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Full text of "The life of Joseph Wolf, animal painter"

LIFE OF 



Joseph Woi 




Animal Painter 



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CODNELL UNIVED6ITY LIDDADY 



The Frederick A. Dice "09 
Memorial Book Fund 

Given by Frederick A. Qice. Jr. 



RETURN TO 
ALBERT R. MANN LIBRARY 

ITHACA, N. Y. 





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«M,f±,.?.!.l?S^Pf..Wolf, animal painter 




3 1924 002 096 166 




Cornell University 
Library 



The original of this book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 



http://www.archive.org/details/cu31924002096166 



The Life 

of 



Joseph Wolf 



THe 



LIFE OF 



Joseph Wolf 

ANIMAL PAINTER 

By A. H. Palmer 

(Author of 'I'he Life of Samuel Palmer) 
in.USTRMTFP. 

" WE SEE DISTINCTLY ONLY WHAT WE KNOW THOROUGHLY." 



Publifhecl by Longmans^ Green, £5? Co. 

LONDON AND NEW YORK 
(All Rights Rtjewed) 



PREFACE 



IT was in the pretty house which Mr. H. E. 
Dresser, the accompHshed ornithologist, had 
built himself in the midst of the Kentish 
orchards, that I first saw his old friend Mr. Joseph 
Wolf. 

One clay his host and hostess, having an engage- 
ment, asked me to walk over for a chat with their 
guest. It proved to be no ordinary visit, for I found 
him fascinating and interesting to a degree so remark- 
able, that I resolved, then and there, if no one else told 
the story of his life, to attempt it myself. Time passed 
on, and when, after many explorations of his portfolios, 
I had formed some estimate of Wolfs power, his ideal, 
and his life-long diligence in searching for knowledge, 
there arose a strange, strong longing to make these 
things more widely known — the feeling and poetry, 
the scholarly, unmercenary learning, and the consum- 
mate manipulative skill, all so loyally ministering to 
truth. 

Nevertheless, the story of a perfectly uneventful 
life, even without the shadows of adversity to give 
variety to its sunshine, must often be dull reading ; 



vi LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

but if the reader bears in mind the vaHant struggle of 
the Httle, untaught farmer's boy, the passionate love 
of wild animals, and the steadfast, self-denying loyalty 
to an artistic ideal in after-life, perhaps he will grant 
that such a career was worth some record. 

As to the result of that career, men eminent in 
science have ao-reed with men eminent in art ; but no 

o 

one person can realize the full scope of such attain- 
ments. The zoologist, the artist, the poet, will appre- 
ciate these attainments each from his own point of 
view. If my short record should be the cause of the 
best of Wolf's work, and what he has accomplished in 
each of its phases, becoming better recognised, it will 
not be futile. 

Speaking of a study I had been examining one 
day. Wolf said, " The thing you have put down there 
" I would swear to." It is not of all his works that he 
will speak thus. Some which, apparently, are very 
accurate and very beautiful, he will not swear to, 
either because he is not quite sure that they are abso- 
lutely true, or because the truth is not told as happily 
as he can tell it. In choosing from many hundreds 
of drawings and sketches the illustrations of this 
volume, I have confined myself to those which have 
come up to this standard of the artist's. The originals 
are as true as he could make them, although, in some 
cases, the scenes are imaginary ; but what I have said 
as to the inevitable inadequacy of any translations 
whatsoever of Wolf's work, I must repeat here em- 



PREFA CE vii 

phatically. To form an adequate idea of its merit, the 
work itself must, in every case, be studied. 

If we (the artist and I) have inadvertently chosen 
any work for reproduction as to the ownership of the 
copyright of which there may be a doubt, we trust 
that our full apology will be accepted. 

To the Duke of Argyll my thanks are due for his 
Grace's kind permission to include the original char- 
coal sketch of a Golden Eagle subject which was burnt 
at Inveraray.' 

I am greatly indebted to the Secretaries of the 
Zoological Society of London and The British Orni- 
thologists' Union for their courtesy in granting leave 
to reproduce some of Mr. Wolf's auto-lithographs in 
The Proceedings and The Ibis. 

I am also indebted to Messrs. H. E. Dresser, 
G. B. Eyre, Alfred Healey, Robert J. Howard, and 
J. H. Lea, for the privilege of giving representations 
of their drawings ; while to Mr. D. G. Elliot I owe 
permission to add two sketches drawn for his well- 
known Monographs of The Cats and The Pheasants. 

I must thank Messrs. Longmans & Co. not only for 
allowing me to include the sketches of Elephants, but 
for the liberality and thoughtful solicitude with which 
they have done their part. To them was entrusted 
the publication of the first work Joseph Wolf did in 
this country, and it is a happy circumstance that they 

' The Duke was so good as to inform me that a copy of the picture 
was made by one of his sons before its destruction. 



viii LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

should publish also the story of his life and labours 
while he is yet among us. 

To Mr. Dresser I owe much besides the loan 
of his drawings. But for him I might never have 
met Joseph Wolf; and with constant kindness he has 
.spared no pains to further my object. 



A. H. Palmer. 



Carn Towan, Sennen, Land's End : 
SeptcDibcr 1895. 



CONTENTS 



CHAPTER I 

Wolf's Kindred and Birthplace, page i. Childhood, 3. Unusual sus- 
ceptibility to the beauty of Nature, 5. His schooling, 5. He turns 
against farming, 6. His first artistic attempts and discouragements, 
7. The first Gun, 7. The Ravines of the Moselle, 9. Home-made 
Brushes, 10. His great powers of observation, 12. He snares 15irds 
of Prey for models, 15. He leaves home and becomes a Litho- 
grapher's Apprentice, 17. 

