Credit: ©The Royal Society
    Image number: RS.18818

    Eastern gray squirrel

    Mark Catesby (1683 - 1749, British) , Naturalist
    Object type
    Library reference
    height (print): 265mm
    width (print): 355mm
    Zoological study of an Eastern gray squirrel, Sciurus carolinensis, referred to here as Sciurus Virginianus cinereus major, shown in left profile, between the stem and flowers [left] and root [right] of a Florida dollar orchid Prosthechea boothiana specimen.

    Signed and inscribed: 'Viscum Sciurus'

    Written in the associated description: 'These Squirrels are as large as an half grown Rabbit, the whole Structure of their Bodies and Limbs, thicker in Proportion, and of a grosser and more clumsy Make than our common Squirrels.'

    Plate 74 from volume II of Mark Catesby’s The natural history of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands (London, 1731).

    Mark Catesby (1683-1749), British naturalist was elected a Fellow of the Royal Society in 1733.
    Object history
    The Natural History was originally published in 10 parts, intended to be bound in 2 volumes. It was the earliest western scientific description of the flora and fauna of North America, and its copper plates were etched and hand-coloured by Catesby himself.

    Catesby’s trips to North America were funded by a group of sponsors, many of whom were colonial governors, charged with managing the British Empire’s territories, and their support of Catesby’s research can be read as an exercise in colonial control. As The Natural History’s parts were issued it also became important as a reference text to naturalists attempting to order the natural world according to the ambitious taxonomic systems that characterized the mid-18th century.
    Associated place
    <The World>
       > North America
          > United States
    <The World>
       > North America
          > Bahamas
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