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September Vierentvvintich, sterck op mijn leden ...

  • Object type

  • Museum number


  • Title (object)

    • September Vierentvvintich, sterck op mijn leden ...
  • Description

    An elephant seen in profile facing right, exhibited in Antwerp in 1563; the elephant is ridden by a 'blackamoor' and is surrounded by spectators who tug its tail, point and prod Hand-coloured woodcut
    Verso: Plan of a mausoleum with circular groundplan; surrounded by annotations and impressions of inked leaves at right


  • Producer name

  • School/style

  • Date

    • 1550 (c.; verso)
    • 1563 (recto)
  • Production place

  • Materials

  • Technique

  • Dimensions

    • Height: 400 millimetres (sheet)
    • Width: 330 millimetres
    • Height: 285 millimetres (image)
    • Width: 315 millimetres
  • Inscriptions

      • Inscription Content

        Lettered on recto with title above and with the publication details below: "Gheprint Thantwerpen op die Kamerpoortbrugghe, inden gulden Voet, by my Jan Mollijns ghesworen Drucker ende Fiuersnijdere". Lettered with twenty lines of letterpress, in Dutch: "De Elifanten hebben meer verstants en memorien ...".
        (Information from Dr Sachiko Kusukawa) Inscribed on verso, in pen and brown ink, mentioning Francisucs Brahart a K[o]estlach Tirolensis and Johann Gottfried and their respective mottos: "As[s]ai avanza che fortuna" and "Lente festina" and "l'homme propose et dieu dispose" and the date 1572 twice. The lower inscriptions relate to the Counts of Wittgenstein, Solmes and Valkenburg.
  • Curator's comments

    The elephant shown is one that passed through Antwerp in 1563. This came from Ceylon or India to Portugal, and was given by Catherine of Austria to her Spanish grandson Don Carlos in 1562. It was then acquired by Emperor Maximilian II, and travelled by sea to Antwerp, and then walked, via Cologne and Olmutz, to Maximilians' menagerie at Kaiser Ebersdorf in Vienna. It was accompanied by its Indian mahout, who is shown riding on the animal holding an elephant hook. It lived until at least 1577.

    This is the only known impression of the print. It is pasted on a page from an album which was put together in the 16th century and later acquired by Hans Sloane (Sloane 5220); the collection is characterised by the unusual leaf nature-printing.. The surviving pages are now split between the British Library (Department of Manuscripts) and the British Museum.
    See also comment for S.6636.

    The etching pasted on the verso has been identified by Dr Sachiko Kusukawa (Trinity College, Cambridge) and Michael Waters (Institute of Fine Arts, New York University) as the ground plan of a mausoleum; from Jacques Androuet du Cerceau's "Temples à la manière antique" from around 1550. The elevation of the same building can be found on the verso of 1928,0310.98, from the same Sloane album 5220.

    Literature: Ingrid Faust, 'Zoologische Einblattdrucke und Flugschriften vor 1800, Band IV: Wale, Sirenen, Elefanten', Stuttgart, 2002, 648; H. Devisscher (ed.), 'Wonderlycke dieren op papier in de tijd van Plantin', Museum Plantin-Moretus/Prentenkabinet, Antwerpen, 2007, pp.189-191,; 'Elfenbeine aus Ceylon: Luxusgüter für Katharina von Habsburg (1507-1578)', Zürich, 2010,; Annemarie Jordan Schwend, 'The story of Suleyman: celebrity elephants and other exotica in Renaissance Portugal', 2010, chapter 3; Susan Dackerman et al.. 'Prints and the Pursuit of Knowledge in Early Modern Europe', Yale UP, 2011,


  • Bibliography

    • Muller 1863-1882 462 (cf) bibliographic details
    • Hollstein undescribed bibliographic details
  • Location

    Not on display (D+F XVIc Mounted Roy)

  • Exhibition history

    2007 May-Aug, Antwerp, Museum Plantin-Moretus, Wonderlycke dieren
    2010/11 Nov-Feb, Zürich, Museum Reitberg, Ivory from Ceylon: Renaissance Luxury
    2017 23 Feb - 9 Apr, Lisbon, Museu Nacional de Arte Antiga, Global City: Lisbon in the Renaissance

  • Subjects

  • Associated places

  • Associated events

    • Associated Event: Exhibition of an elephant in Antwerp
      1563 (24 September)
  • Acquisition name

  • Acquisition date


  • Acquisition notes

    Extracted from Sloane 5220-18, and transferred from the Department of Manuscripts in 1928.

  • Department

    Prints & Drawings

  • Registration number


  • Additional IDs

    • Sl,5220.18
An elephant that was exhibited in Antwerp in 1563; the elephant, to r, is ridden by a 'blackamoor' and is surrounded by spectators who tug its tail, point and prod (size of image 285.00 x 315.00 mm); on the verso are some nature printed leaves around the

An elephant that was exhibited in Antwerp in 1563; the elephant, to r, is ridden by a 'blackamoor' and is surrounded by spectators who tug its tail, point and prod (size of image 285.00 x 315.00 mm); on the verso are some nature printed leaves around the

Image description



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Object reference number: PPA84354

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