Ridinger, Genet

“ Sought  for  its  Soft  and  Beautifully  Spotted  Fur ”

(Encyclopedia Britannica, 11th ed. [1911])

Ridinger, Johann Elias (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). Genet Cat. Famous for its fur, attentively on flat rise before shrubbery to the left. Colored etching/engraving. Inscribed: COATI, GENITTA Hispanica. / Genith-Katze. / Le Chat d’Espagne. / Familia IV. Fünffzähige. / Ex Collection. D. Kleinii. / J. El. Ridinger fec. et excud. A.V. 12⅜ × 8¼ in (31.5 × 21.1 cm).

Thienemann (“The name Coati is not due to it, also it should not be called cat, for it … has nothing [so not correct, as viverrid it belongs to the feliforms] in common with the cat”) & Schwarz 1065.


from the unnumbered Colored Animal Kingdom created since 1754 and concluded finally posthumously not before 1773 (“Complete copies are next to untraceable”, so Weigel, Art Cat., part XXVIII, Ridinger Appendix 63a as merely 120-sheet torso, 1857 ! , but also just individual plates quite rarely on the market only, at niemeyer’s presently nevertheless the one as the others). – Remaining uncolored contrary to the prospectus, a second edition from the plates shortened even under loss of animals and with modified titling and the Ridinger inscription removed, yet now numbered, was published by Engelbrecht/Herzberg in Augsburg 1824/25.

Ridinger, Genet (detail)
Genet (detail)

“ … inhabits the countries of the Atlas Mountains, but is also found in Spain and Southern France, prefers humid, shrub-rich regions … Its coat provides sought after fur. Charles Martel (“Savior of the Christian-Germanic culture … [in the face of the] violent brunt of the Arabs in Spain and Aquitaine”, Meyers Konversations-Lexikon, 4th ed., IX [1889], 511) took many clothes furnished with this fur after the victory over the Saracens in 732 and

instituted  an  Order  of  the  Genet

whose  members  were  the  first  princes ”

(Meyers, op. cit., XVI [1890], 893/II per Civet Cat). – And Ridinger’s sons in addition in the preamble:

“ This animal … carries a sac behind, too, which is filled with a sweet-scented juice and perspires such … In the regular spots its coat surpasses still the aforementioned civet cat … and in its behavior it is similar to all the rest of the species of the cats. ”

Final state with the Familia line within the caption slightly moved up after the removal of the “Q. D. S. XXVIII.” as reference to Jacob Theodor Klein’s Quadrupedum dispositio brevisque Historia Naturalis of 1751 unbeknown to Thienemann.

With Klein (“Plinius Gedanensium”, Königsberg 1685 – Danzig 1759; town clerk in Danzig, later director of the Society of Naturalists Danzig co-founded by him, member of the Royal Society, London, and honorary member of the Russian Academy of Sciences in Saint Petersburg; ADB XVI, 92 ff.), famous for his collections, Ridinger was in close communication and supported in his Colored Animal Kingdom undertaking in many ways, too. Following Klein’s classification according to kind and number of extremities – superceded by Linné’s anatomical classification – the early states of some plates of the set still show references to his Quadrupedum dispositio brevisque Historia Naturalis of 1751, as known to Thienemann for some plates and documented here for several more by a complete copy available here. Ridinger himself emphasizes by the preface in his words of thanks “in particular the tremendously beautiful collection of P(rofessor). Klein

of the Ludolph estate , which comprises nothing but original items. ”

Watermarked Strasbourg fleur-de-lis above arms + C & I Honig (type Heawood 64/Churchill 428) as that sturdy Dutch quality paper Ridinger used in line with his preamble to the Principal Colors of Horses

“on  account  of  the  fine  illumination”  for  the  colored  works

“as for this purpose it is the most decent and best”. – Margins on three sides 1.8-3 cm, below 5.1 cm wide. – Some also a little larger brown spots in the white text field.

Offer no. 16,019 / EUR  490. / export price EUR  466. (c. US$ 539.) + shipping

Ridinger’s Colored Animal Kingdom in Original Coloring

available in

A Great Plenitude of Individual Plates


An Absolutely Exceptional Complete Provenance Copy

  1. “famous work which the merited naturalist Jacob Theodor Klein in Danzig published 1751 under the title: Quadrupedum Dispositio brevisque Historia Naturalis. Enlarged and revised, he had translated it into the German himself and his friend Gottfried Reyger published it 1760 under the title: J. Th. Klein’s Natural Order and Augmented History of the Quadruped Animals. Ridinger was in close communication with Klein, was supported by him in many ways in this (Animal Kingdom) undertaking and followed Klein’s system” (Th., p. 200)

“ Stumbled upon your excellent website while researching Ludwig Beckmann, and must say that I was most impressed. In any case, since you are the closest I know to an authority on antique German books and prints I am wondering if you could help me pinpoint the origin of a piece I have in my dachshund collection … ”

(Mr. & Mrs. J. L., August 14, 2008)


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