Daniel Good Rare Books and Engravings
1669 OTTER - Mammal - C. Gesner FOLIO leaf with woodcut
Gesner, Conrad, 1516-1565
Handcolored woodcut on FINE FOLIO LEAF.
Leaf: ca 20.5 x 34 cm/Approx 8 x 13.5 inches.
The Historiae animalium ("Histories of the Animals") published at Zurich was an encyclopedic work of "an inventory of renaissance zoology" by Conrad Gesner, a doctor and professor at the Carolinum, the precursor of the University of Zurich. It is the first modern zoological work that attempts to describe all the animals known, and the first bibliography of natural history writings.
Though in his large work Gesner sought to distinguish facts from myths, his encyclopedic work also included mythical creatures and imaginary beasts, intermixed with the strange newly discovered animals of the East Indies, those of the far north and animals brought back from the New World.
This woodcut issued in Frankfurt 1669.