C.19th German engraving of Australia’s unique echidna and platypus. ECHIDNA The first sighting and drawing of an Echidna was made on 9th February, 1792 by George Tobin, who had been third lieutenant on Bligh’s second voyage at Adventure Bay. “The … Read Full Description

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In good condition.


Original Engraving.

Image Size: 

x 230mm

Paper Size: 

x 242mm
Kloakentiere. - Antique Print from 1895

Genuine antique



C.19th German engraving of Australia’s unique echidna and platypus.


The first sighting and drawing of an Echidna was made on 9th February, 1792 by George Tobin, who had been third lieutenant on Bligh’s second voyage at Adventure Bay. “The only animals seen, were the Kangaroo, and a kind of sloth about the size of a roasting pig with a proboscis two of three inches in length.”

By July 1792 George Shaw had provided the first scientific description and included it among the giant anteaters, Myrmecophaga, of South America. Several other names were proposed and found to be invalid before Illger coined the name Tachyglossus in 1811.

Modern common names: Short-beaked Echidna, Echidna, Spiny Anteater or Porcupine.
Modern binomial name: Tachyglossus aculeatus
First described: Shaw 1792
Distribution: Australia wide (mainland).



The first description and known sighting was from a captured animal in November 1797 by David Collins on the Hawkesbury River. When the first skin sent by John Hunter, reached Europe it was thought to be a hoax and during the nineteenth century is was suspected that it lay eggs, but it was not until 1884 that final proof was obtained.

1797 First sighting and capture November 

‘….. made up the whole catalogue of anumals that were known at this time, with the exception which must now be made of an amphibious animal, of the mole species, one of which had been lately found on the banks of a lake near the Hawkesbury.

1798 First published account Blumenbach

Bertuch in volume 3 of his Bilder Buch fer Kinder published in 1798, contained an illustration of the Platypus, (Plate LXIV) and inluded a description and used the classified name given by the German naturalist, Johann Blumenbach’s, which had not been published by Blumenbach at that time. Blumenbach had classified the Platypus as Ornithorhynchus paradoxus and published his description and illustration in his Abbildungen naturhistorischer Gegenstande, v.5, no.41 in 1800 two years later than Bertuch’s. Blumenbach had been unaware that George Shaw had already given it the name Platypus anatinus. However, Platypus had already been shown to be used for the scientific name for a genus of Ambrosia beetles so Blumenbach’s scientific name for the genus was used.

1799 Shaw’s description 

‘…Of all the Mammalia yet known it seems the most extraordinary in its conformation, exhibiting the perfect resemblance of the beak of a Duck engrafted on the head of a quadraped. So accurate is the similitude, that, at first view, it naturually excites the idea of some deceptive preparation by artificial means… Shaw’s description was considered until recently to be the first.

1800 Not a Hoax 

Of this most extraordinary genus the first description appeared in the Naturalist’s Miscellany; but as the individual there described was the only one which had been seen…… Two more specimens, however, having been very lately sent over from New Holland, by Governor Hunter, to Sir Joseph Banks, the suspicions before mentioned are now completely dissipated.

Common names:             Platypus, duck-billed Platypus
Modern binomial name   Ornithorhynchus anatinus
First described                 Shaw 1799
Distribution                       SA, VIC, TAS, NSW & QLD

Gustav Ludwig Heinrich Mutzel (1839 - 1893)

Mutzel was a German artist, famous for his mammal and bird paintings, including the illustrations for the second edition of Alfred Edmund Brehm's Thierleben and Richard Lydekker's The Royal Natural History. He was the son of the painter Heinrich Mutzel and his wife Luise Pauline Friedrichs. He attended the French high school in his hometown. Subsequently Mutzel began to study at the Academy of Art at age 18 and was, amongst others, a pupil of the painter Eduard Daege. On 1 November 1865 Mützel married Anna Schönherr in Berlin and raised three children; Hans, Walter and Gertrud. Mützel and his wife settled in Königsberg in the Neumark, where he was active as photographer. To keep up with the latest technical developments in photography Mützel and his family moved to Berlin in 1870. After the Franco-German War Mützel started illustrating some of the more important encyclopedias of the time. He created a large number of illustrations for the German Ornithological Society, having been a member since 1874. Mutzel's diverse interests led also to his membership of the German Society for Anthropology, Ethnology and Prehistory and the Association of Berlin artists. The Nielsen's che Choral Society awarded him with an honorary membership. Gustav Mutzel died on 29 October 1893.

View other items by Gustav Ludwig Heinrich Mutzel

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