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    A Magnificent Early German Edition of Catesby's Natural History of the Carolinas, Florida and the Islands of the Bahamas

    Mark Catesby. Piscium Serpentum Insectorum Aliorumque Nonnullarum Animalium nec non plantarum quarundam imagines quas Marcus Catesby, In Posteriore Parte Splendidi Illus Operis Quo Carolinae Floridae et Bahamensium Insularum Tradidit Historium Naturalem Eiusque Appendice Descripsit Vivas Coloribus Pictas Edere Coeperunt Nicolaus Fridericus Eisenberger et Georgias Lichtensteger et Ad Finem Perduxerunt Beati Georgii Wolfgang Knorrii Heredes. Norimbergae Typis Paulli Jonathae Felsekeri A. MDCCLXXVII. Die Abbildungen verschiedener Fische, Schlangen, Insecten, einiger andern Thiere, und Pflanzen, welche Herr Marcus Catesby im zweyten Theil, und im Anhang seines vortrefflichen Werks, der nat├╝rlichen Historie von Carolina, Florida und den Bahamischen Inseln, beschrieben. Nuremberg: Felsecker, 1777.

    Early German edition (originally published in Nuremberg in 1750). Folio (plates and sheets measure 19.625 x 13 inches [with the exception of the Magnolia plate LXI which measures 19 x 12.5 inches]). [iv], 100, 9 [Supplement], [2, Register (in German)], [6, Index Latinus] pages. With 109 full-page brightly hand-colored plates depicting fish, reptiles, insects, plants, and animals of the Carolinas, Florida, and the Bahama Islands. The plates are accompanied by parallel texts in Latin and German (the last nine text pages and nine hand-colored plates make up the Supplement).

    Eighteenth-century full mottled calf with morocco spine label. Color patterned endpapers appear to be hand painted, or at least finished by hand, edges stained or colored by hand. Expertly rebacked, probably in the nineteenth century, with the original spine laid down (morocco lettering label appears more modern). Binding rubbed and bumped, with light wear along the joints, especially at the foot of the spine. Several plates with minor edge tears (many with old repairs) and dampstains at the edges of the plates, or at the corner (none of which affects the image area of the plates). Two repairs are more major, being Plate LIII with a repaired eight-inch tear from the bottom edge up into the plate (a portion of the repair is with tan paper that shows on the front of the plate just up until the caption under the image). The adjacent text, page 53 (leaf D2) has a repaired thirteen-inch tear that touches some text (picture available on the item page for this lot at The Magnolia plate LXI (supplied from a different edition, with plate numbers and caption that do not match) has been repaired, and measures 19 x 12.5 inches. Three straight strips of mending tape on the back, one that runs the entire width of the plate, the other two run the entire length, presumably repairing earlier splits. Small ink stamp and small ink signature to title. Occasional light foxing and soiling. Despite these flaws, still an excellent copy with wonderful hand-colored plates, in very good condition.

    Mark Catesby (1682-1749) published the first color plate book featuring North America, which was praised by Jefferson, Laurens, and others, (Carolus Linnaeus included much of Catesby's information in preparing the tenth edition of his Systema Naturae published in 1758). It was originally published as Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands between 1731 and 1743, with 220 plates of birds, reptiles and amphibians, fish, insects, and mammals. Catesby was the first to include folio-sized hand-colored plates in Natural History books, about a century earlier than Audubon's Birds of America.

    "Catesby, after having lived in Virginia, from 1712 to 1719, principally engaged in the study of its natural history, returned to England, when he was introduced to Dr. Shepard and others, then undertook another voyage to America, for the express purpose of collecting and describing its natural productions. The fruit of his voyage was [the] Natural History of Carolina. It does great honor to him and his native country, and is perhaps the most curious and elegant performance of its kind that has appeared anywhere in Europe" (Peter Collinson, quoted in Sabin 11508-9).

    "The most famous color-plate book of American plant and animal life, and a fundamental and original work for the study of American species" (Hunt).

    "Instead of perpetuating the previous stiff, profile manner of presentation, Catesby devised the method of mingling plants and animals in logical groupings, most often with accuracy and with proportional scale between figure and plant. He did his utmost to convey something of the particular habits or movements of each species. Simple though they are, he infused his compositions with a sense of movement and vitality not usual prior to his work" (Norelli).

    Sabin 11516.

    Auction Info

    Auction Dates
    October, 2010
    14th-16th Thursday-Saturday
    Bids + Registered Phone Bidders: 1
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