Rare equine art books hit the market

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A plate from  Abbildungen Königlich Württembergischer Gestütts Pferde von orientalischen Racen
A plate from Abbildungen Königlich Württembergischer Gestütts Pferde von orientalischen Racen.

An early arabian horse book from Germany and another that is described as the finest 19th-century Dutch work on horses are among those being offered in the Winter Catalogue of Asher Rare Books in The Netherlands.

The book showcasing the Royal Württemberg Stud, the first Arabian horse stud in Europe, Abbildungen Königlich Württembergischer Gestütts Pferde von orientalischen Racen (translated as “Images of the Royal Württemberg stud farm horses of oriental races”), has a price tag of €65,000.

Commissioned by the board of the Württemberg Stud, it is the first and only edition, and features what is described as an “almost unobtainable series of large format plates”, showing the stud’s purebred Arabian horses with decorative oriental backgrounds. It is stored in a modern suede leather case.

The plates constitute 18 extremely early examples of chalk lithographs, by L. Ekeman-Allesson after R. Kuntz (1797-1848), who was known for his “excellent depictions of horses”. Throughout his brief career, he studied thoroughbreds in England, Hungary and Paris as well as in Germany. In 1832 he became painter to the Court of Karlsruhe, Baden; he suffered a stroke in 1846 and died in the newly founded Illenau mental hospital.

The present series was issued in three parts, from 1823 to 1824, each with 6 chalk lithographs. Wenceslaus Rzewusky wrote the descriptions of the horses.

“Of the utmost rarity, no copy of the complete series with all three parts as present here are traceable in auction records,” Ashers says.

Abbildungen Königlich Württembergischer Gestütts Pferde von orientalischen Racen features on page 25 of the catalogue.

A plate from Abbildungen Königlich Württembergischer Gestütts Pferde von orientalischen Racen.
A plate from Abbildungen Königlich Württembergischer Gestütts Pferde von orientalischen Racen.

Another rare old horse book on offer is Paardenrassen – Kunstalbum van een en veertig afbeeldingen naar schilderijen van Otto Eerelman (translated as “Horse breeds –  Art album of 41 images after paintings by Otto Eerelman”), described as the finest 19-century Dutch work on horses. It is on page 18 of the catalogue.

The “extremely rare first edition, published in a very limited edition”, is considered one of the most famous art books on horses. Descriptions of the horses are given by veterinarian E.A.L. Quadekker, on 41 chromo-lithographs after paintings by the celebrated Dutch animal painter Otto Eerelman (1839-1926).

The chromo-lithographed plates were produced under supervision of the artist by J.L. Goffart, with the result that the plates resembled the original oil paintings as closely as possible. “The lifelike plates are indeed of impressive beauty, depicting the thoroughbreds of the world, such as Persian, Arabian, Turkish, Belgian, Andalusian and Lipizzaner horses,” Ashers says.

Each plate is accompanied by a four-page account of the history, development, physics, breeding and training of the horse depicted.

» The full catalogue can be viewed here. (PDF)

A plate from Abbildungen Königlich Württembergischer Gestütts Pferde von orientalischen Racen.
A plate from Abbildungen Königlich Württembergischer Gestütts Pferde von orientalischen Racen.

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