Amy Hackney Blackwell, Christopher W. Blackwell. Botanica Caroliniana: Collaborative Research in the Liberal Arts. Furman University Department of Classics. Revision Date: 10-06-2012. Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Mark Catesby, artist and writer, was one of the first European scientists to study the plants and animals of the Carolinas. His travels through South Carolina between 1722 and 1725 were the basis of his magnum opus, the Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands. This publication, for which Catesby created both the text and the color plates, got him elected a fellow of the Royal Society in 1733 and has ever since been a favorite of South Carolina natural history fans.
Catesby left behind a vast body of primary source material in the form of plant specimens that he collected in the Carolinas and sent to England, where they still reside in herbaria in London and Oxford. These specimens are beautiful in themselves, and also have tremendous scientific value as a historic record of plants growing in the region in the 1720s. We have photographed all of Catesby’s plant collections housed in the Sloane Herbarium in the Natural History Museum, London and posted them online under a Creative Commons license, so that for the first time Catesby’s dried specimens can be examined in great detail from anywhere.
On this page, we have displayed images of specimens from Mark Catesby’s Sloane Herbarium volumes (H.S. 212 and H.S. 232) with corresponding plates and text pages from his Natural History. Click on the images to zoom them. We have transcribed Catesby’s decriptions of plants from the Natural History and from his handwritten notes that accompany some specimens, and in a few places have added our own comments. For the most part we have remained silent and allowed Catesby’s specimens, paintings, and text to speak for themselves.
Catesby was both scientist and artist. He used his art to depict a new world of organisms, and with it won the hearts and minds of a vast audience stretching over centuries. Our photography and webpage show how Catesby’s work can continue to reach modern audiences through the use of new technologies.
All determinations of the herbarium specimens have been verified by Patrick D. McMillan, School of Agriculture, Forestry and the Environment, Clemson University. The images from Catesby’s Hortus Siccus have been automatically processed to correct perspective and maintain the relative proportions of images across the page. This process is the work of Ryan Baumann of the University of Kentucky’s Center for Visualization and Virtual Environments.
All content on this site is licensed under a Creative Commons License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/). Full- and reduced-resolution images are available for download here.
( Each page image is linked to a dynamic view of the full-resolution image. )