Johann Elias Ridinger, Hippopotamus, River Horse, Water Ox

Ridinger, Johann Elias (Ulm 1698 – Augsburg 1767). Hippopotamus, River Horse, Water Ox. Standing to the right in reeds by a water, but roaring in rage to the left with quite detailed presentation of the powerful set of teeth. Colored etching with engraving. Inscribed: HIPPOPOTAMVS, Equus NILOTICVS. / Flußpferd, Nilpferd, Wasserochs. / Cheval marin. / Familia IV. Vierhufige. / Ex Collection. Secr. Klein. Gedan. / Joh. El. Ridinger sculps. et exc. Aug. Vind. 12¼ × 8 in (31 × 20.3 cm).

Thienemann & Schwarz 1029. – 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.

“ We have received the drawing of this dreadful animal by the kindness of Mr. Klein from the Ludolph collection. There is another representation of this animal to be seen in the Electoral Bavarian maison de plaisance Schleißheim, which is painted by Rubens from life … although only in grey color … as it is just defeated and captured … ”

(Ridinger’s sons in the preamble to pt. I, p. 23, enclosed in copy; in Rosenberg, P. P. Rubens / Des Meisters Gemälde, 2nd ed., 1906, page 109 only the Hunt for Crocodile and Hippopotamus in Augsburg with the latter largely concealed, although in the same position as here, which cannot be meant though).

Final state after removal of the reference to Jacob Theodor Klein’s 1751 Quadrupedum Dispositio brevisque Historia Naturalis, in the first state given as “2.D.S.XII.” as supposedly also present to Th., although this, frequently a little unreliable in his renditions, rather generally states “Q.” instead of “2.” and “§.” instead of “S(ection).”. The plate itself by the way annotated by him as follows:

“ It is worked after a drawing … It is not an entirely well-made illustration of the animal extremely rare over here, exact ones we have only received most recently (mid 19th century), but by no means it has to be called utterly failed. The head is too large, the coloring to vivid etc., but for that time it is good enough .”

With 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. ”

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 2.1-2.6 cm, below 4.7 cm wide. – At the upper left white stitching margin some small brown spots.

Offer no. 15,960 | EUR 1100. | export price EUR 1045. (c. US$ 1263.) + 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)

„ vielen Dank für die schnelle Zusendung des Buches ‚Der Ahorn‘. Ich freue mich insbesondere, weil dieses Buch mein Opa geschrieben hat und es somit für mich eine große Bedeutung hat. Viele Grüße aus Berlin “

(Frau U. C., 7. Juni 2004)


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