Johann Michael Seligmann, after Mark Catesby. Plate 66. [Eastern Meadowlark]. From Sammlung verschiedener auslandischer und seltener Vogel...
Nurnberg, 1749-76. 11 ½ x 8 ¼ (platemark). Etching, with original hand coloring. Very good condition. With original text page. A/A
Seligmann, a German publisher, issued a nine volume compilation of the work of the Englishmen Mark Catesby (1683-1749) and George Edwards (1694-1773). Catesby has been called the “Founder of American Ornithology” because of his monumental Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands (London, 1731-43), the first natural history of American flora and fauna. This work included 220 prints which for the first time systematically illustrated American birds, animals and plants. Edwards was, like Catesby, one of the pioneers of natural history documentation and is known as the “Father of British Ornithology.” His marvelous A Natural History of Birds (London: 1743-51) was produced almost single-handedly: Edwards not only wrote the text for the book but also made the drawings, etched the plates and hand colored the prints to be bound in each volume.
Seligmann began issuing his ambitious series just a few years after Edwards and Catesby each published their landmark works; the text was translated into German by Georg Leonhard Huth, and Seligmann produced all new plates based on the images of the two Englishmen. In bringing these masterworks to the continental audience, Seligmann has earned himself a rightful place in natural history circles, and his charming prints, reflecting well on their sources, stand on their own as another respected source for 18th-century natural history documentation.