Ridinger, Trained Elephant


of  the  127-sheet  Kingdom  of  Animals  Set

Ridinger, Johann Elias (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). Trained Elephant. Dressed up and painted (“spruced up like a festive ox”), striding to the front, his driver on him. Colored etching with engraving after Johann Elias Grimmel (Memmingen 1703 – Petersburg 1759). Inscribed: ELEPHAS. / Abgerichter Elephant. / Elephant dressé. / 2. D. S. XIII. / Familia V. Fünffhufige. / J. El. Grimmel ad viv. del. St. Petersb. / Joh. El. Ridinger fecit et excud. Aug. Vind. 12¼ × 8⅛ in (31.2 × 20.6 cm).

Thienemann & Schwarz 1032. – 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.

First state before the removal of the “2. (sic!, the base from which regularly the Q is developed) D. S. XIII.” as reference to Jacob Theodor Klein’s Quadrupedum dispositio brevisque Historia Naturalis of 1751 unbeknown to Thienemann.

With Klein (“Plinius Gedanensium”, Königsberg 1685 – Danzig 1759; town clerk in Danzig, later director of the Society of Naturalists Danzig co-founded by him, 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 Following Klein’s classification according to kind and number of extremities – superceded by Linné’s anatomical classification – the early states of some plates of the set still show references to his Quadrupedum dispositio brevisque Historia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.”

Beside the Crane at Oldenburg the prime plate,

whose  mounted  driver

became  victim  of  the  shortening  of  the  plates

— “ what  looks  bad ” (Th.) —

in  the  uncolored  1824/25  new  edition .

On C & I Honig paper 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 1.7-3.5 cm, below 4.6 cm wide. – Two little brown spots in the upper white plate field.

The Memmingen Grimmel (Russian Илья Гриммель) was pupil of J. Fr. Sichelbein there and of J. van Schuppen in Vienna, “where he is ascertainable as participant in the academic price competitions 1731-37 … Supposedly at the suggestion of his Memmingen local companion Stählin (Peter v. St., Russian legation councilor at The Hague, etching dilettante) … appointed by the Imperial Russian Academy of Sciences as … court painter … to St. Petersburg in 1741, Grimmel worked there since then as much demanded ‘professor for drawing and painting from the living model’” (Th.-B. XV [1922], 50).

Offer no. 15,935 / EUR  1400. / export price EUR  1330. (c. US$ 1608.) + 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)

“ I would like to thank you most sincerely for your expert analysis of the portfolio and for the considerable amount of time you gave to this effort. I will take your advice and we shall see what happens … Again, my sincere thanks ”

(Mr. P. S., March 22, 2012)


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