Mark Catesby was a British naturalist who in 1722 was sent by the London Royal Society to explore the southeastern American colonies, specifically the Lowcountry of South Carolina, and the Bahamas. He spent four years travelling through the region and documenting flora and fauna, and spent the subsequent twenty years compiling his writings and illustrations into a thorough two volume book, Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands. Catesby’s tome was the first published, and fully illustrated, natural history of North America. (The volume included over 200 beautifully illustrated plates, all done in Catesby’s hand.)
This November marks the tercentennial of Catesby’s exploration and the Catesby Commemorative Trust plans on celebrating in a very special way. From November 4-9, a symposium will be held in which experts from America and Europe will discuss Catesby’s influences, drawings, science, and impact on natural history. In addition to these meaningful discussions, participants will be treated to a tour of places visited by Catesby and have the chance to view some of his beautiful etchings. The six-day, three-city symposium will take place in Richmond, VA, Washington, D.C., and Charleston, South Carolina. Catesby’s Natural History will be on display in all three cities: in Richmond at the Wilton House, in D.C. at the Natural History Museum, and in Charleston at the Charleston Library Society. Please note that one does not have to participate in the entire event, but can purchase single day/event tickets.
Here’s a detailed schedule of events and here is a link to purchase tickets. More information about Mark Catesby, the tercentennial, and the Catesby Commemorative Trust can be found on the trust’s website at http://www.catesbytrust.org. You can also get up to date information on the Tercentennial’s Facebook page.
It sounds like an amazing program!