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Catesby Engraving - "Little Brown Bean Snake" - 1771

Mark Catesby (British, 1683-1749), "Little Brown Bean Snake", a hand colored, original, copper plate engraving on fine laid paper, from "The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands"; printed in London for Benjamin White, 1771 (Third Edition). A beautiful and scientifically accurate original engraving of a long, slender snake spiraling around a bean plant from Catesby's "The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands" - one of the most famous color-plate books illustrating American plant and animal life forms, an original work for the study of various American species. This is an important work on paper from the most impressive illustrated study of natural history created during the colonial period of America. Indeed many regard Catesby's work as the most significant work of American natural history prior to Audubon's "Birds of America"! Size: sheet measures 19.5" L x 13.375" W (49.5 cm x 34 cm); 23" L x 17.5" W (58.4 cm x 44.4 cm) on mat

Catesby trained as a botanist, and in 1712 traveled to Virginia where he resided for seven years, all the while sending collections of seeds and plants to London. Encouraged by Sir Hans Sloane and other experts, Catesby returned to America in 1722 where he travelled extensively throughout the Carolinas, Georgia, Florida, and the Bahamas, gathering specimens for his "Natural History". In the preface of his book, Catesby describes his process, including his important decision to study with Joseph Groupy so that he could learn how to engrave his plates in order to guarantee accuracy.

Condition: Expected toning and areas of foxing commensurate with age. A tear to the edge of lower right margin. A small loss to the edge of lower margin. Good plate mark. Sides of mat are torn. Engraving is attached to mat. Hand-written gallery notes in margins and on mat.

Provenance: private Lucille Lucas collection, Crested Butte, Colorado, USA

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