Mark Catesby’s Natural History of Carolina, Florida & the Bahama Islands
Please note that each book is individually made up so if you were considering Catesby’s Natural History as a gift, or to commemorate an anniversary, a special dedication page can be printed and bound in.
Mark Catesby’s Natural History of North America
This year, 2022, marks the Tercentenary of Mark Catesby's voyage across the Atlantic, in what was to become the making of first illustrated record of the flora and fauna of North America. Catesby’s distinguished masterpiece The Natural History of Carolina, Florida & the Bahama Islands – has been reproduced as a limited edition, full bound in red leather.
Only sixty facsimile copies of Catesby’s collection of 265 watercolours of “The Birds, Beasts, Fishes, Serpents, Insects & Plants” are currently in existence, with the originals held in the Royal Collection at Windsor Castle.
The last ten sets of this exclusive edition are being hand-bound, into four-volume sets with Catesby’s own introductory text and his detailed notes for each image. A blind-embossed chop incorporates the publishing mark and copyright symbol of the Royal Collection with the catalogue number of each image added in pencil. The plates for each image were purposefully destroyed after the print run was complete, reinforcing their lasting significance and historical value.
Each volume is fully bound in red leather in a similar style to the bindings that once housed the original watercolours, and the volumes are hand-tooled with gold leaf on both the spine and the covers.
The front cover also carries King George III’s Royal Cypher. A preface by the former Royal Librarian, the late Jane Roberts, and Catesby’s original text for each image has been included, as well as a title page, an index, and a map of Carolina, Florida and the Bahamas.
The Natural History of Carolina, Florida & the Bahama Islands limited edition sets provide the opportunity to rediscover the age of enlightenment through the wonder of art, and view the natural world through the eyes of one of the age’s most eminent naturalists.
Each of the 265 images has been hand-printed, one colour at a time, using the stochastic lithographic process, that replicates the meticulous precision and vibrant colours of the original.
Scholarly advice on Mark Catesby’s Natural History of North America text has been provided by Leslie K. Overstreet, Curator of Natural History Rare Books, Smithsonian Libraries. In addition extensive indexes of Catesby’s original and common names and their modern name equivalent appear in the fourth volume. Identification of the illustrated plants and animals is by the late James L. Reveal, School of Integrative Plant Science, Cornell University.
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This is as great an enterprise as the celebrated Banks' Florilegium
The Book Collector, Spring 2016