Thomas Pennant

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Thomas Pennant
ca. 1760
Watercolor and opaque watercolor, with gum arabic glazes, over graphite, on paper.
10 3/8 x 14 3/4 inches (265 x 373 mm)
Gift of Henry S. Morgan.

This study of an eel is one of fourteen drawings and one colored proof engraving removed from Mark Catesby's "The Natural History of Carolina, Florida, and the Bahama Islands..." 2 vol., London, 1731- 1743 (PML 45708-45709). Henrietta Ryan of the Royal Collection Trust at Windsor expressed doubt about the attribution of the sheet to Catesby suggesting that it more likely was the work of David Pennant, who had copied Catesby's work (departmental correspondence, 14 August 1996). The eel in the drawing corresponds precisely with an engraving of the same creature, in reverse, on a plate in the third volume of Thomas Pennant's "British Zoology," a substantively illustrated tome depicting the birds and animals of Britain which was published in 1761.


Watermark: VILLEDARY and HIS with cross, fragment. Watermark, beta radiograph. Villedary, HIS, cross.

Jekyll Catesby; Thomas Pennant; David Pennant; Henry S. Morgan.
Associated names: 

Catesby, Jekyll, former owner.
Pennant, Thomas, 1726-1798, former owner.
Pennant, David, -1841, former owner.
Morgan, Henry S. (Henry Sturgis), 1900-1982, former owner.