CHAPTER H 

Wolf's apprentice life, 18. Returns home and paints the Bird Minia- 
tures, Landscapes and Portraits, 21-24. Wine gauging, 25. He 
leaves home again, and calls on Dr. Rtippell, 25. His first encourage- 
ment, 26. Dr. Kaup, 27, A Commission from Professor Schlegel, 
28. He escapes military service, 29. Removes to Leyden, 30. 
Traitc dc Fauconneric, 31. He settles at Darmstadt, 33. Illustrates 
RiippelFs Birds of Norili East Africa, and contributes some Illustra- 
tions to the Fauna fapotiica, 34. He attends his first Art School, 35. 
Sport in the Forests and the use he made of it, 36-37. He studies 
Pterylography, 38. He studies anatomical detail, 40. He studies 
Blackgame, 42. The Woodcock sketches, 43. Kern's commission, 
44. The Darmstadt Oil-pictures, 46. He leaves Dai mstadt and joins 
the Antwerp Academy, 49. Is invited to London and declines, 50. 
He leaves German;-, 51. 

CHAPTER HI 

Wolf begins work at the British Museum for Gray's Genera of Birds, 53. 
His early friendships, 56. Science versus Art, 58. His power of 
revi\ifying preserved specimens, 61. He works for other artists, 63. 
Distinguished employers, 65. The Pre-Raphaelites' opinion, 67. 



LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

John Gould, 69. Wolf works for Gould, 72. Gould and Severtzoff, 
75. A Great Auk's Egg, 76. Wolf visits Norway with Gould and 
George Parker Bidder, 77. Gould's opinion of Wolf, 80. Wolf's 
first Academy Picture hung, 80. He goes to Knowsley Hall, 82. The 
Menagerie, 83. He visits Sutherlandshire and studies Ptarmigan, 88. 
Visits Guisachan and studies the Golden Eagle, 91. His dislike to 
" Grand ^'isits," 93. The Proceedings of The Zoological Society, 94- 
The importance of Backgrounds, loi. The Transactions of The 
Zoological Society, 102. '1 lie Ibis, 105. Naturalists and Art, 107. 
Tlie Zoological Sketches, 109. Elliot's Monographs, 112. Dresser's 
Birds of Europe, 115. 

CHAPTER IV 

Wolf begins to work for the Publishers and visits A. E. Knox, 116. 
The Poets of the Woods and Feathered Favourites, 117. Anderson's 
Lake N Gaini, \\(). Vwmgsione's Missionary Travels, 123. Dray- 
son's Sporting Scenes amongst the Kaffirs, 124. More Academy 
Pictures, 125. "Jerfalcons striking a Kite,' 126. Eagles more 
picturesque than Falcons, 128. Feathers and Flight, 129-31. The 
Sketches for Oswell, 133. Wolf's hatred of so-called "Sport" and 
of Sporting Subjects, 137. " The Aggressor shall not succeed," 140. 
Wolf removes to Berners Street, 142. His Aviaries, 143. His annual 
holidays, 147. His snow subjects, 149. He visits Handa and the 
]5ass Rock, 151. His work for Routledge's Poets, 153. Gosse's 
Romance of Natural History, 156. Tennent's Sketches of the Natural 
History of Ceylon, 159. Johns' British Birds, 161. Baldwin's African 
Hunting, 165. Wood's Natural History, 167. Wallace's Malay 
Archipelago and Campbell's Indian fournal, 169. Wolfs work for 
the Illustrated Periodicals, 169. 

CHAPTER V 

Wolf's Large Charcoal Drawings, 173. The Gei-inan Athenajum Sub- 
jects, 174. His humorous Designs, 180. He frequents the Zoological 
Gardens and his safeguard maxims in using them, 182-4. He rarely 
sketches animals in motion, 186. Professor Owen's MonograpJi of 
the Gorilla, 188. An Experiment with a Fox, 190. Wolf is intro- 
duced to Darwin, 192. " The Laughing Monkey," 193. Wolfs inde- 
pendence of thought, 196. Darwin and the Bullfinch, 197. The Life 
and Habits of Wild Animals and its reception by the Press, 198. 
Wood-engraving and Mystery, 202. Wood-engraving and Process- 
work, 204. "The Night Attack," 209. "Families of Lions," 2ti. 



CONTENTS xi 

Wolfs Mistakes, 212. Commissions, 213. Cui bono? 214. He 
reaches his Prime, 215. Joins the Institute of Painters in Water- 
colours, and exhibits "Broken Fetters,-' 216. His reasons for not 
exhibiting often, 218. He removes to The Avenue, Fulham Road, 
and designs " Inquisitive Neighbours," 220. His Clay Models, 221. 
He paints the Queen's Bullfinch, 223. 

CHAPTER VI 

Woi.F leaves Fulham for Primrose Hill Studios, 225. His personal 
appearance, 226. The Studio Blackbirds, 227. His Garden, 22!^. 
His love of spring-time, 229. The Studio, 230. The great Box- 
portfolios and their contents, 231. The Subjects on the Easels, 234. 
A Notable Critic, 235. What Wolf has most suffered from, 235. 
Instances of his rapidity, 237. " A Row in the Jungle," 238. Scant;- 
material to work from, 240. A notable Sofa and its contents, 241. 
The Cabinet of Sketches from Life, 245. Wolf's simple bachelor 
life, 247. His vigorous Conversation, 248. His opinion of con- 
temporary Zoological Art, 248. The Zoological Draughtsman's Back- 
grounds, 251. Wolfs favouiite subjects and best works, 252. "Arctic 
Summer," 254. His colour harmonies, 255. German or English? 
257. Nothing like Smoking, 258. His love for Children, 259. He 
pays the Author a Country Visit, 26D. His skill with the Riile, 262. 
His knowledge of birds' notes and great keenness of sight and 
hearing, 263. Backgrounds and Accessories, 265. His knowledge 
of detail is troublesome, 266. Charcoal his favourite material, 269. 
His water-colour method, 271. His Eclecticism, 274. His un- 
mercenary Ideal, 277. To compare him with otherartists impossible, 
279. Mr. Dresser's opinion, 283. Professor Newton's opinion, 2S4. 
Mr. Thorburn's opinion, 286. Mr. Charles Whymper's opinion, 286. 



