Marcus Elieser Bloch “148. The Little Old-Wife” From Ichthyologie, Ou Histoire Naturelle, Generale Et Particuliere, Des Poissons. Paris and Berlin, 1785-97. Ca. 8 1/4 x 15 1/2. Engravings. Original hand coloring. Very good to excellent condition. Full margins. Nissan, 415.
A series of superb fish illustrations by Mark Bloch (1723-99), a German physician from Berlin. Bloch was one of the earliest students of fish to publish a series of fish prints, and his work remained a primary source for the next century. His descriptions of German fish was reliable and thorough, but his illustrations of foreign fishes were subject to many of the misconceptions that filtered through the great body of travel literature during the eighteenth century. Thus later viewers are presented with a range of pictures with exacting accuracy or enticing imagination. He issued folio and octavo prints, and the care taken in the drawing has caused David Knight in Zoological Illustration (p. 133) to call his work “one of the most sumptuous ever produced.” Each specimen picture was engraved on a copper plate and then colored by hand with watercolors. An added and unusual advantage to these plates is the fact that they contain the names of each fish in several languages. A lovely and fascinating series.