At Full Blast into the New Year
An Administration Romps
1795 London 1880
With Smoking Axles
drawn by Blood-Thirsty Mastiff
The driver a monkey dressed as human. Etching. (1827/28.) Inscribed: Tho Landseer, otherwise as below. 6¼ × 7⅞ in (16 × 20.1 cm).
Rümann, Das Illustrierte Buch des 19. Jahrhunderts, Leipsic 1930, pp. 99 ff.; Nagler 1; Thieme-Becker XXII, 305. – On especially wide-margined strong paper. – Almost only in the right white outer margin quite weak foxing. – With distich from Thomas Moore’s (1779-1852, “Ireland’s National Bard”) Tom Crib’s Memorial to Congress published 1819 under the pseudonym By one of the Fancy:
“ Ya – hip my haerties!
here am I .
That drive the Constitution Fly. ”
(“The legally trained mind now and then impairing Moore’s lyric poetry celebrates its biggest triumphs in satiric, frequently political poems referring to current events” aimed especially at the Tories “with the caustic wit peculiar to him” [Meyers Konversations-Lexikon, 4th ed., XI, 1889, p. 787]. His Tom Crib’s … within the Moore volume V of the series British Satire 1785-1840 at Pickering & Chatta, London 2003.)
Fine impression on large paper from the famous set of the “Monkeyana”, one of the but few early and thus typical works by Landseer of in Germany after 180 years
outrageous tax-raising raving topicality
“ … under the system of the folks of the (joint) left ”.
“ That Thomas Landseer may be judged
only by such illustrations
a little book with woodcuts proves which show next to nothing of his intellect ” .
Worked since 1827 the 25 etchings incl. title were published in numbers and with classical captions at Moon, Boys & Graves in London till 1828 (The English Catalogue of Books: January to December) in three editions: standard edition in quarto, edition on larger paper in large quarto, edition with proofs in large quarto, too. Besides copies on mounted China.
Otherwise qualified by Rümann i. a.:
“ Much more important was Edwin’s brother Thomas Landseer … in the ’20s he distinguished himself by a series of 25 plates that were published 1828 under the title of ‘Monkeyana’ … Technically his etchings are masterly, not less
admirable the intellectual grasp of the subject .
With … sharp observation he transfers the plain life of his time to the monkey’s life. His sarcasm is biting, almost vicious. ”
And Stechow sovereignly sums up :
“ Monkeys always fascinated artists ”
(Pieter Bruegel, Cologne 1977, page 76).
“ The monkey as the animal most similar to man plays an important rôle in art history since antiquity.
As figura diaboli ,
as symbol of sin and the fall of man ,
as fool , as figure of vanity
he appears in most varied context … (A)lso the usual religious reference in the interpretation of the monkey as
man mixed up in his passion
for profane things … ”
(Hella Robels, Frans Snyders, Munich 1989, page 43).
Later Thomas Landseer rather devoted himself largely to the reproduction of the animal depictions by his brother Sir Edwin.
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Who, however, prefers to stay in creative curiosity at the heels of life’s mixture with its impending hotter spice, he will find the monkey again just twenty years later in the aftermath of the German revolution of 1848 with a forester rather unsuspicious of any actionism, who by letter of February 28, 1849, to the editor of his Weekly (see below) in case
“ … under the system of the folks of the (joint) left
… it has derived no advantage by this lion’s division (of the coalition government) …
the municipal debts and encumbrances (grew) terrifyingly .
