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Bird, Art, Fowl, Chickens, Frish, Pair Framed Antique Prints, Berlin, 18th Century


Johann Leonhard Frisch (1666-1743) (after)
Der Klut Hahn, Gallus non caudatus, 131
Das Krup Huhn, Gallina pumila, 134
from Vorstellung der Vögel Deutschlandes und beyläufig auch einiger Fremden; nach ihren Eigenschaften beschrieben
[Presentation of Birds of Germany and Some from Elsewhere; Described According to Their Properties]
Friedrich Wilhelm Birnstiel for the author, Berlin: [1733-]1763
Hand-colored copper engravings
13 x 8.5 inches, image
21.75 x 17 inches, framed
$1,300, the pair

Pair of 18th century engravings of roosters, from what is quite possibly the earliest publication on domestic birds in Europe. They depict Gallus non caudatus, a tailless fowl, and Gallina pumila, which is described in the French subtitle as a “creeping chicken with yellow feet.” The full inscriptions are in German, Latin and French. In keeping with the European style of bird studies of the period, the roosters themselves are rendered with attention to scientific detail but they are posted somewhat artificially in simple compositions — the birds in profile against the white of the page, standing on a small patch of ground. The book was described in Fine Bird Books, 1700-1900, a major reference work, as “one of the most enjoyable of all bird books, but rare” (Sitwell, 1990).

Product description continues below.


Johann Leonhard Frisch was a German linguist and naturalist. He studied at the universities of Altdorf, Jena and Strasbourg, initially intending to become a priest, but eventually marrying and becoming a teacher in Berlin, and later becoming the headmaster. His achievements include a pioneering work in the field of comparative linguistics. He also became interested in the insects and birds of Germany and assembled a private collection that became the basis for the museum of the Royal Academy of Sciences of Prussia. He was particularly interested in the interaction between species, notably parasitic insects and their plant or animal hosts. This led to his planting mulberry trees in Berlin and founding the first silkworm farm in Germany. Frisch was a friend of the mathematician Leibniz, who recommended him for membership in the Society of Sciences in 1706. He published numerous books on both linguistics and natural history. Vorstellung der Vögel Deutschlandes was based on his natural history collection and begun in 1733. After his death in 1743, the project was continued by his sons. Jodocus Leopold prepared the text with the assistance of Baron Friedrich von Zorn. Philipp Jacob Frisch and Ferdinand Helfreich Frisch engraved and colored most of the plates, with the final 30 contributed by Frisch’s grandson Johann Christoph Frisch. The work is comprised of 255 plates — all but two of birds — divided into twelve parts. A later edition was published in Berlin in 1817 by the successors of the original publishers, with plates taken from the original stock.

Full inscriptions:

Der Klut Hahn: Der IX’ten Hauptart III’te Abtheilung V’te Platte. Der Klut Hahn, Gallus non caudatus. Coq San queue 131.

Das Krup Huhn: Der IX’ten Hauptart III’te Abtheilung VIII’te Platte. Das Krup Huhn. Gallina pumila. Poule rampante à pieds jaunatre. 134.

Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall light toning and wear. One with repaired short marginal tear upper right, unobtrusive. Frames very good with the usual light wear.


Anker, Jean. Bird Books and Bird Art. 1938. New York: Martino, 1990. 155.

“Johann Leonhard Frisch.” Wikipedia. 15 June 2017. (9 January 2018).

Nissen, Claus. Die Illustrierten Vogelbucher: ihre Geschichte und Bibliographie. Stuttgart: 1976. 339.

“Sale 5581, Lot 19.” Christie’s. 31 May 1996. (9 January 2018).

Sitwell, Sacheverell. Fine Bird Books, 1700-1900. New York: The Atlantic Monthly Press, 1990. 97.

The Library of H. Bradley Martin: Magnificent Color-Plate Ornithology. New York: Sotheby’s, 1989. 93.

Wood, Casey A. (ed.) An Introduction to the Literature of Vertebrate Zoology Based Chiefly on the Titles in the Blacker Library of Zoology, the Emma Shearer Wood Library of Ornithology, the Bibliotheca Osleriana, and Other Libraries of McGill University, Montreal. London: Humphry Milford, Oxford University Press, 1931. 349.

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. 233.

Additional information


18th Century