Gallery of prints for sale

Thursday 16 February 2017

IA Fridich’s engraving of owls and pelicans, “Bubo, Noctua, Onocrotalus”

Jacob Andreas Friedrich Snr. (aka IA Fridrich—the name with which he signs his prints) (1684–1751) (Note: Friedrich Snr. shares the same first names as his son, Jacob Andreas Friedrich Jr. [1714-1779], who signs his prints: "Jac.Andr. Fridrich”, hence my attribution of this plate to the father.)

“Bubo, Noctua, Onocrotalus: TAB. CCXLVI—Levitici Cap. XI. V. 17”, 1733, from Johann Jacob Scheuchzer’s (1672–1733) “Phyica Sacra” or “Physique sacrée, ou Histoire naturelle de la Bible, traduite du latin de M. Jean Jacques Scheuchzer,... enrichie de figures en taille douce, gravées par les soins de Jean André Pfeffel”

Engraving on laid paper with full margins as published
Size: (sheet) 35.9 x 24.1 cm, (plate) 31.4 x 19.9 cm
Lettered at upper right: “TAB. CCXLVI.
Lettered below the image: (right) “LEVITICI Cap. XI. V. 17. / Bubo, Noctua, Onocrotalus.” ; (left) the same text as inscribed on the lower right but written in German.
Inscribed at lower left margin edge: "I. A. Fridrich sculps.”
Condition: superb impression with age-toning to the left edge: otherwise in excellent (near pristine) condition.

I am selling this amazing and almost magical concoction of imagery touching on natural history, landscape, medallion and numismatics by Friedrich the elder (see note above) for a total cost of ... [deleted] including postage and handling to anywhere in the world.
If you are interested in purchasing this visually arresting print, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy. (Note that I have other prints from the same series available in the discussion, “Expression by juxtaposition: Kilian, Pintz, Orlik & Carracci” (  

This print has been sold

Few prints catch the eye like this amazing mashup of imagery.

I simply love the way the owl perches itself with rather sharp looking talons on the portrayed ornate frame of the image. To my eyes, this owl acts as an intermediary trompe-l'œil device (i.e. a trick illusion designed to fool the eye) between the physical world in which the viewer inhabits and the pictorial world inhabited by pelicans and an alpine scene beyond.

There is a lot of information available about the 700 plates (of which this is one) illustrating Scheuchzer’s famous “Phyica Sacra; for example, “’Physica Sacra,’ Johannes Jacob Scheuchzer, 1731: Guest Post by Morbid Anatomy’s Joanna Ebenstein” (   Sadly, the underlining reason behind Scheuchzer’s text and illustrations designed to correlate pseudo-science with the Old Testament scriptures is a little too bizarre and so I will leave the explanation to Wikipedia: “In his [Scheuchzer] ‘ Lithographia Helvetica’, he described fossils as ‘plays of nature’ or alternately as leftovers from the biblical Flood. Most famously, he claimed that a fossilized skeleton found in a Baden quarry was the remains of a human who had perished in the deluge. This claim, which seemed to verify the claims of Christian scripture, was accepted for several decades after Scheuchzer's death, until 1811, when French naturalist Georges Cuvier re-examined the specimen and showed that it was actually a large prehistoric salamander.” (

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