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Mark Catesby

Born:
Essex, England 1682

Died:
London, England 1749

Active in:

  • Virginia

Biography

Mark Catesby, an English naturalist, came to Williamsburg, Virginia, in 1712 and spent the next several years sketching and collecting plants and animals from Virginia's tidewater region. His research and pioneering work in scientific illustration established him as America's foremost natural history artist, a status secured by the publication of his Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands in 1731 and his Natural History of Uncommon Birds in 1772. Catesby's descriptions of the habits of birds were the first to be read by Europeans, and until his work was eclipsed by John James Audubon's Birds of America almost a century later, his Natural History remained the best illustrated record of the flora and fauna in North America.

National Museum of American Art (CD-ROM) (New York and Washington D.C.: MacMillan Digital in cooperation with the National Museum of American Art, 1996)