Since March daily 20 to 40 masters have let themselves been struck off the trade tax roll, and who formerly kept 10 journeymen now works alone. The number of construction workers has dropped by a half … Twenty craftsmen and artists were in the National Assembly, 27 businessmen and factory owners and – 121 jurists
who don’t know anything about business life ! ”
drove it home to the Berlin administration :
“ … since long I had heard and seen with grief
how one fools the people like a bear
to have monkeys dance on its neck and head
… and to practice it on command … . ”
So as I then on just calendar command wish you all the best for the turn of the year and especially Good Luck! for the tax sledgings, means health and that inner calm which is so much ahead of the monkeyshine in the steering box. In other words:
refreshing inspired hours in and with your collection .
lüder hainfried niemeyer
book and art antiquary
(Weekly, Common, for the Royal Prussian Presidential Districts Aschersleben , Calbe , Mansfeld and the adjoining Ducal Anhalt. countries.) Vol. XXXI. Ed. by C(arl) F(riedrich) Haller. Aschersleben, Haller Brothers, 1849. Sm. 4to. 412 (of 422) pp. Marbled contemp. boards with red back-plate. Paled green edges.
The 1849 volume as due to the editorial contributions + letters to the editor still important for the
1848 March – Revolution
of this, though to be paid for, forerunner of the advertisement weeklies of today, here in the original Wednesday issue, which in respect of the good success had been complemented by a Saturday issue since fall 1848.
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And should now for 2007 for the never waning realization of the nasty New Year’s trick served to you an – about – monthly changing, here, however, quite charming representative of the above guild be only too welcome, the 300-year-old past master of animal depiction Johann Elias Ridinger offers his service the more eagerly as by his set of the “Fights of Killing Animals” he jointly with Hamburg’s poet-senator Brockes threw an oriflamme for freedom and humanity at the concerned political heads of all times as designedly overlooked by his consensus exegetes. Oculi , here they’re coming :
Ten Plates Monkeys
or Animals yet related to them …
Set of 10 plates. Etchings with engraving after copies at third-hand (i. a. after the London physician Sir Hans Sloane, 1660-1753) and drawings by himself. 12½-12⅝ × 8¼-8½ in (31.6-32.2 × 21.1-21.7 cm).
Thienemann + Schwarz 541-550; Weigel 28 A/B; Silesian Ridinger collection at Boerner XXXIX, 1896 ( “Rare”, 1885 ! ); Coppenrath II, 1555 ( Rare, 1889! ); Reich auf Biehla 136; Gg. Hamminger 1667 ( “Rare sheets”, but only four of these!, 1895! ); Helbing XXXIV, 1155; Schwerdt III, 141, f.; Gräflich Faber-Castell 58 ( only 7!, one trimmed to platemark, 1958 ); Ridinger Catalogue Darmstadt, 1999, III.14-III.16 with two ills. – Published without title with the “Designation to be colored and to follow Ridinger’s great work”,
for the 1st edition – as here – generally only black impressions stand .
Only later, so Thienemann continues, for the purpose of coloring the plates were “reduced, and included somewhat modified (also partly with respect to the text) with the colored plates”. This then certainly by the sons Martin Elias + Johann Jacob who concluded the Colored Animal Kingdom not completed by the father anymore about 1768. Nevertheless also of this 2nd edition as separate, independent suite colored copies remained widely unknown and are not mentioned by Weigel either (28, A-E). Yet one and only one was traded here in 1972.
Present copy furnished with all characteristics of the first issue as described by Thienemann and Schwarz, but only partly corresponding in this connection with Weigel. Criteria for first impressions are for the latter the single-lined caption in German-French as well as the missing “of the enclosing line at both sides and … the arched one at top. Originally these impressions seem to have been determined for the Original Animal Work.” The second impressions then were “furnished with the enclosing lines and modified captions as well as numbers”.
Analogous to Thienemann + Schwarz also here only plate 1 has a 3-lined caption, plates 2-10 the single-lined one as a Weigel criterion for the first impressions. All plates with enclosing line + number as according to Weigel criteria of the second impressions. Since descriptions of other copies do not comment on this – only Schwerdt III, 141, f notes the numbering for his copy from the Earl of Fife collection – it therefore needs further comparing research in this case, too.
