image catesbyrs17
Image number: RS.10466
Credit: © The Royal Society
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The 'larger red-crested wood-pecker' and the 'live oak'

Date

1731

Creator

Mark Catesby (1683-1749, British), Naturalist

Object type

Material

Technique

Dimensions

height (print): 350mm
width (print): 255mm

Subject

Biology
   > Zoology
      > Ornithology
Biology
   > Natural history
Biology
   > Botany

Content object

nature
   > animal
      > bird
nature
   > plant

Description

Picus niger maximus capite rubro’, the larger red-crested wood-pecker, perched on the trunk of ‘Quercus sempervivens foliis oblongis non sinuatis’, the live oak (Catesby’s identifications; modern scientific names: Dryocopus pileatus, the pileated woodpecker; Quercus virginiana, the live oak).

Plate 17 from volume I of The natural history of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands, by Mark Catesby (London, 1731).

Mark Catesby was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1733.

Object history

Travelling under the auspices of the Royal Society, the English naturalist Mark Catesby (1683-1749) recorded the earliest scientific descriptions of the flora and fauna of the New World. He was the first naturalist to use folio-sized colour plates in a natural history book, and etched the copper plates himself before hand-colouring each individual print with watercolours. Volume I of his monumental Natural History appeared in 1731, leading to Catesby’s election to the Fellowship of the Royal Society two years later.

Associated place