28 November 2001
Heinrich Gottlieb Ludwig Reichenbach (1793-1879)
A collection of six watercolours. [Circa 1845-1862]. Pencil and watercolour, heightened with gum arabic, pencil, or pencil and wash original drawings. Various sizes, framed and glazed. Provenance: Heinrich Gottlieb Ludwig Reichenbach.
[The individual drawings are as follows:]
1. Psephotus pacmatonotus, inscribed in ink at foot 'Psephotus pacmatonotus Gould B. of Austral. XIX. 7. 10½"'. Visible sheet area: 10 1/8 x 6¼ inches (260 x 160mm).
2. Platyocrous pileatus, inscibed in ink at foot 'Platyocrous pileatus Vig. Gould Bo. of Austral. XIX. 6. 13"'. Visible sheet area: 10¼ x 6 3/8 inches (262 x 165mm).
3. Prionites cornuleocephalus, inscribed at foot '15½" [?] Prionites cornuleocephalus Jard. Selb. ill. om. on. ser. pl.XLII'. Visible sheet area: 4½ x 7 inches (1215 x 175mm).
4. B. nipalensis [and] Buc. comatus, inscribed beneath 'B. nipalensis Hodgs. F.As.Soc. XVI.997.pl.XLIV. Buc. comatus Raffl. F.As.S,XVI.996.pl.XLIV'. Visible sheet area: 5½ x 4¼ inches (140 x 105mm).
5. Psittaiara perlata, extensive inscription beneath. Visible sheet area: 4 1/8 x 4¼ inces (107 x 110mm).
6. Macrocerous Ara canga, inscribed beneath. Visible sheet area: 4 3/8 x 3 5/8 inches (110 x 92mm).
A good selection of drawings from an important ornithological archive which included a large collection of drawings by one of the great figures of 19th-century natural history. The present drawings originally formed part of Reichenbach's working library, part of an essential reference tool as well as the basis for his greatest ornithological work Die Vollständigste Naturgeschichte der Vögel des In- und Auslandes.
All the images have Reichenbach's manuscript notes with each species identified, and generally the orginal source of the drawings recorded. These sources include images from the works of Gould, Jardine and Selby, as well as various journals.
H.G.Ludwig Reichenbach, botanist, ornithologist and artist, was born in Saxony in 1793. He studied medicine and the natural sciences at Leipzig, gaining his doctorate in Philosophy in 1815 and Medicine in 1817. He moved to Dresden in 1820 as professor of natural history at the college of medicine, where he became director of the zoological museum and director of the botanical garden, which he helped found. (6)
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