Sunday, 4 February 2018

Jacob Andreas Friedrich’s engraving from Scheuchzer’s “Physica Sacra”, 1731

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.)

“Ostrich, Owl, Hawk” (Struthio, Noctua, Accipiter), 1731, plate CCXLIV (244), published by Johann Jakob Scheuchzer (1672–1733) in what is one of the most lavishly produced (and expensive) books devoted to the Bible: “Physica Sacra: Iconibus Aeneis” (Sacred Physics: Smaller Icons), Part 2, pp. 412–14 (2 adjoining pages).

Engraving on laid paper with full margins as published and with the adjoining letterpress text page with watermark.
Size: (each page) 35.8 x 22.7 cm; (plate) 31.4 x 20.1 cm
Lettered on plate at upper-right: “TAB. CCXLIV”
Lettered on plate below the image: (left) “LEVITICI Cap. XI. v. 16. / Struthio, Noctua, Accipiter.”; (right) the same text as inscribed on the lower left but written in German.
Inscribed on plate at lower-right corner: "I. A. Fridrich sculps.”

See another engraving from this publication at Sanders of Oxford:

Condition: a superb lifetime impression that is crisp, well-inked and well-printed. The engraving and its accompanying page of letterpress text is still joined by the glue of publication and both pages are in excellent/near pristine condition (i.e. there are no tears, holes, folds—beyond the centre fold of publication—nevertheless, there are faint spots and age-toning, especially near the edges).

I am selling this very full composition of birds—a veritable ornithologist’s treasure trove—from one of the most lavish publications ever made for AU$102 (currently US$80.97/EUR64.96/GBP57.33 at the time of posting this listing). Postage for this print is extra and will be the actual/true cost.

If you are interested in purchasing this remarkable print, please contact me ( and I will send you a PayPal invoice to make the payment easy.

This is one of the original engravings published in the first (1731) edition of Scheuchez’s almost legendary, “Physica Sacra” (Sacred Physics). I use the word “legendary” as very few books were created with such care, expense and with so many engraved illustrations as this extraordinary book. 

For those unfamiliar with “Physica Sacra”, this huge publication was based on what we now know to be a flawed premise: Scheuchez believed that he had irrefutable proof that the events described in the Old Testament were all true because he had the fossilised remains of a victim of the Great Flood (see Genesis chapters 6–9). Sadly, when the “fossilised victim” was later examined by the French naturalist Georges Cuvier in 1811, Cuvier's findings revealed that the "victim" was in fact a large prehistoric salamander.

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