Browse our collection of Mark Catesby birds!  The antique hand colored engravings come from the Dr. Seligmann German and French editions which from 1748-1776;

Mark Catesby Birds! Antique Hand Colored Copper Plate Engravings.

Mark Catesby Birds.  Here are Mark Catesby water birds. This famous work is on North American species of birds and the foliage they were found with. Too poor to have a separate illustration for the bird from the foliage, is now classic. Catesby was in the Carolinas, Virginia, Florida and the Bahamas in the 1730’s. The Seligmann Edition was published from 1771-1776 in Amsterdam. Stunning water colored copper plate engravings on rag. Each old print measures about 10 1/4 x 17″ though there are a few that are 9 1/2 x 15 1/2″  See my Carolina Parakeet!

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It was a laborious craft of all those involved in producing something like these antique Mark Catesby bird engravings. First Catesby had to travel, find and identify the species. Second the illustrations had to be meticulously drawn, with the best accuracy. LATER The image would be transferred onto a copper plate and engraved with burins. The paper was hard to acquire, and the engraver would have to re engrave another plate after just 300 strikes. The water colorists would die at young ages, due to licking tips of their paint brushes. Yet these old prints still exist in super fine condition and exemplary condition. That is mostly due to the quality of the rag paper. Paper was made of rag right up through the turn of the 20th Century. Coming from linen, flax, etc, NOT TREES, there was no acid in the paper. Very expensive to acquire, inconsistent, etc.

View the amazing work by Maria Sybilla Merian and her exquisite depictions of insect transformations.

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