From a collection of Italian natural history prints of birds, mammals, monkeys, fish, shells, reptiles, amphibians and insects in their natural environments. The landscape settings are simple yet effective compositions that convey general information about each creature’s habitat. Although European species are well-represented, the plates also portray animals from distant continents then considered exotic curiosities. The prints are from a Neopolitan zoological atlas, which, as its name suggests, was a compilation of works published in Italy and other countries. Some of the sources of the prints are easily recognizable, such as the osprey, strikingly similar in composition to John James Audubon’s early 19th century study. Many of the mammals, particularly the monkeys, are whimsically depicted with human personalities, as was typical for Italian natural history works of that era. This diverse work also includes several ethnographic subjects.
Among the animals represented are exotic birds such as the flamingo, bird of paradise, and ostrich; large mammals such as the elephant, giraffe, lion, tiger and jaguar; various species of turtles and toads; fish, whales, seashells, and coral; all kinds of monkeys: gorillas, orangutans, chimpanzees, spider monkeys, langurs and lemurs; and Australian species such as the platypus and Gilbert’s Potoroo, which today is the most endangered animal in Australia.
Giovanni Boschi was an Italian engineer and author active in the mid 19th century. His works include a lives of the saints (1858), a two-volume work on biblical stories (1862-65), and a biography of the French naturalist Georges Louis Leclerc, Count Buffon (1878). Buffon’s works evidently inspired Boschi’s own comprehensive 8-volume zoological atlas Atlante Zoologico Popolare (1863-79).
Condition: Generally very good with the usual light toning, wear, soiling, soft creases. Publishers blind stamp lower margin, as issued. Some with minor short marginal tears, restored. For a condition report or additional pictures of a particular print in the series, please inquire.