Count Stillfried’s Copy ?
Rugendas’ Lion Hunt Rarity
For Teuscher (1998) recordable only per Stillfried (1879)
Rugendas I, Georg Philipp (1666 Augsburg 1742). Venatio Leonum / (Lion Hunt). Deeply staggered instructive hunt of turban-dressed horsemen with javelins, partly also with the yatagan (?) at the side, one additionally with quiver over his back,
in the basin of an oasis of the Libyan highland .
Mezzotint. Inscribed: K.1. / Georg Philipp Rugendas invent delin. et Sculps. / Cum Gratiâ et Privilg. Sac. Cæs. Majest. / Johan(n) Christian Leopold excudit Aug. Vindelicorum., otherwise in Latin-German as above and following. 16 × 20¼ in (40.8 × 51.4 cm).
Nagler (1845) 40; Stillfried 293 (1879; not mentioning the series “K.1”); Teuscher (1998) 60 with reference to N. & St. – With surrounding margin 2.5-3.5 cm wide. This with some unessential faint tidemarks and light shade of previous framing. Occasionally of the latter mounted for no reason onto the back board, treating also three tears each up to the platemark.
“ Fulminei quamvis sit fervens ira leonis, / Aversos vulus Africa nulla pavet. / Arrigit ille comas, Stimulatus verbere caudæ / Cuspide mox Libyco , dum fremit ille, perit. ”
“ The lions’ stay in large deserts / Startles in Africa not the brave hunter / So fiercely this enemy foams attacks, tears and fights / His blood has to
please the javelin of the Libyan ”
(spacing & bold type not in the original).
FINE IMPRESSION , rich in chiaroscuro , as so typical for the velvety mezzotints , of the first sheet of the hunting set T. 60-63 dedicated to lion, tiger, ostrich & buffalo, all with the address of Leopold.
“ Known from literature only ”
Teuscher follows Stillfried’s description
as the last proven copy
which by all means could be identical with the one known before to the antiquarian Nagler. What probably might result in a provenance of the set’s present lion sheet going back up to 1845.
Stillfried’s several deviations in the spelling of the caption as compared with the copy here may originate in cursoriness. To what extent this also regards the missing of the series mark present here cannot be decided. Teuscher notes such per 305-390 for “(Mezzotint) sets A-Z published by the father” – thus present Rugendas I – of the younger Georg Philipp. The K-series there refers per 339/42 to a “Soldier’s Life”, so that such marks also refer to the father’s own work.
In the introduction to the younger Georg Philipp Teuscher limits the independence of his work by the remark “His printed work is closely related to that of his father, however, with whom he co-operates and who publishes his plates in his own publishing house”.
This dependence in the case here classically represented by the above hunting set T. 60-63 of his father’s and by this its lion hunt T. 60 here. With visible modifications and reduction to a smaller format of 10⅛ × 14⅜ in (25.7 × 36.4 cm), however, the latter figures per T. 417 within the group 413-420c, “Comprehensive suite of mezzotints with various depictions of the hunt, now published by Georg Philipp Rugendas II himself”, with in the absence of illustrations of 60-63 their revival per 417-420a remaining unknown to Teuscher. Although per “inv. delin. Sculps. et excud. …” with the omission of the “Junior” addition, as had become usual after his father’s death, expressly declared as own work the lion hunt positively cites his father’s present sheet!
That the present inscription “Georg Philipp Rugendas” actually refers to the father then not least also results from Leopold’s publisher’s address. So par example, picked out, the junior’s suites 367/70 of a Riding School & 371/74 of the Elements were published jointly – and in this sequence – by Johann Christian Leopold (1699 Augsburg 1755) & “G. R. Rugendas senior” and the set of the Pandurs T. 375/78 by Leopold alone.
After all the above the reappearance of present lion hunt after 130 years in
probably Stillfried’s or even already Nagler’s copy
is a neat little event for the Rugendas research. And thematically & optically a very fine enrichment to the documentation of the hunt on the majestic one . Here then additionally
with express textual reference to the Libyan Desert
as for old prints a rarity by itself .
The chance is obvious. And already in 1675 the expert von Sandrart gave the reason for the traditional scarceness of the old mezzotints by numbering “clean impressions” at only about “50 or 60” (!). “(A)fterwards however (the image) soon grinds off for it does not go deep into the copper”.
“ The mezzotints are barely to be acquired in the trade anymore … ”
Here then , it may be repeated ,
such one as an almost unique . Probably even the one and only copy passed on at all .
Offer no. 28,899 / price on application
„ die (Ridinger-)Graphiken (Th. 9-12 per 28.885) sind unversehrt … angekommen, herzlichen Dank. Es sind wundervolle Arbeiten, wir sind sehr begeistert … “
(Herr R. G., 30. Dezember 2009)