Visit to the Natural History Museum

From Collection to Publication: Plant and Animal Material in the Sloane Collections and the Creation of Natural History Books

15 June 2017

The Making Visible team visited the Sloane collection at the Natural History Museum to learn a little about the infinite riches of the collection, with grateful thanks to Henrietta McBurney, whose expertise on Mark Catesby and Everard Kickius offered us an excellent entry into our thinking about how to work with image-text-object in interesting ways. We were fortunate that Leslie Overstreet from the Smithsonian was available to share with us her expertise on Catesby’s publication also. Further thanks go to Mark Carine, Vicky Pickering, Andreia Salvador and Oliver Crimmen.

Sloane and ‘Jamaica’: naturalist vs artists

  • Collecting and preservation of plant specimens: Petiver broadsheet; equipment and techniques 
  • Sloane’s Jamaica herbarium: Sloane as collector/naturalist; Kickius as artist – imaging practices 
  • Sloane’s annotated copy of his natural history of Jamaica, 1707-1725: plates by professional engravers; Sloane as recorder 

Click on the arrows for more photos

Catesby and ‘Carolina’: artist-cum-naturalist

 Collecting, preserving, observing and drawing

  • Catesby’s letter to Peter Collinson: collecting in the field
  • Sloane’s MS catalogues: recording Catesby’s specimens
  • Catesby’s herbarium specimens 
  • Sloane’s vegetable substances collection: Catesby specimens and containers
  • Viperfish: preservation in spirits and jars; Catesby’s drawn and etched images
  • Shells; Catesby’s drawn and etched images

Click on the arrows for more photos

Making the book

  • Catesby’s Natural History of Carolina, 1731-1747: colouring of plates, publication in part

Click on the arrows for more photos