APPENDIX, 290 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS 



PLATES 



Joseph Wolf aged seventy-two . . . Frontispiece 

Photogravure from a photograph by the Author. 
Age Tofacep. i 

An old Stag lagging behind the other Deer. From the 
charcoal drawing in the possession of Mr. G. B. Eyre. 
1872. 

PaNYPTILA SASXri-JEROM/E „ 5 

A new species of Swift from Guatemala. The nest is com- 
posed entirely of the seeds of a certain plant cemented 
togi ther, and hung from the under surface of an overhanging 
rock by the sali\'a of die bird. The structure is twent\'- 
six inches long by si.\ inches in diameter. From the auto- 
lithograph in The Proceedings of llic Zoologieal Soeietv. 
1863. XXIII. 

The Shoe-billed Stork {Balceniccps rex) . 

A gigantic grallatorial Bird found only on the L^pper Nile. 
Total length 67 inches. From the auto-lithograph in T/ie 
Proceedings of I lie Zoological Society. 1851. Aves. XXX\', 

Fishing in the Shallows 

White-headed Eagle [Haliactvs Icucoceplialus) and Salmon 
From the charcoal drawing in the Artist's pos,-;ession. 

ACCIPITER COLLARIS :, 22 

"An undescribed species of Hawk from New Granada." 
From the auto-lithograph in The Ilns. i860, \'I. 

Caprimulgus VEXILLARIUS „ 30 

Africa. I'rom the auto-lithograph in The Ibis. 1864. II. 



xiv LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

Nasiturna PUSIO {natural size) To face p. ,36 

A new Parrot from the Saloman Islands. From the auto- 
lithograph in The Proccedirigi of the Zoological Society. 
1865. XXXV. 

Caprimulgus TAMARICJS ., 44 

Dead Sea. From the auto-lithograph in 7^/;<r /(^/.r. 1866. II. 

Spizaetus nanus „ 48 

New species. Borneo. From the auto-lithograph in The 
Ibis. 1868, I. 

Solitary „ 52 

Rough-legged Buzzard (,'//-£ 7/ ;7'«/.v /rfj^/7///.f). From a char- 
coal drawing in the Author's possession, 

Eleonora's Falcon iHypotricrchis eleonors) . . „ 5S 

Madagascar and adjacent islands. From the auto-lithograph 
in The Ibis. 1869. XVI. 

ASTVR CRICF.ICEPS „ 62 

Celebes. From the auto-lithograph in The Ibis. 1864. V. 

G?;rmain's Polyplf.ctron {Polyplectron geniiaini) . ,, 69 

Cochin China. P'rom the auto-lithograph in The Ibis. 1866. 

BLtBO FASClOLATi'S ,, 76 

An African Horned Owl (not quite adult) ; ne\'er pre\"iously 
brought to Europe. From the auto-lithograph in T/ie Pro- 
ceedings of the Zoological Sxiely. 1863. XXXIII. 

L'CL'COPrERNlS PRlNCr.PS ,, go 

A new accipitrine bird from mountains in Costa Rica. l'"rom 
the auto-lithograph in The Proceedings of the Zoological 
Society. 1865. XXIV. 

Tregelapuvs spekii ., 85 

East Africa. From the auto-lithogra]Dh in The Proceedings 
of the Zoological Society. 1864. XII. 

PiTHECIA MONACHU.S ,, 92 

From the auto-lithograph in The Proceedings of the Zoological 
Sociely. 1862. XXXVII. 

f).iCTVLOPSILA TRIVIRCATA $ ,, 97 

Aru Islands. From the auto-lithograph in The Proceedings 
of the Zoological Society. 1858. Mammalia. LXIII. 

Df.ad Aye Aye [Chiromys niadagascariensis) . „ 103 

Outline of a specimen which had lived in the gardens of the 
Zoological Society, illustrating the Artist's method of re- 
cording the measurements of dead animals. The reproduc- 
tion is from a chalk drawing in the .Vuthor's possession, 
of the natural size ; that is, from nostril to tip of t.nil in a 
straight line, twenty-six inches. 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS xv 

The Eastern Red-footed Hobby (Eryihropus 

amiirensis). $ 5 Juv. Natal .... To face p. 106 

From the auto-lithograph in Tlu Ibis. 1868. Plate II. 

Feus macrusceloides „ 11 r 

Nepal, India, From the auto-lithograph in The Prucc'cdi/ii;! 
if the Zoological Society. 1853. Mammalia. XXXVIII. 

Wmy.vt.S' Vn-EAl.A^T {Phasiamts rcevesi) . ... „ 114 

From the original charcoal sketch for the lithograph in 
Mr. D. G. 'E.W'mt^s Monograph of the Pka.ua/iida'. U'ith his 
permission. In the Artist's possession. 

The Va^THY.v. {Felis pardu.s) ,, 116 

The larger and lighter variety found in India and Morocco. 
From the original charcoal sketch for the lithograph in 
Mr. D. G. Elliot's Monograph of the Felidce. With his 
permission. In the y\rtist's possession. 

The Pallid Harrier (Circus swainsoni) ... „ 122 

I'"roni the original sketch in charcoal-grey for the lithograph 
in Mr. H. E. Dresser's Birds of Europe. In his posses- 
sion. 1877. 

The Mar.sh Wi\v,v.\v,v. (Circus ccnigi/iosiis) ... „ 124 

I'rom the original sketch in charcoal grey for the lithograph 
in Mr. H. \L. Dresser's Birds of Europe. In his posses- 
sion. 1877. 

Golden 'S.kC\JE.(Aquila chrysactus) .... „ 128 

J'rom a charcoal study for a picture commissioned by the 
Duke of Argyll. With his Grace's permission. In the 
Artist's possession. 

".Sport" „ 135 

From a charcoal sketch in the .Artist's possession. 1S75. 

