Book launch to rediscover naturalist

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Latest community news from the Suffolk Free Press, suffolkfreepress.co.uk, @sfpsudbury on Twitter

The link between Sudbury and the New World colonies of America was strengthened recently by the launch at Gainsborough’s House of a new comprehensive study on one of Sudbury’s most impressive sons.

Mark Catesby wrote and illustrated the first natural history of North America.

The son of a 17th century mayor of Sudbury, he grew up in the town sailing for Virginia in 1712.

David Elliott, executive director of the Catesby Commemorative Trust based in Charleston, South Carolina, presented a leather-bound copy of The Curious Mister Catesby to Mark Bills, director of Gainsborough’s House.

“It is a great privilege to have the launch here,” said Mr Bills, who described the study as “a comprehensive and most splendid book”.

A presentation copy dedicated to the Queen has been given to the Royal Library at Windsor which houses Catesby’s original water colours of the New World, originally used to illustrate his Natural History of Carolina, Florida and the Bahama Islands.

In 2013 Gainsborough’s House staged an exhibition of Catesby’s work from the Royal Library.

Among those at the Gainsborough’s House launch was Mrs Jane Waring, president of the Commemorative Trust, its English patron Sir Ghillean Prance, a former director of Kew Gardens, and Charles Nelson who co-edited the study with David Elliott.

Mayor Jack Owen, who welcomed everyone to the launch, has a special link with Catesby - living on Catesby Meadow named in the naturalist’s honour.

Sudbury’s strongest link with the early colonies is its namesake Sudbury, Massachusetts, named by 17th century settlers from Sudbury