Martin Elias Ridinger, The Hedgehog

Rare :

Hedgehog & Groundhog

Ridinger, Martin Elias (1731 Augsburg 1780). The Hedgehog. / Guinea Pig. / The Marmot. On and by blocks of stone leaning against each other. Colored etching with engraving. Inscribed: ACANTHION. CUNICULUS AMERICANUS. MUS ALPINUS. / Der Igel. Meer Schweinchen. Das Murmel Thier. / Herison. Le petit cochon d’Inde. Rat des Alpes. / Familia IV. Fünfzähige. u. 3. 4. / Ridinger. sc. 12¼ × 8¼ in (31.2 × 21.1 cm).

Thienemann & Schwarz 1049. – 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.

“ The guinea pig (has) something quite particular about it … It has four toes fore and only three aft … One has brought them over first from America …

“ One finds (the marmots) on the highest Alps … they are easily tamed and usually are carried about by young folks in small cages and shown for money, since they then also have to learn to dance, which, however, is easy to them as in getting up and attending they have much similarity with the bears.

“ … more than anything else, however, (the hedgehogs) eat locusts, maybugs, mice, and the like … as soon as something gets too close to them they immediately roll up to a ball that one cannot harm them for on the upper part of the body they have nothing but spines. However, one says that the fox and a certain kind of dogs can master them nevertheless … If one wants to keep them in houses one has … not to trouble them much … where then by and by they will clean and free the house from all vermin ”

(Ridinger’s sons in the preamble to pt. II, pp. 3 f., enclosed in copy).

From the point of view here pedantic and without regard for the painterly pictorial effect if necessary always attained by scenery Thienemann’s fault-finding “(t)he animals again too small” as “Ridinger wanted to realize the untenable principle and do the animals in one scale”. 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 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.

The attribution of the work to Johann Elias’ eldest, Martin Elias, results from the spelling considered here as individual – like a dot or comma between “Ridinger” and for instance “sc.” – as against such plates of the Animal Kingdom inscribed with his name.

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 1.6-2.7 cm, below 5.1 cm wide. – The former & the latter as representation rare & wanted.

Offer no. 15,908 | 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

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(Mr. S. V., December 7, 2009)


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