The Red Curlew
A magnificent rendition of the extremely colourful red curlew, etched on copper and coloured by hand. This image is the work of the famous ornithologist and artist, Mark Catesby, and was published in The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands in London between 1731 and 1743.
Mark Catesby was born in Essex in March 1682 the son of a lawyer and gentleman farmer. At a young age he became acquainted with the naturalist, John Ray, a friendship that would lead to a lifelong interest in natural history. He went to London where he studied natural history and then embarked upon a trip to the American colonies where he stayed with his sister who lived in Williamsburg, Virginia. After his stay in Williamsburg, Catesby went on in 1714 to visit the West Indies, returning to England in 1719. After receiving much acclaim for his endeavours back in London Catesby was commissioned by The Royal Society to return to America and in 1722 he left to undertake a plant collecting exercise in Carolina. He settled in Charleston and sent back large numbers of plant and bird specimens to London, many of which ended up with Hans Soane and some of which can still be seen at The Soane Museum in Lincoln’s Inn. Upon returning to London in 1726 Catesby spent the next seventeen years compiling his Natural History and was the first to use folio sized colour plates in a natural history publication. He learnt how to etch onto copper and by the early 1730s he had produced his first volume. The second volume was published in 1743, six years before his death in 1749.
10¼ x 13¾"