For the chronological sequence of the (colored) plates of the late years apart from the variations already discussed above the present copy of the Monkeys also grants an interesting conclusion with respect to the paper. Aside from sheet 3 limited to just the lines as watermark all others bear, accompanied by known large armorial mark, the typographic WANGEN mark including “FAI” (known also “FIAT”) on preceding own line, with a lower “v” within the “A”. The paper itself in its weight varying from heavy to perceptibly lighter in the direction of the fine Dutch laid paper. Bearing in mind the remark Ridinger still himself made on the paper ( “because of the fine illumination done on Dutch paper as for this it is the most decent and best one” ) in the preface to the Principal Colors of Horses published 1770 posthumously, present Monkeys prove by the paper, too, as being the first in publication. For already here Ridinger visibly made every effort to get a paper as fine as possible as the WANGEN mill, however, obviously could produce up to a certain lightness only. So that for Animal Kingdom and Principal Colors of Horses he switched over to Dutch paper by C & I HONIG.
With gilt head edge suggesting the once belonging to an unmounted album, quality of impression and preservation are almost best, with 17⅛ × 11⅜ in (43.5 × 29 cm) the sheet size goes beyond that of the Earl of Fife with Schwerdt with just 16⅜ × 11 in (41.5 × 28 cm). Thus 3.5-4 cm laterally, 3-5 above + 7-8 below. Only plate 1 with two longer backed margin tears, the upper one of which touching the white platemark, and slightly age-smudgy especially in the lower margin. Otherwise generally in the outmost lower margin and in the right lower corner slightly finger-stained. The heading of the 4th plate “CEBVS” inclusive of, partly, lateral and top edge a little weak in print. Small brown spot in the branchwork of the 6th plate.
The set – etched after supposedly Jakob Jele (southern Germany 2nd h. of the 16th century), Karl Wilhelm de Hamilton (Brussels 1668 – Augsburg 1754), Lazarus Röting (1549-1614), Sir Hans Sloane (1660-1753), London, as well as after own design – belongs to the rarest of the master’s. Through decades it was missing in the most comprehensive of current collections, which could add it only in recent years by the partial purchase here of the legendary Marjoribanks Folios of Baron von Gutmann. But also the only 7-sheet copy of the huge collection of counts Faber-Castell could not be completed until its dissolution in 1958. And already in the 1889 Coppenrath sale it was classified as “rare”. The “Barbate Long-tailed or Green Monkey” present there with the remainder of 67 (sic!) copies (nos. 1555/56), however! Of which already at Helbing in 1900 nothing more was to be found anymore! Not one individual sheet figured in his 1554-lot Ridinger catalogue XXXIV of that year, and also the complete set in one single copy only. Both in general contrast to other suites and their plates.
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But also the Fable is spiced up by them
By his fables published about 1744 and (the rarest sheets 17-20 transferred into copper by the eldest, Martin Elias, 1731-1780) after 1767 in the format of c. 13¼ × 9⅞-10¼ in (33.5 × 25-26 cm) in the mixed technique of etching + engraving
“ Ridinger pursued a typical purpose of his epoch. A ‘Correction of Manners’ by the morale efficacy of art – albeit in a quite different manner – William Hogarth, almost of the same age as Ridinger, had attempted by his paintings and prints … Yet while Hogarth and Chodowiecki tried to gain recognition for their (identical) ideas by satirical sets, as A Rake’s Progress, 1735 … Ridinger built on the – especially suitable to him (that is, so he himself, ‘since the hoary times of the ancient ages’) – tradition of the animal fable ”
(Stefan Morét, Ridinger Catalog Darmstadt, 1999, page 96).
Beyond that at the same time also, creating a new image type, leaving behind once more tradition and field. For, so Ulrike Bodemann in Metzner-Raabe, (Illustr. Fabelbuch, 1998, vol. II, 123.I)
“ No similarities to fable illustrations known hitherto .
Enormous image sizes are filled almost entirely by the representation of a central factor of the fable tale. Surroundings mostly dense, natural wood .”
