Johann Elias Ridinger, Polar Bear

VRSVS ALBVS Grönlandiae

Ridinger, Johann Elias (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). The White Spitsbergen Greenlandic Bear. Standing to the left, the jaws open wide. Colored etching with engraving. Inscribed: VRSVS, ALBVS Grönlandiae. / Der weiße Spizberg Grönländische Bär. / L’ours blanc de Groenland. / Familia IV. Fünffzähige. / J. El. Ridinger fec. et excud. A.V. 12⅛ × 8⅜ in (30.9 × 21.4 cm).

Thienemann & Schwarz 1082. – 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.

“ We have done four illustrations of (the bears) here … and fourthly all white, which reside in Greenland. This latter species feeds particularly readily on fish, therefore they go onto the ice to look for the dead wales, seals etc.; however, if large pieces break off, as it happens occasionally, they often drift away on such a floating ice island into the open sea, even as far as over to Norway, in which case they are tortured most acutely by hunger at times ”

(Ridinger’s sons in the preamble to pt. II, pp. 13 f., enclosed in copy). – And Thienemann:

“ Why in the N(ew) E(dition) it is considered against Ridinger as just a white variety (‘The White Land Bear’) of the land bear and not the Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus) I do not know. ”

The  fine  sujet  in  its  vibrant  colorfulness

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 1-3 cm, below 5 cm wide. – Hardly worth mentioning a faint tidemark in the lower white plate/paper field.

Offer no. 15,926 / EUR  690. / export price EUR  656. (c. US$ 793.) + shipping

Ridinger’s Colored Animal Kingdom in Original Coloring

available in

A Great Plenitude of Individual Plates


An Absolutely Exceptional Complete Provenance Copy

„ Best her Niemeyer, De prenten zijn vanmiddag in goede staat gearriveerd. Alleen al het uitpakken is een genot! Ze zien er prachtig uit (vooral The Idel ’prentice is een juweel) … Wat dat betreft, zijn eigenlijk alle prenten die u mij hebt toegezonde, van uitstekende kwaliteit … “

(Mijnheer P. E., 1. Februar 2008)


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