John Abbott (1751-1840) pursued his love for natural science rather than follow his father into law. He was artistically educated in England under the engraver Jacob Bonneau and established a reputation of sufficient quality that two patrons sponsored his voyage to America at the start of the revolutionary war.
He settled in Georgia and was commissioned by a property owner to paint a series of watercolours of butterflies, moths, pupae and caterpillars from the local environs. The 147 paintings from which these examples here were selected have a complex history. They were relied upon as source material, copied outright or formed the core basis for a number of natural history books. Although only one publication bearing Abbott's name was ever released, it is believed that he produced some 5000 watercolour images of natural science subjects in his life.
- The University of South Carolina have digitized all the John Abbott paintings from the original Le Conte commission, with high resolution images available.
- The Morris Museum of Art have a small collection of Abbott's bird paintings.
- Addition: see later post - Georgia Insects.