Lot 114: Joseph Smit (1836-1929) & Pierre Jacques Smit (1863-1960)
June 4, 2001
London, United Kingdom
Description: Saxicola torquata Saxicola rubetra & Oenanthe oenanthe (Stonechat, Whinchat & Wheatear); Pyromelana orix & Steganura paradisea (Red Bishop & Paradise Willowbird); Cinnyricinculus leucogaster and others (Amethyst Starling and other Glossy Starlings) the first signed 'J. Smit' (lower right); the others 'P.J. Smit' (lower left or lower right), early labels mounted on verso of each backboard, inscribed in blue pencil 'Wheatear, Whincahat, & Stonechat Section VI. Facing page 480'; 'Weaver Birds Section VI. Facing page 362' and 'Glossy Starlings Section VI. Facing page 349' pencil and watercolour, framed and glazed each circa 70 x 50 inches (198 x 130mm.) (image area) Three fine original ornithological watercolours, two of highly decorative African species, being artwork for Richard Lydekker's Royal Natural History (London: 1893-1896). Joseph Smit and his son Pierre-Jacques were prolific artists, working in London, who contributed to many important zoological publications. The present selection were all reproduced in vol.III of the Royal Natural History published between 1894 and 1895 (the references to page numbers on the early labels on the verso of each picture refer to the resultant plate's position in this volume). Lydekker's populist work was completed in 6 volumes and included examples of the work of a number of the greatest natural history illustrators of the period, including J. Wolf, W. Kuhnert and F.W Frohawk. In the 1880s and 1890s both father and son were also employed on producing the artwork for the monumental British Museum (Natural History) Catalogue of the Birds in the...Museum. It was published in 27 octavo volumes between 1874 and 1898, edited by Dr. R. Bowdler Sharpe, and illustrated with 387 plates displaying 540 species which had not been previously reproduced, or else not figured satisfactorily. Cf. C. Jackson Bird Illustrators (1975) pp.75-84; cf. Nissen ZBI 2612. Christie's would like to thank Ann Datta for her in the assistance cataloguing this lot. (3).