CATESBY, M.

Piscium Serpentum Insectorum aliorumque nonnullorum animalium nec non plantarum quarundam imagines quas Marcus Catesby in posteriore parte splendidi illius operis quo Carolinae Floridae et Bahamensium insularum tradidit historiam naturalem? Die Abbildungen verschiedener Fische, Schlangen, Insecten, einiger andern Thiere, und Pflanzen, welche Herr Marcus Catesby im zweyten Theil und im Anhang seines vortreflichen Werks der natürlichen Historie von Carolina, Florida und den Bahamischen Inseln beschrieben in ihren natürlichen Farben vorgestellet herausgegeben von Nicolaus Friedich Eisenberger und Georg Lichtensteger und fortgesetzt von Georg Wolfgang Knorr seel. Erben.

Eur 95,000 / USD 96,900
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Nürnberg, gedruckt bey Paul Jonathan Felssecker, 1777. Folio (475 x 320mm). pp. (4), 100, 10, (8), with 109 (1 folded) splendidly hand-coloured engraved plates. Contemporary calf, spine in 7 compartments with gilt lines and red gilt lettered label (head and foot of spine a bit rubbed).

"Catesby's 'Natural History' is the most famous colorplate book of American plants and animal life" (Hunt 486).

A very fine copy of the second, and much enlarged, German/ Latin edition of Catesby's masterpiece with excellent colouring of the plates. The first German edition was published in 1750 with only 72 plates. The present work describes the fishes, reptiles, insects and some other animals and plants of the New World, which were published in the second volume and the appendix of the first edition of Catesby's famous work. The first volume of Catesby's work dealt with birds and a translation in Dutch and German was published separately by Seligmann.

"Catesby's 'Natural History' is the most famous colorplate book of American plants and animal life" (Hunt 486).

"Mark Catesby, born 24 March 1682, after studying natural science in London, made two sojourns in America, 1712-19 and 1722-26? He resided in Virginia and traveled; sent back seeds; and carried back specimens that impressed Sir Hans Sloane and Dr William Sherard. The second time, he arrived in Charleston in May 1722; travelled in Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and the Bahamas, seeking materials for his projected 'Natural History'; sent back specimens. Back in London, he devoted himself to the preparation of the book. As he could not afford artists and engravers, and trusted none but himself, he studied etching under Joshua Goupy and did the work himself" (Hunt p. 143).
"Catesby described and illustrated thirty-five different kinds of amphibians and reptiles in his book. Thirty-two of these are recognized to-day as distinct species... Mark Catesby's ability to distinguish different species of animals was exemplary. He rarely illustrated or gave different names to animals that have not been recognized by later specialists to be valid species? Statistically, this is a far better record than almost every other naturalist who has worked in North America up to the present day. Catesby was indeed a gifted and careful observer of nature" (Kraig Adler. Catesby's fundamental contributions to Linnaeus's binominal catalog of North American animals, published in 'The Curious Mister Catesby').

The present copy has the supplement bound at the end with 9 plates which are included in the total plate count.
An unusually fresh copy with exquisite colouring of the plates in an attractive contemporary binding.

Provenance: Bookplate of Waldemar Schwalbe.

Nissen ZBI, 846, Hunt 486 (page 144); Nissen 'Schöne Fischbücher' 39. See also 'The Curious Mister Catesby, a truly ingenious naturalist explores new worlds', edited by C. Nelson & D.J. Elliott.