Mister Catesby

Edited for The Catesby Commemorative Trust

By Dr. Charles Nelson and David J. Elliott

Foreword by Jane O. Waring

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A lavishly illustrated book written by pre-eminent experts in their fields

The Curious Mister Catesby includes contributions from international experts who review Catesby’s biography, as well as his historical and scientific achievements, to significantly advance our knowledge of Catesby’s explorations, collections, artwork and publications, and to reassess his importance within the pantheon of early naturalists.

In 1712, English naturalist Mark Catesby (1683-1749) crossed the Atlantic to Virginia. After a seven-year stay, he returned to England with paintings of plants and animals which impressed several Fellows of the Royal Society enough to sponsor his return to North America in 1722. During his second visit, Catesby cataloged the flora and fauna of the Carolinas and the Bahamas by gathering seeds and specimens, compiling notes, and making watercolor sketches. Upon his return to England five years later, he began the twenty-year task of writing, etching, and publishing his monumental, two-volume work, The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama islands.

catesby Trust

A landmark book filled with introspective and concise essays, each developed with a richness of detail, revealing the absorbing portrait of a self-taught artist from Suffolk who had an insatiable curiosity about nature. Wonderfully readable, this classic is an engaging introduction to Catesby’s timeless illustrations and to his keen observation of the natural world. Like an investigation by forensic scientists, the contemplative and thorough scholarship of these authors reveals new insight into Catesby, his journeys, his peers, and the inexhaustible pursuit of botanical and zoological specimens in an eighteenth-century world.
~ Marian Hill,  Former President of The Garden Club of America