A lAo^GOOfX. (Hcrpcstcs smithii ?) „ 138 

India. From an auto-lithograph in The J^rocecdiugs of the 
'/.oological Society. 

The .Silver ;Mak-M0SET [Mico sericci/s) ... „ 146 

Brazil. From the auto-lithograph in The Procecdiugs of the 
/.oological Sc^cicty. 1868. XXI\'. Drawn from life. 

A Storm in the Alps ,,149 

I'rom the charco.al drawing in tlie possession of Mr. .Alfred 
Healey. 27 -; 21. 1877. 

Morning. A Sequel „ 171 

From the charcoal drawing in the .Artist's possession. 

Tame and Wild „ 175 

From the charcoal drawing in the .Artist's possession. 1872. 



XVI 



LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 



193 



198 



Surprise To face p. 176 

From the charcoal drawing in the Artist's possession. 1074. 

Peace and ^\'AR „ 179 

From the ciiareoal drawing in tlie Artist's possession. 1874. 

A Lecture on Embryology „ 180 

' ' Came the first Kg,g from an 0\\\, or came the lirst 0\\\ from 
an Egg ? " i'^rom the charcoal drawing in the Artist's ]iosses- 
sion. 1877. 

The Bashfui, Monkey „ 186 

This lithograph, though drawn from life for The Proceedings 
of the Zoological Society, was not published. It represents 
a species of Cebns from South America. 

MONTEIRO's Galago (Galago iiwntciri) ... ,. 

Angola. Length 28 inches. The ears of the Galagos are 
large, " quite bare, and have the unique peculiarity that they 
can be ]-)ai-tially folded upon themselves at such times as 
their ow ners please, so as to be near!)' flat upon tile sides 
of the head. " Lydekker. F' rem the auto-lithograph in The 
Proceedings of file Z.ooiogical Society. 1S63. XXVIII. 

Bartlett's Spider Monkkv [Atelcs barflctti) . . ,. 

I<i\er -Xmazoris. Fi"oiu the autn-iithograph in Tiie Pro- 
ceedings of t/ie Zoological Society. 1807. XLVII. 

Allen's Galago {Galago allciii) 

Camaroons River, West Africa. Fr<:)m the auto-Iithogra|ih 
in The Proceedings of the Zoological Society. 1863. XXXI 1. 

The White-cheeked Sapajou (Cclu/s Iciiiogoiys) . ,, 

A new species of Cebns from Brap^il. Fi'om the auto- 
lithograph in Tlie I^roceedings of the Zoological Societv. 
1865. XLV. 

A Night Attack 

Pine Marten and Ring Do\e. F'rom a chalk drawing in the 
Artist's possession. 

Inquisitive Neighbours „ 

Front the charcoal drawing in the Artist's possession. 1875. 

A Bear with Honeycomb ,, 

F'rom a model exhibited at the Ru}al .\eademy in 1876. In 
the Artist's possession. 

Thf, Japanese 1!ear {Ursiis japoiiicits) ... ,, 

From the auto-lithograph in The Proceedings of the Zoological 
Sucielv. 1862. XXXI 1. 



208 



225 



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS xvii 

A Peregrine Tu-.kcmi. {Falco peregrinics) . . . To face p. 231 
From a charcoal sketch in the Author's possession. 1876. 

Pteromvs crandis . . ■ „ 234 

A "Flying Rat," fourfeet lonj;. Formosa, The camphor tree 
in which the nest was placed having been felled, the young 
were captured. The parents at Iirst escaped, but, having 
returned, \vere secured also. From the auto-lithograph in 
T//C- Proceedings of the Zoological Society. 1862. XL^^ 

The Siam,\NG {Hylobatcs syndacty/us) .... ., 236 

From a \vater-colour sketch from life, painted in the (jardens 
of the Societ(5 d'Acclimatation, Paris. In the Artist's pos- 
session. 

The Siam.vng (swinging) „ 240 

.See aVjove. 

The Siamanc; (sitting^ „ 244 

See above. 

OSPREYS {Pandion hnliactus) . .... ,, 249 

From a charcoal drawing in the Artist's possession. 1869. 

Equals ,,255 

From the charcoal drawing in the possession of Mr. J. H. 
Lea. 1877. 

A Midnight Ramble „ 267 

From the ch.arco.al sketch in the possession of Mr. Robert 
J. Howard. 1856. 

Captivity „ 268 

From a charcoal sketch in the Artist's possession. 



ILLUSTRATIONS IN THE TEXT 

I'AGE 

A Blackcock as he fell 65 

From a pencil sketch from nature at ln\eraray. In the Artist's possession. 

SKETCHES OF FLYING OSPREYS 13-3 133 

Illustrating the Artist's remarks touching laborious and easy flight. In 
his possession. 

Joseph \Yolf in the Fifties 141 

From a photograph. 



LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 



Mode of tying an Elephant 

Original sketch for tlie woodcut in The Natural Hislory of Ceylon, by 
Sir James Emerson Tennent. 1861. By permission of Messrs. Long- 
mans & Co. In the Artist's possession. 

His STRUGGLES FOR FREEDOM 

See " Mode of Tying an Elephant." In the .\rlist's possession. 
A ^VILD Cat {Felts catus) 

From a pencil sketch from life in the .Vrtist's possession. 

First .Sketch for 'A Lecture on Embryology' . 

In the Artist's possession. 

Thu Laughing Monkey {Cynopithccus niger) .... 

.A duplicate \'crsion of a sketch, from life, for The Expressions of tlie 
Emoiiuns in Man ami Animals, In the .Ai'tist's possession. 7871. 

Head of Ovis aj/j/o.v 

Frr)m a chalk sketch in the .Artist's possession. 

Sketch of Or/s roLi in Snow 

In the .Artist's possession. 

PicRK Dayid's Deer (Cervus davidianus) 

Northern China. From a charcoal sketch in the Artist's possession. 

Lion Cues 

From a jjieneil s!<ctch from life in the .\rtist's possession. 

