Thomas Pennant Print from The British Zoology
The Fox, London: 1760s

This item is sold.  It has been placed here in our online archives as a service for researchers and collectors.

The Fox
Desmoulins (after)
Peter Mazell (fl. 1761-1797) (engraver)
Thomas Pennant (1726-1798) (author)
The Fox, Plate 28
from The British Zoology. Class I. Quadrupeds. II. Birds. Published under the Inspection of the Cymmrodorion Society
J. and J. March, London: [1761]-1766
Hand-colored engraving
14 x 20.5 inches, overall
Sold, please inquire as to the availability of similar items.

Natural history print of a red fox, crouched and snarling at an unseen adversary.  The plate is from Thomas Pennant's renowned natural history book The British Zoology (1766), which is mentioned in the writings of Charles Darwin.  The bulk of the book focused on birds, though there was a section on quadrupeds with 11 plates.

Thomas Pennant was a Welsh naturalist and travel writer, achieving distinction in both fields.  His works on both topics are characterized by a wide-ranging intellectual curiosity, keen sense of observation, and an attention to detail that extended to the inclusion of high-quality illustrations, which assured his books a broad audience.  Like many affluent young Britons of his day, he attended Oxford University.  He did not, however, receive a degree.  As a zoologist, he participated in the Transactions of the British Royal Society, corresponding with leading scientists of his day such as Linnaeus.  His natural history books such as The British Zoology (1766), History of Quadrupeds (1781) and Arctic Zoology (1784-85), exemplify the Enlightenment impulse to comprehensively categorize the natural world and contributed to the popularization of the study of zoology.  His informative travel books about Britain and Europe, such as A Tour in Wales (1778-83), chronicled local customs, natural history and antiquities. Pennant also published an autobiography, The Literary Life (1793).

Peter Mazell was an Irish painter and engraver based in London. He exhibited at the Society of Artists between 1761 and 1791, and at the Royal Academy in 1797. Mazell engraved the plates for many books, including scientific publications such as Thomas Pennant's natural history volumes The British Zoology (1766) and Arctic Zoology (1785).  He also produced plates for John Boydell and engraved the illustrations for Cordiners' Remarkable Ruins and Romantic Prospects in North Britain (1792).


Anker, Jean.  Bird Books and Bird Art. 1938.  New York: Martino, 1990. 392.

Nissen, Claus. Die Illustrierten Vogelbucher: ihre Geschichte und Bibliographie. Stuttgart: 1976.  710.

"Pennant, Thomas." Encyclopædia Britannica from Encyclopædia Britannica Premium Service. (13 February 2006).

Sitwell, Sacheverell. Fine Bird Books, 1700-1900. New York: The Atlantic Monthly Press, 1990.  p. 99.

"Thomas Pennant." National Library of Wales.  1999. (13 February 2006).

Zimmer, John Todd. Catalogue of the Edward E. Ayer Ornithological Library.  Zoological Series, Publ. 239-240, Vol. 16.  Chicago: Field Museum of Natural History, 1926.   pp.487-88.

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