Martin Elias Ridinger, Sable Siberian or Sarmatian Marten

“ The Most Precious among all the Furs ”

Ridinger, Martin Elias (1731 Augsburg 1780). Sable Siberian or Sarmatian Marten. / Egyptian Weasel. One each of the species, the former front center. Colored etching with engraving. Inscribed: MUSTELA Zibellina. MUSTELA Pharaonis. / Zobel … as above / Matre Zibeline de Siberie. Belette. / Familia IV. Fünffzæhige. / ex Collect. Ludolfii (Klein). / Ridinger. sc. 12 × 7¾ in (30.6 × 19.8 cm).

Thienemann & Schwarz 1054. – 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 sable “is the most like the pine marten among the relations of the species … The shining silken coat, which is regarded already of old as

the most precious one among all the furs ,

costs the more the more unicolored it is … Most common it is presently still on Kamchatka where the almost inaccessible mountains provide refuge. In regard of its habits it is like our pine marten” (Meyers Konversations-Lexikon, 4th ed., XVI [1890], 948 f.). The present one of the preferred chestnut and darker color with relatively little white:

Ridinger, Sable and Mongoose (detail)
Sable and Mongoose (detail)

“ (S)o we have … at once represented yet a Siberian Sable, whose little skin is of great value with the Russians for its beauty, especially if it is black. Therefore they hunt for the same permanently and draw large sums of money each year from the sale of this fur good ”

(Ridinger’s sons in the preamble to pt. II, p. 6, enclosed in copy).

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. ”

And his sons in particular on present one:

“ Since we own an Egyptian Weasel – “supposedly the mongoose, Herpestes mungo” (Th.) – in quite good an illustration, which is a little larger than our weasel and has quite different a tail, we have added such one with this representation, too … ”

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

With watermark C & I Honig 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 1.7-3.2 cm, below 5.4 cm wide. – Tiny brown spot showing from the back within the shrubbery.

Offer no. 15,913 | EUR 570. | export price EUR 542. (c. US$ 655.) + 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)

„ (D)ie Sendung (Hogarth / Marriage à-la-Mode) ist gestern wohlbehalten hier eingetroffen. Ist alles bestens, und ich danke Ihnen nochmals herzlich für die Beantwortung meiner Fragen und prompte Lieferung … Viele Grüße … “

(Herr C. K., 3. November 2013)


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