# 41187

WOLF, Josef (1820-1899)

[NATURAL HISTORY] Josef Wolf, animal painter : autograph letter signed, discussing the overpainting of an ornithological photograph. London, June 1870.

$775.00 AUD

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Manuscript in ink, 4 pp., octavo bifolium (175 x 110 mm); headed ’59 Berners Street, London, 17 June 1870′, and signed ‘J. Wolf’, the letter is addressed to an anonymous recipient (‘Dear Sir’), informing him that ‘The Photograph of the Great Bustard is in the hands of Mr. Smit’, and promising to let him know ‘when the colouring of the Bustard will be ready’, wishing Smit had been able to sight the skin of the bird, discussing the different markings and the difficulty of getting the correct colouring; he adds in his postscript: ‘I had just finished this when Mr Smit called with the photo – & the coloured Pattern of the bustard, which I think is a great improvement as compared with the one he did first – both (the Photo & the coloured proof) I send herewith per Book-Post.’; in fine condition.

Josef Wolf (1820-1899) was described by Sir Edwin Landseer as ‘without exception, the best all-round animal painter that ever lived.’ He was born in Mörz, Germany, and trained as a lithographer in Münster. Wolf arrived in London in 1848 where he worked as zoological illustrator in the natural history department at the British Museum. He contributed illustrations to John Gould’s Birds of Asia and Birds of Great Britain as well as illustrating important travel books by David Livingstone, Henry Walter Bates and Alfred Russel Wallace. His Zoological sketches, commissioned by the Council of the Zoological Society in 1852 to depict the exotic animals in the Society’s Vivarium in Regent’s Park, is one of the high points of nineteenth-century natural history illustration.