Broadsheet: “Presenting Wild Animals: Two Sea Lions, a White Whale-bear and a Long-tailed Monkey,” June 1754

Uncertain Artist | from Multimedia Library Collection:
Art & Graphics

Broadsheet from etching: ‘Presenting Wild Animals: Two Sea Lions, a White Whale-bear and a Long-tailed Monkey,’ June 1754. (Uncertain artist. Amsterdam: Petrus Schenk, 1725? Courtesy of the Bavarian State Library.)

This broadsheet was used as a poster announcing a traveling menagerie of two Dutch mariners, originally from the city of Amsterdam, who presented polar bears and other animals caught in Greenland (German “Grönland” and formerly “Crulanien”) in a hut especially built for this purpose. The event must have been sensational around the late eighteenth century. Accordingly the effort put into the poster’s illustration is high: the graphic reproduction shows the icebear hunt in Greenland, several sailing ships and boats from that time, the long-tailed monkey mentioned in the title, and even a whale in the background. The poster dates from June 1754 and must have raised the interest of its audience by praising the hunters’ bravery and ability and describing the features of the wild animals as especially curious and wondrous. With kind permission of the Bavarian State Library. Broadside catalogue, call number: Res/Slg.Faust 57. Notes from the BSB catalogue: The original artwork is assumed to be an etching from the 16-part series “Kleine visserij” (small fishery) from Adolf van der Laan after drawings of Sieuwert van der Meulen, published around 1725 at Petrus Schenk in Amsterdam.