Johann Elias Ridinger, Guinean Little Buck, Little Deer

Ridinger, Johann Elias or Martin Elias (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767 and 1731 Augsburg 1780 resp.). Guinean Little Buck, Little Deer. Beneath high tree, lying to the right. Colored etching with engraving. Inscribed: TRAGVLVS Guineensis. / Guineisches Böcklein, Hirschl. / Chevreuil d’Afrique. / Familia II. Zweyhufige. / ex Collect. S(ecretarius). Kleinii. 12 × 8 in (30.6 × 20.3 cm).

Thienemann & Schwarz 1003. – 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., sect. 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.

“ … to general assertion not even as large as a young one of a goat … There are suchlike with and without horns, however, whether these indicate a male or female, also whether they drop these or not, appears to be made out not yet. They are so delicate that

one has not found means yet to bring them to Europe alive … ”

(Ridinger’s sons in the preamble to pt. I, p. 17, enclosed in copy). Thienemann on this:

“ Maybe the common gazelle, yet maybe also another one. Here, as with several following plates, it is to be regretted, that Ridinger wanted to realize the untenable principle and produce the animals in one scale. There many turned out too small, what does not look good, especially on the large plates. ”

From the point of view here finicky, without regard for the painterly pictorial effect if necessary always attained by scenery, illustrative here not least of just the “Little Buck”. A platework simply requires the uniform format and the connoisseur values its generous design and just for this dismisses the trimmed down, uncolored new edition of the 1820s, of which Thienemann (p. 200) says many plates would look better now, yet has to admit that “also at the same time many tops of trees and shrubs, many decorations, indeed some animals had been taken away, too”. Indeed. One cannot have both at the same time.

With Jacob Theodor Klein (“Plinius Gedanensium”, Königsberg 1685 – Danzig 1759; town clerk in Danzig, co-founder and later director of the Danzig Society of Naturalists, 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. ”

Whether the engraving in turn is by Johann Elias or Martin Elias, has to remain undecided in the absence of an artist’s inscription. Solely from the preamble to the Animal Kingdom the latter’s hand might be discerned.

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 1.7-3 cm, below 5.4 cm wide. – Acid-freely backed fine trace of a tear of 4 cm within the left far part of the white paper margin.

Offer no. 15,890 | EUR 490. | export price EUR 466. (c. US$ 563.) + 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)

“ Thank you so much for that comprehensive background to the above titled (Brierly) print which has intrigued me … ”

(Mr. R. H., July 12, 2014)


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