The Curious Mister Catesby: A “Truly Ingenious” Naturalist Explores New Worlds


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The Curious Mister Catesby: A “Truly Ingenious” Naturalist Explores New Worlds Author: Format: Hardback First Published: Published By: University of Georgia Press Pages: 456 Illustrations and other contents: 238 colour paintings, illustrations, photographs and maps ISBN: 9780820347264 Category:

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 he had studied. They sufficiently impressed other naturalists that in 1722 several Fellows of the Royal Society sponsored his return to North America. There Catesby cataloged the flora and fauna of the Carolinas and the Bahamas by gathering seeds and specimens, compiling notes, and making watercolor sketches. Going home to England after five years, he began the twenty-year task of writing, etching, and publishing his monumental The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands.

Weight1.8 kg
Mark Catesby, the English naturalist and artist, as well as his considerable accomplishments, is given new life in this well-written, multiauthored account. Emphasis is placed on Catesby's travels in North America that led to his monumental volumes on the flora and fauna of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahamas. The book is an important addition to the library of the history of natural history of colonial America.- William D. Anderson Jr., Professor of Marine Biology, Grice Marine Biological Laboratory, College of Charleston; ""The Curious Mister Catesby is an absorbing blend of early colonial history in the American Southeast and the Bahamas, with the rich fauna and flora the settlers freshly contained. Catesby emerges as one of the first true naturalists of the New World.""- Edward O. Wilson, University Professor Emeritus of Entomology, Harvard University; ""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; ""This comprehensive, lavishly illustrated work . . . will stand for many years as the best critical analysis of [Catesby's] work, and of the groundbreaking natural science that his curiosity inspired.""- Linda Lear Nature; ""This remarkable commemorative publication represents the perspectives of two dozen learned contributors representative of a broad spectrum of disciplines, including historians, botanists, zoologists, ornithologists, anthropologists, landscape architects, fine arts authorities, museum specialists and associated fields. Each of the 22 chapters is an essay revealing another of the many layers of Catesby's genius.""- Ben MCC. Moise The Post and Courier; ""As if one of Catesby's ivory-billed woodpeckers swooped down before your eyes, this work draws the once-mysterious Catesby out of the shadows and, fittingly, displays him in vibrant living color.""- Robert Salvo Charleston Mercury; ""The Curious Mr. Catesby is important for the history of natural history as it offers so much to know and understand about this interesting man and his contributions to natural history.""- Charles Tancin Huntia; ""For the book's top-notch construction and amazing array of colored maps and illustrations, The University of Georgia Press should be commended, reminding us why the physical book is so worthy of praise. This book should find a deserved place on the shelf of both general and academic readers.""- Vaughn Scribner, The Journal for Southern Literature

Author Biography

E. Charles Nelson is a botanist who served for two decades as a horticultural taxonomist at the National Botanic Gardens in Glasnevin, Dublin. He served as Honorary Editor of Archives of Natural History (1999-2012) and has written or edited, singly or collaboratively, nearly forty books. His most recent title is Shadow among Splendours: Lady Charlotte Wheeler-Cuffe's Adventures among the Flowers of Burma, 1897-1921. David J. Elliott is founder, chairman, and now Honorary Trustee of the Kiawah Island Natural Habitat Conservancy. He has been executive director of the Catesby Commemorative Trust since 2002.