Johann Elias Ridinger, Rhinoceros (lying)

Johann Elias Ridinger (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). Asiatic Rhinoceros. Before reed and tree scenery sprawled to the left. Colored etching & engraving. Inscribed: RHINOCEROS. / Nasehorn. / Rhinocerot. / Familia III. Dreÿhufige. / Joh. El. Ridinger fec. et exc. A. V. 12⅜ × 8¼ in (31.4 × 21.1 cm).

Thienemann & Schwarz 1028. – IN  THE  RIDINGERS’  ORIGINAL  COLORING  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.

With watermark C & I Honig below supposedly crowned fleur-de-lis arms 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 2-2.7 cm, below 4.7 cm wide. – The far left paper edge with tiny/little brown spots hardly worth mentioning, otherwise perfect.

Depicted  the  rare  Indian  one-horned  rhinoceros  “Maid Clara”

(Rhinoceros indicus Cuv. / R. unicornis L.), which Douwe Mout van der Me(e)r, master of the Knapenhoff of the East India Company, had brought from Asia to Holland in 1741 and shown in Europe until her death in 1758 (so Morét in Catalog Darmstadt; Rieke-Müller in [The XVIIIth Cent.] “About 1741/48”).

At her presentation May/June “At Augspurg seen alive … (and) drawn in (6) different positions from life” and added hot off the press as first scientific portrayal of the rhinoceros and therefore a milestone of zoological knowledge to his Representation of the Most Wondrous Deer as well as Other Particular Animals published in numbers (Th. 295; cf. nos. 50-55 of the Ridinger appendix of the catalog of the bequeathed drawings of 1869),

“ Ridinger  now  countered  by  his  rhinoceros  the  one  by  Dürer

by  a  rendering  of  greater  natural  truth

drawn  from  life  and  adequate  to  the  scientific  standards  of  his  time ”


Two further Clara drawings were used – but now in color – for his Colored Animal Kingdom published from 1754 on: Clara leaping to the right and present Clara, sprawled and contrary to the original with second horn added by the master’s sons as severely criticized by Thienemann:

“ It is common knowledge that there are several rhinoceri with two horns, but all have a different skin, color, not the folds, like ours … Also we find the drawing, from which this plate is worked, in the Weigel Collection, and in it but one horn … Mart. El. Ridinger thus has ventured to bestow the animal with two horns of his own imagination, which is quite wrong and contrary to nature. ”

According to Rieke-Müller

the  one  and  only  rhinoceros  of  the  18th  century  on  the  European  continent

and in line with its scientific rank,

Ridinger’s  rhinoceros

is  in  all  her  varieties  thematically  as  artistically

a  highly  sought-after  collector’s  item .

Offer no. 15,870 / price on application

Ridinger’s Colored Animal Kingdom in Original Coloring

available in

A Great Plenitude of Individual Plates


An Absolutely Exceptional Complete Provenance Copy