Turtle Doves 

f''i'om a sketch in the Artist's possession. 



I'AC.E 

160 



161 
172 
181 

'95 

224 

239 
260 
289 



Pa: 



-■ 37, 


line 8, 


112 


9 


"3 


20 


"4 


M 7, 25 


I7g 


7 


198 


M 17 


243 


4 



Errata 

for animals reaei mammals 
for Elliott m;,/ Elliot 




Age. 



Joseph Wolf 



CHAPTER I 



EARLY in the present century, when the 
province of Rhenish Prussia had been 
recently formed, and the country was settHng 
down to a state of unwonted peace, one Anton 
Wolf lived in the little village of Moerz, in the 
district of Mayfeld, not far from the road connect- 
ing Treves with Coblenz. The village was about 
fifteen miles distant from this city, but only two 
from the market town of Mtinstermayfeld — ^just 
remote enough, in fact, to enjoy some of the 
blessings of remoteness. As for antiquity, if any of 
the inhabitants cared for such a thing, a neighbour- 
hood where stern old Rome had left her handiwork 
would have been interesting enough and to spare. 

Anton Wolf was a reserved, well-to-do man (farm- 
ing his own land), who, as Headman of the place, 
had some degree of authority. Among a number of 
his small duties were such as the reading to the 
villagers, summoned by the church bell to the public 

B 



2 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

bakehouse, any new government regulation, or signing 
the book of the gendarmes at stated and sometimes 
untimely hours. 

The Headman's house was distinguished from the 
others by the Prussian Eagle on a large rnetal plate, 
and was a substantial, slate-roofed, stone dwelling of 
two stories. I have seen a sketch representing it as 
bosomed in trees, with a sleepy, old-world look about 
it, enhanced by a flock of pigeons which wheel about 
over the steep gables, and bask in rows upon the 
ridges. Tiles there were none in the place, and very 
few of the houses were thatched, for such an inflam- 
mable method of roofing was discouraged by a 
careful government. Indeed, if an economical man 
mended his thatch he was straightway fined. It was 
a place that seemed, from all appearances, to have 
quietly settled down to slumber. Each burly village 
stay-at-home was content with his quiet life, though, 
perhaps, he may have growled a little if the 
Headman billeted a Prussian artilleryman or trooper 
upon him, when the duties of a squadron or a battery 
brought it towards the frontier. 

As for Anton Wolf himself, his ambition climbed 
no higher than good prices and good seasons. Since 
the days when he had been drafted off with a heavy 
flint-lock to withstand Napoleon (before the death 
of his little daughter), his troubles had been few — 
nothing much more serious, indeed, than increasing 
taxation. 



CHILDHOOD 3 

Touching the five strong boys which were borne 
him by EHzabeth his wife, his main desire was that 
they should become comfortable, saving men like 
himself, worthy to plough the paternal acres. 

Of these five surviving children I have to follow 
the fortunes of Joseph, the eldest, who was born on 
the 2ist of January, 1820, and soon grew to be a fair, 
sturdy child, evidently destined to inherit the big 
bones of his ancestors. 

Among the earliest things which he noticed, next 
to a Black Forest clock, a ponderous oak table where 
the family fed with their labourers, and the spinning- 
wheel at which his mother laboured, was her flower 
garden. Her fragrant, old-fashioned blossoms were 
the pride of her life, and it soon became her little 
son's delight to watch her as she tended them, or to 
toddle about by himself, prying for the earliest shoots 
of the tulips, and hyacinths, and daffodils in the 
spring. 

A notable event was his first sheep-washing, for 
it was always a real, old-fashioned, village holiday, 
merrily kept at Catenass on the lovely banks of 
the Moselle two miles away. The child's joy at the 
bustle and excitement of the journey, and at the first 
sight of a river and a fish, he remembers still. 

After a while he began to enjoy the other plea- 
sures of a primitive life, and he loved to watch the 
rape-threshing by men mounted on the ponderous 
farm horses ; or to run at the heels of the field- 

B 2 



4 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

labourers, who were well versed, of course, in 
poacher's wood-craft. 

It is evident that an unusual susceptibility to the 
witchery of nature began to show itself very early. 
At an age when the average village child thinks only 
of what he can tease and what he can eat, little Wolf 
was exulting in the teeming life which came with the 
spring. The re-appearance of favourite flowers and 
familiar birds, mourned all the winter as dead and 
gone, thrilled him in a way which neither he nor any 
one else who has felt it can express in words. It was 
also evident that, coupled with the overpowering love 
of nature, there was a power of observation altogether 
phenomenal. 

As a very little child, the Nightingale's song 
raised a longing to know what great, beautiful bird 
sang "so wild and well." So one day he crept along 
till he was able to see the little insignificant brown 
thing-, not even as larg-e as a Thrush, with arched back 
and drooping tail, singing right merrily. He was 
bitterly disappointed ; and he says, " It was too small 
"for me. I thought 'What an ugly little brute you 
"'are!'" But when a pair of Goldfinches set up 
their housekeeping in the garden, he spent hours 
in watching them and wondering at their exceeding 
beauty and brilliancy. 

Such as these are the incidents he can recall of his 
childhood. He tells how greedily he listened for the 
Buzzards' cries as they soared high up in the air ; 




Panvi'Tila sancti-ji;kom.-e. 



SCHOOL 5 

how he longed and waited for the cheerful laugh of 
the Green Woodpecker ; and how the monotonous 
note of the Turtle Dove always filled him with unac- 
countable melancholy. He remembers, too, how he 
grieved to say good-bye to the last Swallow. 

It was not a brush, or a pencil, that first found its 
way into Joseph Wolf's small fist, but a pair of 
scissors. With these he cut out paper silhouettes of 
birds and animals of his own design, to paste on a 
window ; where they were much admired by a sym- 
pathetic tax-gatherer. 

