A Beautiful Group of Five Hand-Coloured Copper Plates of Fish From “A Collection of Voyages and Travels” c.1730

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Origin: English
Period: George II
Provenance: Unknown
Date: c.1730
In Frames: 20.25” wide x 15.5” high (each)

The large and beautifully hand-coloured decorative group of five copper plates being the original illustrations published in London around c.1730 and certainly between 1704-47 for "A Collection of Voyages and Travels, some now first Printed from Original Manuscripts, others now first Published in English" By Awnsham and John Churchill, and drafted by Johannes Kip, showing a wonderful and vibrant array of river and sea fish, many from the waters around Guinea and each surviving from the first half of eighteenth century England.

The plates are in generally good overall order. There is some light discoloration marks to the page edges in places and some light tattiness with some evidence of fold marks but the fish all remain incredibly vibrant. The frames and ivory card mounts are late twentieth century and in keeping.

The wonderful array of fish shown include many rather humorous annotations and include the following:  

Vol V. p.19 Pg 224
Vol II p.41
Vol II p.42
Vol II p.286 42
Vol II 291 44

The whispery at the sea devil that on the part of the sea devil
A poiposie of the Gulf of Guinea and his pilots
A boneto
The cat fish
A flying fish
A balahow
The pilote of the devil of the sea
A flying fish with great wings


The sea Hogg
A sea lowee
The great cock
An ealponte
A lamprey
Pen fish
James everss
Elephants nose
Crooked back

The five eyes
The sea shrimp
Land Crabb
Klip gerneel
A sea batt
Horn fish
The sea catt
The pide fish
Pitt fish
The soft fish
River shrimp
The sea crabb

A hornfish of natural bigness
A mullet of the bay of rufisco
A sort of cray fish very large
The dangerous pricking horn of this fish
The cat fish of cape verdo
The stingray spotted
A sole of cape verdo
The only one of a scuttle fish almost transparent
An ancornet at scuttle fish
Unknown fish
A grondin at grumbler
A kind of barbeue
A cape verdo moon
Unknown but is much like a large pyke
A sarde with a great back

Yellow tail
The grunter
Ravens back
The sea cock
A white fish
The Indian pine
A sea eel
The kings fish

A collection of voyages and travels, some now first printed from original manuscripts, others translated out of foreign languages, and now first published in English: had a general preface, giving an account of the progress of navigation, from its first beginning to the perfection the whole illustrated with a great number of useful maps, and cuts, all engraven on copper, printed by assignment from Messrs Churchill, for John Walthoe etc., London. These illustrations would have accompanied the writer’s visit and would have also seen illustrations on the flora, fauna and other wildlife seen at the time.

Johannes Kip (b Amsterdam, 1653; d London, 1722) was a Dutch draughtsman, engraver and dealer, active in England. His earliest dated engravings are of 1672 and he supplied numerous plates for books published from that date onwards. His work brought him into contact with the court of William of Orange and in 1686 he produced six plates depicting William of Orange, his Wife and Attendants near The Hague. Shortly after the Glorious Revolution of 1688 Kip followed the court to England. After settling in Westminster, he worked extensively for London publishers, engraving works after Francis Barlow, Caius Gabriel Cibber and other London-based artists such as the work we see here.  Kip also dealt in prints from his house in St John’s Street in Westminster.

Weirdly wonderful and whimsical, this beautiful group gives a fascinating insight into the world of the ocean through a Georgian eye.

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