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The Rugendas Letters:
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First Voyage to Brazil

The Sections of Cap Trafalgar
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Martin Elias Ridinger, Harbor Seal

Ridinger, Martin Elias (1731 Augsburg 1780). Harbor Seal. “The common seal from an illustration of Klein’s is depicted well, once completely from the side, then the head from front in the water” (Th.). Colored etching with engraving. Inscribed: CANIS MARINVS. / See Hund. / Veau Marin. / Familia V. fünf zeege mit Gænsen Füssen. / M. E. Ridinger. Sculps. 12¼ × 8⅜ in (31.2 × 21.2 cm).

Thienemann & Schwarz 1098. – 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.

Martin Elias Ridinger, Harbor Seals (detail)

“ (T)hese animals … are frequently found towards the North … Their skin usually is strewn with numerous black spots and shiny, one also uses it for various things. One gets a lot of train oil from them, therefore every year some ships leave for Greenland to kill the seals on the ice or on the land, which frequently is done with but a single stroke across the nose … This present illustration we owe besides to the kindness of Mr. Klein in Danzig ”

(Ridinger’s sons in the preamble to pt. II, p. 17 f., enclosed in copy).

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 Following Klein’s classification according to kind and number of extremities – superceded by Linné’s anatomical classification – the early states of some plates of the set still show references to his Quadrupedum Dispositio brevisque Historia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 typographic 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 1.4-2.5 cm wide, below trimmed to platemark and defects in the white paper margin of up to c. 2 x 2 cm backed acid-freely. Waterstains on the back of up to c. 8 cm below, 5 cm laterally upper right visible on the front only in the text and white paper field. Backed dog’s ear top right, faint small brown spot in the paper margin upper left, far top edge feebly tidemarked. The pictorial effect of the decidedly charming motif ultimately unimpaired.

Offer no. 15,992 | EUR 98. (c. US$ 118.) + 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)