Before this time the boy had gone to school at 
the neighbouring village of Metternich. Here, in 
a small library belonging to the schoolmaster, he 
soon scented out an old work on natural history ; one 
of that class, he says, where the Orang-utan is 
represented as sedately walking with a stick. ^ At 
that school, however, science was at a discount, and 
little Wolf had to content himself with many a wistful 
glance at the outside of the volume he longed to 
pounce upon. 

His observant habits and superior skill in drawing 
maps told favourably with the master ; but to the 
scholars, a boy who refrained from bird's-nesting on 
principle and who was willing to fight any one of 

^ At the Zoological Society's, at Hanover Square, there is a careful 
early drawing by Wolf of an Orang-utan living in the Gardens, support- 
ing itself upon a stick. This, he says, was simply a trick the animal had 
learnt, and would not be natural to a wild specimen. " Representations 
of its walking with a stick," says Wallace, " are entirely imaginary." 



6 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

them in defence of a nest-full of young birds was a 
puzzle. 

Among the boys, Whitethroats were called 
"Grass-sparrows," and as a war of extermination was 
carried on against " Sparrows " all and singular, they 
adjourned one day to enjoy the slow torture of a nest- 
full. The ingenious cruelty so infuriated little Wolf 
that he betook himself to his fists, and then to the 
master, who severely punished the chief torturer. 
This incident naturally led to a stormy time, and but 
for the protection of a warm-hearted big cousin it 
would have gone ill with him. 

The farmer took advantage of the holidays, and 
of the hard weather when the Wolves were abroad 
(troublesome enough at times), to set his boy to 
work ; but it was becoming pretty evident that Joseph 
was no true chip of the heavy old block. Although 
he loved grafting, and took good care to plant plenty 
of cherry trees, he hated the horse-tending, and 
would be off in the snow, if he could, all round the 
villages, to search for the tracks of the Marten-cats. 
He loathed sauerkraut ; and lived contentedly (as he 
says he could live now) on bread and butter. With 
a morsel of the evil-savoured Limburg cheese he 
could be driven anywhere ; and, indeed, his mother 
once offered him five groschen to eat a piece of that 
abomination, and he failed to do so. 

His father, besides being a very reserved man, not 
given to enthusiasm of any kind, thought all things 



THE FIRST GUN 7 

vain which had nothing to do with the farm, or with 
village affairs ; and when Joseph snatched a few 
hours for scribbling the outlines of birds from recollec- 
tion, the only notice he got was a very doubtful 
" Humph !", though his mother thought the attempts 
pretty. " Just as the country people in England," 
he says, " when they see a strapping artist at work 
" on his picture, think he might be doing some- 
thing " more useful." Old Anton in fact, associating 
only with people of his own class, was very pre- 
judiced ; and his son remembers, even now, the 
paternal rage if he was caught when he was busy 
with his caterpillars, or piping a lesson to a pet 
Bullfinch. 

A full measure of the love of firearms with which 
most boys are born burned in Wolfs heart. He had 
occasionally abstracted from his father's keeping some 
great key (such as the key of the church), sounded 
the depth of the barrel with a stick, and filed a small 
touch-hole : with the addition of a little gunpowder 
and a match, the key then became a notable piece of 
ordnance, to be unlimbered in secret and fired in tre- 
pidation. At last there came that day of ecstasy when 
the boy was allowed to furbish up the old gun he had 
so often devoured with hungry eye ; a long, single- 
barrel, flint-lock, rejoicing in that fanciful, carved 
stock which would so much offend the eye of Purdey 
or Grant. Now, at last, the poultry and pigeons 
could be protected from the Goshawks, and the 



8 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

mystery of some of those perplexing notes and cries of 
the woods and fields might be solved. So, when the 
boy returned from a tramp to Mlinstermayfeld with a 
few cheap water-colours in his pocket, a new flint or 
two, and some ammunition, he felt that the world was 
not a bad sort of place after all. 

Besides models for his sketches, he shot some fat 
Fieldfares, with the view of selling them to an old 
huckster in order to secure a supply of powder and 
shot. This dame seems to have been a bit of a 
character. She was a notable busybody, and as she 
went her rounds among the farms, buying butter 
and eggs and poultry for the Coblenz market, she 
collected gossip and toothsome scandal. One day, 
when she paid Frau Wolf her usual visit, Joseph 
(then about fourteen years old) came in to sell his 
Fieldfares. His mother mentioned his strange wish 
to become, of all absurd things, an artist. He, the 
eldest son of the Headman himself, a lad who would 
never lack to jingle the thalers in his pocket, or to 
smoke a quiet pipe, like his father and grandfather 
before him — he, an artist ! The old huckster sympa- 
thized and shook her head as she gazed at the fair, 
well-grown lad, clad in his blouse, peaked cap, and 
heavy boots ; and then she repeated impressively an 
old country saying, " Seven artists, seven shooters, 
" seven fishermen, and seven bird-catchers cannot 
" support one idle man." They were ominous words, 
and not very much to the mother's liking, for .she 



RA VINES OF THE MOSELLE g 

loved her first-born dearly, and petted him, and knew 
that he returned her love. 

Having provided himself with colours. Wolf was 
no longer content to scribble pencil outlines. There 
happened to be at the farm a few of the illustrated 
volumes of the last century ; and of these he set 
himself to paint the wood-cuts. Wherever furniture 
was represented, he appealed to the cake of Vandyke 
brown with startling effect. He says, " I spoilt the 
"whole of the books, and I ought to have been kicked 
"at that time." 

