The Summer Duck, ca. 1722–1726, by Mark Catesby (British, 1682–1749); watercolor and bodycolor heightened with gum arabic, over traces of pencil; Royal Collection Trust/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017
In 1722, Mark Catesby traveled from Britain to South Carolina and beyond, spending four years documenting wildlife indigenous to the colonies. In addition to being a scientist, Catesby was a skilled artist; he painted a series of watercolors resulting in the first major illustrated work of botanical and animal life in North America, The Natural History of the Carolinas, Florida and the Bahama Islands.
Catesby's watercolors have been housed in the climate controlled Print Room at Windsor Castle as part of the Royal Collection
, and now, nearly three centuries since their creation, 44 of these original watercolors (35 of which are traveling to the U.S. for the first time) will cross the pond to the Lowcountry, to be displayed at The Gibbes in a spring exhibit, Artist, Scientist, Explorer: Mark Catesby in the Carolinas.
Director of the Royal Collection John Marsden says that, "On behalf of her Majesty the Queen we are delighted to share this selection of Catesby's most treasured watercolors with the Charleston community." The show runs May 12- Sept. 24, 2017.