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Bird, Art, American, Catesby, Ducks, Seligmann Edition, Antique Prints, 1770s


Mark Catesby (1679-1749) (after)
Johann Michael Seligmann (1720-1762) (editor and engraver)
Johann Sebastian Leitner (1715-1795) (engraver)
Canard d’Ete Tab. CXIIII [Summer Duck]
Canard de Bahama Tab. LXXXVI [Bahama Duck]
from Recueil de divers Oiseaux étrangers et peu communs, qui se trouvent dans les ouvrages de MM Edwards et Catesby
[Collection of Various Foreign and Little-Known Birds, which are found in the works of Messieurs Edwards and Catesby]

Nuremberg: 1770-73
Hand colored engravings
10 x 14 inches, overall
8.5 x 11.25 inches, plate mark
$800, the pair

Pair of prints of ducks from Johann Michael Seligmann’s edition of Mark Catesby’s The Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands (1729-1747).Catesby’s important work was the first comprehensive publication on the natural history of the New World, and it influenced both Audubon and Linnaeus among others. The original work contained 220 fine hand-colored, folio size plates after his natural history paintings, many of which he etched himself, together with descriptions in English and French. Almost half the pictures depicted birds, the rest portrayed various animals and plants. Later in the 18th century, Seligmann re-engraved Catesby’s original folio-size work as well as plates by George Edwards (1694-1773), incorporating them into a nine-volume set in a smaller format. These two prints are from that work. The Summer Duck is considered among the most desirable Catesby images.

Product Description Continues Below


Mark Catesby, a British scientist and illustrator, trained as a botanist. Beginning in 1712, he spent seven years in Virginia, amassing collections of plant and animal specimens which he shipped back to wealthy patrons in England. With their encouragement, he undertook his Natural History, returning to North America for an extended stay in 1722 as well as learning etching so he could control the quality of the final product. His depictions of birds, which comprise 109 of the 220 illustrations, contributed to the development of ornithological illustration due to several innovative qualities: their naturalism, the use of foliage backgrounds and the folio format.

Johann Sebastian Leitner was a Nuremberg engraver, who engraved the works of Georg Knorr, George Edwards and others.

Johann Michael Seligmann was an engraver and art dealer in Nuremberg, Germany, a major 18th-century center for art publishing. He studied with the Preisslers, visited Rome and St. Petersburg, and on returning to Nuremberg engraved many plates for botanical and anatomical books. He also engraved and published works by other prominent natural history artists, including Mark Catesby, George Edwards and Georg Dionysus Ehret.

Condition: Generally very good, with only minor toning and wear. Original colors rich and vibrant.


Redgrave, Samuel. A Dictionary of Artists of the English School: Painters, Sculptors, Architects, Engravers and Ornamentists. London: Longmans, Green, and Col., 1874. p. 134. (Edwards)

Stewart, Doug. “Abstract of an Article on Mark Catesby” Smithsonian Magazine. September 1997. (25 June 2004).

The Library of H. Bradley Martin: Magnificent Color-Plate Ornithology. New York: Sotheby’s, 1989. pl. 65.

Williamson, George C., ed. Bryan’s Dictionary of Painters and Engravers. London: G. Bell and Sons: 1930. Vol. 3, p. 204. (Leitner) Vol. 5, p. 65. (Seligmann).

Additional information


18th C. Birds