Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 81.djvu/272

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time Dutch Brazils, had made and had annotated in his own handwriting and finally after his return had given to the great Elector of Brandenburg, that I was desirous once for all to see these Handschriften. Finally in the early part of this year, my wish was realized. I found this collection in the Royal Library at Berlin in 2 folio bänden of different sizes collected under the title "Icones Berum Brasiliensium." All the sheets are designated by numbers, however without a perfect arrangement having been brought about in the two different bänden separated the one from the other. . . . By comparing them with (the figures in) Marcgrave's Natural History of Brazil, it is plainly shown that Marcgrave had all the best painted figures copied as wood cuts in the same size. How faithfully? Thereon we have his own word. The added remarks are in Dutch and we know certainly by the Prince's own hand,[1] and everywhere agree with Marcgrave's text. However, they are extremely brief and indicate only the sizes and relationships of the animals with one another. The collection itself may no longer be complete, at any rate I have in vain sought therein for some of Marcgrave's sketches, however there are to be sure some sketches which Marcgrave did not copy, and some few animals which he did not know. In the main I note that on careful comparison this collection explains Marcgrave's text in general. This also can not be in error, since Marcgrave has only been able to afford woodcuts, and his draughtsman has not seldom copied the original figure entirely wrong; in the annotated collection on the contrary all the animals have their natural colors whose differentiation so often must give the essential points of distinction between nearly related species and genera.[2]

Next Schneider goes on to express the wish that more authors like Bloch might illustrate their books from this magnificent set of paintings. Bloch not only was acquainted with these drawings but copied a large number of them in his "Ausländische Fische" and in his grand "Ichthyologie." In the preface to volume 6 of this latter work (1788). Bloch describes this collection of drawings as made on white parchment and consisting of two sets.

The first contains 32 quadrupeds, 87 birds, 9 amphibians, 80 fishes, 31 insects, some shells and star fishes and one cuttlefish; in all 183 sheets. On each is a figure of a fish, bird, quadruped, amphibian, insect or worm. All are very beautifully designed and painted in part with very bright and beautiful colors. Above the animal one finds the name which it bears in Brazil, and below mention is often made in the Dutch language of its size.[3] The second part also on white parchment. . . contains two quadrupeds, 15 birds, 46 amphibians, 45 fishes, 46 insects and several pages of plants. . . it consists of 114 sheets on which one finds the designs mentioned which have been made by the same hand as those in the first part.

That Bloch's reproduction of these paintings went far to make them known to the world is not to be denied, indeed, the present writer first

  1. Lichtenstein comments on the characteristic half jocular notes added by Count Maurice, of which the following may be quoted. On the sheet containing the figure of the ant-eater, Tamandua guacu, the Count has written: "This is the great ant-eater, as large as # an otter. He sticks his tongue into a hole, the ants sit down on it, and then he draws it into his mouth. The tongue is about one half an ell long. . . . He can not run at all."
  2. For this transcript I am indebted to the courtesy of Dr. Perlbach, of the Royal Library of Berlin.
  3. See Fig. 3.