Martin Elias Ridinger, Polecat/Marten

“At Full Robber’s Work”

Polecat & Marten

Ridinger, Martin Elias (1731 Augsburg 1780). The Polecat. / The Marten. “Both are at full robber’s work, the marten has a dead little bird in the mouth, the polecat drinks eggs” (Th.). At an ambience of boulders overgrown with shrubbery the former plundering a duck’s nest with three chicks dashing away, the latter posing with a bird in the mouth. Colored etching with engraving. Inscribed: MUSTELA FOETIDA. MARTES. / Der Iltis. Der Marder. / Furet. Mart. / Familia IV. Fünfzähige. / Ridinger. fec. 12¼ × 8¼ in (31.2 × 21 cm).

Thienemann & Schwarz 1053. – 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.

Johann Elias Ridinger, polecat (detail)
The polecat at the duck’s eggs (detail)

“ Some are called pine or baum marten, and these are not only somewhat larger than the other, but their skin is indeed much more precious and finer … and the furriers know the art to color it

that it equals the sable …

“ The polecat … is … somewhat larger and darker of color … They issue a foul and repugnant smell which adheres to their coat, too, but one is very fond of it for it can be colored as brown as a sable coat … yet particularly they stalk for eggs … In bright moonlight one can see them occasionally on old walls or roof gutters leaping upon or against each other … whereas the marten, as soon as he notices something … shrinks and tries to hide at the tree branches ”

(Ridinger’s sons in the preamble to pt. II, pp. 7 [German] & 5 f. [French] resp., enclosed in copy).

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 1.5-3 cm, below 5.2 cm wide.

Offer no. 15,962 / EUR  490. / export price EUR  466. (c. US$ 563.) + shipping

Johann Elias Ridinger, Marten (detail)
The marten (detail)

Ridinger’s Colored Animal Kingdom in Original Coloring

available in

A Great Plenitude of Individual Plates


An Absolutely Exceptional Complete Provenance Copy

“ Subject: Thanks!

Thanks for your kind reply. I wanted to comment that your thoughts on freedom (the quote that you had on the end of your message to me) are exactly the same as my beliefs.

I write, however, because I was surprised to get it from Europe … Although an American, almost all my early family were Huguenots … In fact, my relative, Jan C. is noted as the earliest C. to have arrived in N. America (in 1636, I think) … ”

(Mrs. C. F., November 14, 2003)


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