Pair of natural history studies of monkeys and primates. As was typical of 18th and early 19th century natural history studies, the animals are generally shown on a patch of landscape against a white background, some perched upon small tree stumps. These prints highlight the climbing abilities of the monkeys, including the grasping capabilities of their tails and feet. Despite the attention to detail and scientific accuracy, there is an artificiality seen in other European studies of this era, in the slightly human manner of posing, and the anthropomorphic facial expressions.These plates come from a series on the animal kingdom, showing a wide variety of species, including elephants, rhinoceroses, lions, monkeys, horses, reptiles, butterflies and insects. Some plates also depict indigenous peoples. These are early examples of educational natural history books about the animal kingdom, a genre which remained popular throughout the 19th century. They are also early examples of lithographic printing, which had been introduced by German inventor Alois Senefelder in the 1790s.
Karl Joseph Brodtmann was one of the most accomplished lithographers of his day, as well as a printseller and bookseller who lived in Zurich and Schaffhausen, Switzerland. His natural history lithographs include Heinrich Rudolf Schinz’s natural history volumes on reptiles and birds, published in the early 1830s. Brodtmann also produced the offered folio natural history lithographs, probably also in the 1830s, as Naturhistorische Bilder Gallerie aus dem Theirreiche.
Condition: Generally very good with the usual overall light toning and wear. One with horizontal printer’s crease.
Bénézit, E. Dictionnaire critique et documentaire des Peintres, Sculpteurs, Dessinateurs et Graveurs. France: Librairie Gründ, 1966. Vol. 2, p. 146.