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AuthorsA.C. van Bruggen, F.F.J.M. Pieters
TitleNotes on a drawing of Indian elephants in red crayon by Petrus Camper (1786) in the archives of the Rijksmuseum van Natuurlijke Historie
JournalZoologische Mededelingen
KeywordsProboscidea; Indian Elephant; Petrus Camper; history of zoology; history of zoological gardens; Rijksmuseum van Natuurlijke Historie
AbstractA drawing of two Indian elephants, signed "P. Camper f. 10 Sept. 1786", in red chalk or crayon, was found in the archives of the Rijksmuseum van Natuurlijke Historie in a manuscript by T.G. van Lidth de Jeude (1788-1863). Van Lidth de Jeude, professor at Utrecht university, obviously intended to use it as an illustration in his projected manual of the mammals in Dutch. The drawing is almost completely identical to an unsigned drawing in the Artis library, one of a series of three.
The Leiden drawing is traced back to H. Schlegel, director of the Leiden museum 1858-1884, who most probably obtained the Van Lidth de Jeude papers upon his death. Van Lidth de Jeude is likely to have acquired the Camper drawing from G.J. van Klinkenberg (1768/69-1841), who in turn must have got it from the custodian of the Stadholder's collection, when he (Prince William V) was already in exile in England. The Camper drawings in the Artis library are also traced back to Van Lidth de Jeude and Van Klinkenberg (via the second Vrolik sale in 1868, and the auction of "Dr. P...." in 1887; "Dr . P...." very probably is Dr. F.P.L. Pollen, 1842-1886, who in the years 1862-1866 materially contributed to the zoological exploration of Madagascar). It is argued that because of the presence of the signature, the Leiden drawing is the original and the Amsterdam drawing a copy, either done by Camper himself or somebody else. Some drawings in the Rijksprentenkabinet (Amsterdam), presented in 1940 by the surgeon Dr. J.C.J. Bierens de Haan (1867-1951) may be preliminary sketches for the red crayon pictures here discussed.
Document typearticle
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