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Natural History, Art, Fish, Pierre Joseph Bonnaterre, 1788, Antique Prints (Sold)

Pierre Joseph Bonnaterre (1747-1804) (editor)
Benard (engraver)
Scorpion Fish
Sturgeon, Frog Fish and Bat Fish
from Tableau Encyclopedique et Methodique des Trois Regnes de la Nature: Ichthyologie [Encyclopedic and Methodical Depiction of the Three Kingdoms of Nature: Icthyology]
Panckoucke, Paris: 1788
Hand-colored engravings
9.25 x 6.25 inches, image
12 x 9 inches, overall

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Natural history plates from a work on icthyology, each decorative print with artistic arrangments of the creatures highlighting their natural shapes, colors and decorative patterns. These were part of a series illustrating different areas of natural history, including birds, shells and mammals. Encyclopedic treatments of the natural world emerged during the Age of Enlightenment, when various animal species were first classified in accordance with the system developed by Linneaus. Natural specimens were illustrated in hand-colored print sets for biologists, as well as aristocrats interested in the latest discoveries of flora and fauna in distant lands then being explored.

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Pierre Joseph Bonnaterre (1747-1804) was a priest in the Rouergue and natural history professor at the central school of Rhodes . He was commissioned by the publisher Panckoucke to write and edit the section on fish for the Tableau Encyclopedique, dealing with mammals, birds, reptiles, fishes and insects. He researched and wrote a substantial text and assembled artwork depicting over 400 species, which he mainly copied from the drawings of Bloch, along with several other artists. Bonnaterre is also known for his involvement in the case of Victor, a feral child captured in nearby Aveyron, who was brought to Bonnaterre to be examined before turning him over to the authorities in Paris.

References: Nissen, 1969, Pietsch, 1995.

Additional information


18th Century