Fortunately the country was very favourable for 
the observation of birds. Four or five hundred yards 
above the farm it became fiat and open, though the 
fields were small. In the other direction it trended 
down into a valley, increasing in beauty and interest 
to the naturalist as it approached the Moselle. Each 
little tributary wound its way through a well-wooded 
ravine, so secluded that even a she Wolf could rear her 
young there, now and then ; and birds without number 
thronged the steep hangers. Golden Orioles, White- 
spotted Bluethroats and Hoopoes always appeared 
in the spring, and there was many a bird which here 
is accounted rare. In addition to other quadrupeds 
(such as Otters, Foxes, Stoats, Weasels, and Pole- 
cats), Stone-martens occurred ; a circumstance which 
suggested to the boy an original scheme. Long ago 
he had learnt the rudiments of trapping from one of 
his father's labourers who was skilful in setting gins 



lo LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

and horsehair snares, and he determined to turn his 
knowledge to account. Having managed to secure a 
fine Stone-marten or two, he chose the longest and 
most elastic hairs from the tails, and tied them neatly 
into some Crow and Thrush quills. Thus he furnished 
himself with a set of brushes incomparably better than 
the limp, camel-hair things he had bought with his 
first colours. They were so good that he became 
ambitious ; and casting about for something to copy, 
he pitched on an elaborate line engraving of Louisa, 
Queen of Prussia. He sat down with a tiny brush 
and Indian ink, determined to reproduce that engraving 
line for line. He says, " There was nobody to tell me 
" it was impossible, and I felt very unhappy because 
" I couldn't do it. But fancy trying to do such a 
" thing ! " The natural deftness and patience which 
led to such incidents as these (for it is not every boy 
who could impress the tails of Marten-cats into the 
service of art), led to better results when more sensible 
copies were chosen. He had reared from the nest a 
Long-eared Owl ; ^ and finding it very beautiful he set 
himself to draw it. In order to get the proportions 
right he kept at a distance, and for detail went closer, 
thus showing signs of gumption not to be expected 
from a farmer's boy. About this time he discovered 
that an Eagle Owl was kept in an hotel yard at 
Munstermayfeld, and he went off at once to make a 

' He speaks of all the Birds of Prey as good sitters, and of the Owls as 
pre-eminently so— the very opposite of a Titmouse, or a Monkey. 




THK SlIOIi-IJlLLKO STOKK. 



ROUGH SHOOTING ri 

sketch. This expedition he kept quiet at home, and, 
indeed, he had the sense to say nothing whatever about 
his drawing at Moerz. It is a reticence which, ever since 
that time, he has observed in the presence of people 
ignorant of art. Before the PhiHstines he keeps 
silent ; but ever watchful to add to his store of their 
observations on art and artists. 

A few migratory Storks sometimes pitched near 
the village, and on one of these occasions young Wolf 
crept up with his gun and succeeded in winging a 
bird. Then he amputated the broken wing, and for 
some time the Stork paraded the farm, unconscious of 
the multiplication of his portrait. 

By this time the cousin who had protected little 
Wolf from the revenge of his schoolfellows had 
grown up ; and as he rented the rough shooting of this 
and a neighbouring commune, he allowed the boy to 
bring the old gun and to join him in his rambles. He 
was somewhat astonished at the use which was made 
of it, for Wolf thought nothing of the amount of the 
bag ; but at the sight of a strange bird, or the sound 
of an unknown note, he would be off, regardless of 
time or place. It was a curious circumstance con- 
nected with these field-days, that the cousin's clay 
pipe was frequently bitten in two as his gun went off, 
from which I should imagine that it was a notable 
kicker. 

For some time, there had apparently been a good 
understanding between Wolf and many animals. 



12 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

especially wild animals. In spite of the gun, they 
seemed to understand that he did not really thirst for 
their blood, but merely wished to know all about 
them. His patience and gentleness of disposition 
may have had something to do with this, besides a 
certain skill in the language which every animal uses 
in its intercourse with an especial human friend, in 
those rare cases where it finds itself understood. His 
eyesight, outward and inward, was literally of the 
keenest possible description ; and as he looked at 
everything which interested him with intense purpose 
and zest, his power of observation grew very great — 
an habitual, unlaboured watchfulness worthy of a wild 
animal. His purpose was not only to study the 
habits of mammals and birds, but to paint the animals 
so faithfully and fearlessly as to do them justice. He 
knew nothinaf of what was before him — nothing of the 

o o 

scope, or history, or heart-breaking difficulty of other 
branches of art ; and it is well for him and for us that 
he did not, or he might have resigned himself to study 
the points of the Mcierz pig. 

Some of the incidents of a farm life in that 
particular district furthered his object. Thus the 
occasional dash of a Goshawk upon the poultry or 
pigeons was not an unmixed evil ; for the boy and 
his younger brothers, by means of the gun, or a gin 
laid on the fowl which the bird had killed,^ usually 

' There is a spirited and very highly finished httle panel picture by 
Wolf of this subject, painted in Germany when the incidents were fresh. 
The trap has been baited with a rabbit. 



VULPECIDE 13 

managed to secure at once an arch-robber and a 
splendid subject for a drawing. He treasured up in 
his memory such incidents as the visit of an Eagle 
Owl to the tree where some of the fowls roosted, or 
the more dreaded visit of a Stone-marten, which (if 
luck favoured) was treed by the dogs, and shot as it 
was dimly seen against the night sky. As for Foxes, 
there was common cause against them in a place 
where their murder was a manly virtue, and the 
only view halloo was that of the Magpies. The 
enemy's approach was often signalled by these birds ; 
which, in return for their service, were beloved and 
protected by everybody. Then the gun or the gin 
squared all the poultry accounts. Moreover, when a 
vixen's earth was found, the young men would some- 
times dig out the cubs and take them round to the 
farms in a basket, each rejoicing hen-wife giving a 
reward of eggs. The eggs were fried, and with plenty 
of cheap wine an unholy wake was held over the poor 
cubs which would have sorely angered an English 
M.F.H. Sometimes, when they thought they could 
manage it, the lads would clap into a basket a sharp- 
nosed, sandy puppy, and cheat the women out of their 
eggs. 

