonial Art and their second edition of the Natural History
          4:00 pm – 5:00 pm: The Library Society of Charleston (1748)

        • The Bartram-Catesby Connection: Joel T. Fry, Curator, Bartram’s Garden, Philadelphia, PA
        • Catesby and 18th Century Gardening:Mark Laird, Adjunct Professor of Landscape Architecture, Harvard University
        • Viewing of their second and third editions of The Natural History
          5:00 pm: Visit to the Preservation Society of Charleston with a book signing by Jonathan Alderfer of National Geographic

            6:00 pm: Cocktail Receptions at the historic Miles Brewton and William Gibbes Houses
            Evening free
          Friday, November 9, 2012: Charleston, SC

            You may choose one tour option from the list below.

              9:30 am – 3:30 pm: Catesby Country Immersion Tour and lunch at Middleton Place, including fresh-water swamp, salt marsh, rice fields, ruins of Catesby-era house, free
              flying demonstration by Charleston Center for Birds of Prey of raptors
              painted by Catesby plus of viewing of first edition of Mark Catesby’s
              Natural History
              10:00 am – 2:00 pm: Tour of the ACE Basin led by National Geographic expert Jonathan Alderfer, boxed lunch included. Jonathan Alderfer will be signing books following the tour at 3:00 pm at the Kiawah Nature Center
              1:00 pm – 4:30 pm: Lunch will be served in the garden at 15 Legare followed by a tour of private and rarely seen Charleston Gardens
              (Preservation Society of Charleston)
Our Sponsors
The Catesby Commemorative Trust is pleased to recognize the following as our sponsors for the Catesby Tercentennial Program (As of July 25, 2012).

Title Sponsors (Diamond)

Day Sponsors (Platinum)

Event Sponsors (Gold)

Program Sponsors (Silver)
Leslie S. Ariail
Brantley Knowles
Carrter Lupton
Osborne Mackie
Laura Towers

City Event Supporters (Bronze)
The Wells Gallery (Charleston/Kiawah)

Latest News

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.


While many have seen Mark Catesby’s etchings relatively few have seen his original watercolors in the Royal Library that he used to prepare the etchings for his Natural History.

The general public now has its first opportunity to see some of them since the last century, when some of them were exhibited at four museums in the US, in Japan and the Queen’s Gallery at Buckingham Palace.

Twenty seven of them are currently on exhibition at Gainsborough House, in Sudbury, Suffolk, England until October 12. If you are in the UK during this period this is a great opportunity to see them, and it may well not come again. When at Windsor they are accessible only to approved scholars by specific appointment.

Click here for more information. And note, the Tripadvisor website gives the Gainsborough House a four star rating even without the Catesby exhibit.

“The curious Mister Catesby – a truly ingenious naturalist explores new worlds” has been submitted to the University of Georgia Press. Both their peer reviewers have recommended publication and only made relatively minor suggestions. The Press final decision is expected by November.

The American Society of Botanical Artists has an interesting traveling exhibition of art by William and John Bartram; see

The Executive Committee of the 90,000 member Garden Club of America has voted unanimously to continue its cooperation with the Trust, sustaining the momentum initiated so effectively with the Catesby Tercentennial in 2012.

Dear Friends of the Catesby Commemorative Trust:
We are delighted to share with you the successful completion of the Catesby Tercentennial events. Many of you shared in these events or caught a glimpse of the activities in one city or another. The excitement among participants and speakers alike was palpable, and the comments from all have been outstanding. We have included some commentary from the successful event.

The Catesby Trust continues to be engaged in our mission of promoting 17th and 18th century natural historians and artists, as we continue to engage audiences around their important work. From Amsterdam to the U.K. and here in the Lowcountry, the Trust will continue to bring these lives, especially that of Mark Catesby, to the forefront of educational studies. While we have held a successful and crowd pleasing Tercentennial symposium, we know there is still work to be done.

Our efforts to publish a book, representing the wealth of knowledge convened during the Tercentennial presentations, along with the broad research of Dr. Charles Nelson in England, will take time and energy. The Catesby Commemorative Trust is committed to this project, and I will continue to engage with you, our experts and our community around this endeavor. Several new discoveries on the life of Mark Catesby and comprehensive submissions by our experts prove to us the importance of this books publication.

We will continue to need your support to take the pieces of our program and produce this book that will solidify Catesby’s place as one of the transformative individuals of the world of superstition to the world of modern science. This may be our best work yet. We ask that you support the continuation of our journey, and the time is now as we continue the momentum generated by these great events.

Thank you for your generosity and guidance,
David Elliott
Executive Director

Catesby Tercentennial Testimonials

“Thank you again for the very, very inspiring and perfect organized Catesby Tercentennial!” – Attendee, The Netherlands;

“[A] really wonderful conference. It was the best I have ever attended!” – Speaker, United Kingdom;

“It was such a splendid conference, the best I ever attended,…” – Speaker, the Netherlands;

“The Catesby Commemoration, and our outstanding visits to Richmond, DC, and Charleston/Kiawah Island are now becoming history – but they remain excellent memories.” Attendee, Nova Scotia

“… a quick note to commend you for the outstanding conference. This is probably the “best” such event that I have ever attended.” – Speaker, Hendersonville NC;

“…such a rich and meaningful event. … It was really spectacular and we are most grateful for being included.” – Speaker,

If you would like to receive email updates with the latest news about the
Catesby Tercentennial please email your contact information to