And Regine Timm, ibid., vol. I, p. 171 :
“ In his large plates Ridinger … sometimes has included vegetable growth or rocks, too, dominantly in his illustrations indeed, but without decorative intention. The plants and rocks mean the thicket, the deserted loneliness of the forest, in which the strange tales among the animals happen. ”
The great intellectual relationship with the already mentioned Hogarth by the way also unmistakably expressed in Garrick’s epitaph for this:
“ Whose pictured Morals charm the Mind ,
And through the Eye correct the Heart.”
Chronologically interesting in this connection that on the other side of the channel in 1726 John Gay, famous-notorious for his “Beggars Opera” (Brecht, Threepenny Opera!), had presented by his Fables “the most important achieved hitherto by English poets in this kind” (Meyers, ibid., vol. VI, p. 960/II).
Ridinger’s general fable image then also a highly momentous milestone within the “basic corpus of about 900 editions of illustrated fable books” up to Chagall’s Lafontaine folio with its 100 etchings worked 200 years later as downright a glaring light for the immortality of the fable illustration. Here then Ridinger’s fabulous fable monkeys :
And points with the Fingers at him
The Mindless Age becomes Contemptuous by Childish Expression. Elected for his large beard by the animals
as their representative the billy-goat
behaves himself so foppish over this that he “provokes partly guffaw, partly annoyance. This the artist shows excellently. The badger is rolling with laughter, the stag, the horse, the fox laugh scornfully, the tiger, the striped hyena, and the lynx
in earnest become aware of the foolishness of their choice and revoke it .
The monkey though points his fingers at him” (Th.). – Th. 773. – Plate 9 of the set.
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But the Tom-Cat forgets himself
– and has to die later
Malicious Flattery is finally disclosed and defeated. Two dogs, a little monkey, tom-cat, and parrot populate the room of a rich idler. Then to the dismay of the others the tom-cat forgets himself and cajoles the plumage of the parrot. Later the tom-cat has to die. – Thienemann 776. – Plate 12 of the set.
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A Monkey poses as the Throneworthy
and all are content with it …
Splendour and Grandeur makes no one Brighter. A monkey poses as the throneworthy and stag, horse, billy-goat, bear, wolf, hare, Ridinger-hound, and other honest mammals are content with it. But the cunning fox lets the tom-cat become the seducer and the monkey “quite ridiculous to all”.
Thienemann 777. – Plate 13 of the set. – “… determined to crown a monkey who usurped the throne, adored himself with golden chain and splendid blankets … But the cunning fox foils the foolish undertaking by instructing the tom-cat to fetch a neat basket, filled with the most tempting fruit, and carry it to the steps of the throne. As soon as the … monkey catches sight (of these) he forgets himself (and) tumbles down … ”. Then thus. Then and in the naturally wise Animal Kingdom it therefore needed just a couple of fruit. These days, however, and, it is true, in the human field, even a scandalous value added tax raise is much clamored at first, but just in time for the day which flatly throne-savingly consensuated away. “A very well-done plate” vicar Thienemann judged 1856.
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What “ deserves Reasonable People’s Contempt ”
Foolish Conceit about Foreign Beauties deserves reasonable People’s Contempt. Zebra, monkey, and parrot travel in a country of which they suppose that foreign things were highly estimated there. Accordingly they boast themselves in view of horse, cow, and sheep. And see themselves confronted with reasonable opinions. – Thienemann 783. – Plate 19 of the set, designated by Ridinger on occasion of the preparatory drawing (black chalk; Weigel, 1869, no. 384) as “Fabel 29.” – The third of the four rarest plates of the set worked by Martin Elias.
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“ I purchased this set (Leonardo’s Anatomical Studies) from you at the beginning of this year (recte already in 2011). The books are one of my prized possessions … and thank you again for being a part of this special section of my library … ”
(Mr. M. W., December 19, 2012)