Schelvis – Markus Elieser Bloch, 1782-1795

THE HADOCK “Gadus Aeglefinus/Der Schelfisch/L’Aigrefin/The Hadock.” (plate 62), copper engraving made by Ludwig Schmidt after the drawing of Krüger jr,…

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Gadus Aeglefinus/Der Schelfisch/L’Aigrefin/The Hadock.” (plate 62), copper engraving made by Ludwig Schmidt after the drawing of Krüger jr, for Markus Elieser Bloch’s “Allgemeine Naturgeschichte der Fische” published in Berlin between 1782 and 1795. With original hand colouring. Size: 19 x 38 cm.

According to Bloch in his Allgemeine Naturgeschichte der Fische, a 12-volume, beautifully illustrated comprehensive work on fishes: “the hadock lives in the North Sea, where it is caught in large quantities, especially in autumn, not far from Heiligeland, and transported to Hamburg. It is remarkable that the shellfish crosses the Sound into the Baltic Sea just as little as the cod does from the other side; because they are often found in these seas. The haddock is also found around Holland, East Frisia and in the Channel, but most frequently around England, where it appears in droves and usually visits one coast after the other. They often appear in such large flocks that, so they say, that three fishermen in an area of an English mile fill their boats with them twice a day. For this reason they are so cheap that you can buy twenty of the largest for five to eight groschen and the smaller for eight pfennigs, sometimes for half that price. The largest are usually seen from November through January, and the smaller ones can be seen from that time through May. In Greenland they are mostly in the depths and come to the surface towards evening, especially when the water is wild, where the fishermen then catch them; sometimes they also leap over the water, and are not infrequently prey for the seals stalking them. They also often pull them out of the crevices with their paws, where they tend to appear for fresh air.”

Bloch’s labour on the “Allgemeine Naturgeschichte der Fische” occupied a considerable portion of his life, and is considered to have laid the foundations of the science of ichthyology. The publication was encouraged by a large subscription, and it passed rapidly through five editions in German and in French. Bloch made little or no alteration in the systematic arrangement of Peter Artedi and Carl Linnaeus, although he was disposed to introduce into the classification some modifications depending on the structure of the gills. To the number of genera before established, he found it necessary to add nineteen new ones, and he described 276 species new to science, many of them inhabitants of the remotest parts of the ocean, and by the brilliancy of their colours, or the singularity of their forms, as much objects of popular admiration as of scientific curiosity.

Bloch is considered the most important ichthyologist of the 18th century.

Price: Euro 350,-