SCHLEGEL, Hermann (1804-84), A. H. VERSTER van Wulverhorst and Joseph WOLF (1820-1899, artist)
Traité de Fauconnerie
Leiden and Dusseldorf: Chez Arnz & Comp, 1844-1853. Two parts in one volume, folio. (27 1/2 x 20 1/8 inches). Tinted lithographed title-page, on india paper mounted, incorporating 11 vignettes illustrative of falconry after and by J. B. Sonderland, 16 plates (comprising: 12 hand-coloured lithographed plates of falcons after J. Wolf [backgrounds after C. Scheuren or G. Saal] by Wendel, 2 hand-coloured lithographed plates of falconry accoutrements after and by Portman and von Wouw, 2 tinted lithographed plates, on India paper mounted, of heron hawking after Sonderland by J. Dillmann).
Expertly bound to style in half green morocco and period green cloth covered boards, spine gilt with semi-raised bands
First edition of "the finest work on falconry which has ever been produced; not only on account of the beauty of the plates, wherein the hawks are depicted life-size and of the natural colours, but also for the general accuracy of the letterpress" (Harting).
The very beautiful plates include 10 after Joseph Wolf which "are by far the finest ever produced in any book on falconry. It is impossible to describe the mellowness and beauty of the colourings" (Schwerdt). Wolf is described by Jackson as an "artist who ranks among the world's finest animal painters" and the present images were largely responsible for launching his international career. "Wolf's success lay in his sketching from life after painstaking study of the anatomy of the animals, and his care to get the structure correct and then paint fur and feather with extraordinary fidelity. But all the marvelous technique and deep knowledge was subservient to his ability to capture a moment in the life of his subject and preserve it in paint. Archibald Thorburn said of Wolf's pictures, 'There is an indescribable feeling of life and movement attained by no other wildlife artist'" (Jackson). Sir Edwin Landseer went further, describing Wolf as "without exception, the best all-round animal painter that ever lived."
The letterpress text includes extensive sections on the terms used in falconry, on the equipment used, descriptions of the birds that were currently being flown, and those that were not used. The text continues with recommended methods of catching or taking a suitable bird, how this bird should be treated and how it should be trained, and then how it should be flown. This is followed by a lengthy historical survey of falconry in Europe, Africa, Russia, Asia and the Americas. The text finishes with a 6pp. bibliography of works on falconry and an explanation of the plates.
Cottrell 24; Fine Bird Books (1990) p. 138; Harting 194; Christine Jackson Dictionary of Bird Artists of the World ;, p.496; Landwehr 174; Nissen IVB 832; Schwerdt II:150; Thiébaud 833; Zimmer 554.