Mark Catesby (1682-1749)

Mark Catesby was an English naturalist, painter and illustrator, who gave in his work  "Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands" for the first time a fully illustrated systematic account of the flora and fauna of of the British Colonies in the Americas. In 1712 he moved - together with his sister - from England to Williamsburg (Virginia, USA). 1714 he travelled the Caribbean Island. 1719 he came back to England. In 1722 he started - supported by the Royal Society - an expedition to Carolina. From there he made study trips through eastern North America and the Caribbean Islands, where he collected many plants and animals which he sent to England. In 1726 he moved back to England to work on his collections.

In 1731 and 1743 he published the two volumes of his work "Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands", illustrated with 220 hand-coloured etchings, which he engraved by himself, mostly made after his own drawings or watercolour paintings. For the first time he used full-page folio-sized coloured plates to illustrate a natural history book. In 1733 he became a fellow of the Royal Society. In 1771 a third edition of the two volumes of his work was published by Benjamin White in London.