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This stunning, originally hand-colored folio lithograph is from Daniel Giraud Elliots work A Monograph of the Felidae or Family of the Cats. The work was printed by Taylor & Francis in London between 1878 and 1883. It was published by the author for subscibers. The original drawings were by Josef Wolf and lithographed by Joseph Smit.
Wolf’s artistry truly captured the beauty and raw power of the cat family. Elliot said of Josef Wolf, that his “…marvellous power of delineating animal life renders him unequalled in our time” (Dedication to A Monograph of the Phasianidae or Family of the Pheasants.) Sir Edwin Landseer said of Wolf that he is “without exception the best all-around animal artist who ever lived. When a good many artists of the present day are forgotten, Wolf will be remembered.”
Elliot wrote in the preface “Among the Families which constitute the Class Mammalia no more attractive one can be found than that of Felidae, as its members possess in the highest degree a beauty, both of form and colouring, most gratifying to the eye, and are also endowed with physical strength and weapons of offence not surpassed… by any known creatures now living upon the earth. The Family comprises not only the largest and most ferocious of the beasts of prey, but also the graceful little animal that delights to make its home within man’s abode.”
Daniel Giraud Elliot (1835-1915) was a prominent American zoologist. He was one of the founders of the American Museum of Natural History in New York and the American Ornithologists Union. Elliot was also curator of zoology at Chicagos Field Museum.