- Museum number
- Object: September Vierentvvintich, sterck op mijn leden ...
An elephant seen in profile facing right, exhibited in Antwerp in 1563; the elephant is ridden by a young African and is surrounded by spectators who tug its tail, point and prod
Verso: Plan of a mausoleum with circular groundplan; surrounded by annotations and impressions of inked leaves at right
- Production date
1550 (c.; verso)
Height: 285 millimetres (image)
Height: 400 millimetres (sheet)
Width: 315 millimetres
Width: 330 millimetres
- 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, cat.no. 648; H. Devisscher (ed.), 'Wonderlycke dieren op papier in de tijd van Plantin', exhib.cat. Museum Plantin-Moretus/Prentenkabinet, Antwerpen, 2007, pp.189-191, cat.no.72; 'Elfenbeine aus Ceylon: Luxusgüter für Katharina von Habsburg (1507-1578)', Zürich, 2010, cat.no.61; 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, cat.no.34.
- Not on display
- 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
- Associated events
- Associated Event: Exhibition of an elephant in Antwerp 1563 (24 September)
- Acquisition date
- Acquisition notes
- Extracted from Sloane 5220-18, and transferred from the Department of Manuscripts in 1928.
- Prints and Drawings
- Registration number
- Additional IDs
Miscellaneous number: Sl,5220.18