As Wolf's skill with his brushes grew greater, 
his love of the Birds of Prey kept pace with his 
love of painting. This district lay in the course of 
the annual passage ; and in the spring an occasional 
Honey Buzzard appeared ; in the winter. Rough- 



14 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

legged Buzzards from the north. Sometimes both 
Black and Red Kites were to be seen flying towards 
the south-west, returning with the genial weather. 
Goshawks, Sparrow-hawks, Hobbies, Merlins, and 
Kestrils also occurred frequently ; but the idea of 
shooting such courageous and beautiful visitors as 
these, except in actual defence of the poultry, was 
out of the question. Wolf wished to draw from the 
living birds in all their wild perfection, and at first 
sight it seems as if he might have wished on till the 
present time. 

It was a local custom that, at times, the sheep 
belonging to the farmers were drafted together into 
one large flock, and placed under the care of a shep- 
herd ; each farmer having a right to contribute accord- 
ing to his acreage. The shepherd's duty was to feed 
off with the sheep all the available pasture ; and the 
fields being small, the flock might perhaps be dis- 
persed over the property of half a dozen men, besides 
the "commune" property on the hills, which was 
distinct from private land. If the stubbles of any 
particular farmer happened to be sown with clover, or 
there was any other reason for excluding the sheep, 
he set up there a stake topped with a wisp of straw, 
as a notice to the shepherd. Wolf frequently saw 
Hawks and Falcons sitting on these stakes (for the 
country just here was very open and treeless), and he 
began to think over the chances of catching them.' 

' At that time, he had probably never heard of the pole trap. 



SNARING BIRDS OF PREY 15 

He was familiar with the use of snares, and by 
dint of great patience and ingenuity, he succeeded 
in contriving some springes sufficiently powerful, 
which, in conjunction with short perches, he attached 
to the stakes in the forbidden fields. He was soon 
rewarded for his labour ; and made the round of his 
springes, in the evening to forestall the Foxes, and 
in the morning to release the Little Owls which 
sometimes got caught. Once even a Buzzard 
was secured, and by sheer power of wing gradually 
loosened and then flew away with the whole appa- 
ratus. Another time, a fine old male Sparrow-hawk 
was held fast merely by the hind claw. Merlins and 
Kestrils were the most common captures ; and Wolf 
used to give some of the latter a forked tail with a 
pair of scissors. There was a colony of Kestrils on 
a high tower at Miinstermayfeld, and there he often 
saw the forked tails of those he had caught, three 
or four miles away. 

In this successful method of capturing birds of 
prey, he claims to be original and alone. He has 
never heard of any other person in Germany who 
used springes in this way. 

He was seldom without a living model now ; and 
how he conquered the difficulties of making use of it, 
may well puzzle us. That he did conquer, Is testified 
by numberless sketches and drawings. One day he 
had a Kestril sitting for its portrait on a chair-back, 
and he himself was working away, hardly daring to 



i6 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

move. Suddenly the farmer entered, and the spell 
being broken, the bird dashed through the glass of 
the nearest window. Whereupon the young painter 
received a swinging box on the ear, delivered, I dare 
say, with the emphatic epithet of " Vogel narr." In 
spite of such discouragements, sometimes when he 
could steal the time from the farm, he would set 
out on foot to Neuwied (a four hours' journey), to 
gloat over Prince Maximilian's fine collection of South 
American birds.' 

Loving guns and gunnery, Wolf took care to be 
present at the Vogelschiessen held among the neigh- 
bouring peasants and foresters. A wooden bird with 
an iron rod passing through it was fixed at the top of ' 
a tall pole, and shot at with heavy small-bore rifles 
till the very last splinter was knocked off. 

Notwithstanding the delights of his art, and wood- 
craft, and gunnery (all more or less stolen pleasures), 
the monotonous drudgery of the farm life palled on 
the boy more and more. He says, '' I was looking 
" out for something different, and couldn't find what 
" I liked." He was troubled, too, by the growing 
consciousness that to succeed as a painter of birds, 
more training would be needful than he could ever 
get among people who looked upon him as a mere 
bird-catcher, and preferred the weight of their horny 
hands to the weight of argument, if they found 

' Mr. Dresser tells me that the collection was afterwards purchased 
for New York by Mr. D. G. Elliott. 



HE IS BOUND APPRENTICE 17 

' him neglecting the horses to scribble pictures of 
vermin. 

Now at that time lithography had advanced far 
towards perfection, and was in high repute. From 
Munich, Diisseldorf, and Paris, lithographs of the 
pictures at the chief continental galleries were 
circulating even in the country, and the boy began to 
think that the trade of a lithographer might possibly 
help him on the road he had chosen. He says, 
" Lithography was something betwixt and between. 
" It was supposed at that time to be a good thriving 
" business." Again and again he approached his 
father on the subject, who consented, at last, that he 
"should desert the plough, and provided sufficient 
money not only for binding him apprentice to 
Gebrlider Becker at Coblenz, for three years, but for 
lodgings In that city. It Is satisfactory to know not 
only that this amount was repaid with interest, but 
that the whole family were afterwards indebted pecu- 
niarily to one upon whom they had probably looked 
as likely to turn out a troublesome prodigal. 
' ■ Thus ended the first era in the life of Joseph 
\ Wolf Simply and solely by the light of his own 
genius and the force of his own character he had 
removed the obstacles and had conquered the inertia 
that have been responsible for many " a mute 
inglorious Milton." 



i8 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 



CHAPTER II 

JOSEPH WOLF, when he found himself one of 
Gebrilder Beckers' three or four apprentices at 
Coblenz, was sixteen years old, and much to"6 
broad-shouldered to be safely derided as a country 
bumpkin. If he had been an ordinary lad, simply 
seeking excitement and relief from monotony, he 
would have found that he had gone from bad to 
worse. Certainly, for a day or two, he enjoyed the 
fun of learning to write backwards ; but that soon 
palled, and the laborious copying of commonplaces 
which followed was depressing work. He says, 
" Nobody would tell me anything, and I felt they 
were all duffers." But it was impossible that he 
should ply his tools for long without the discovery 
that he was no mere beginner ; and in spare moments 
he made some original sketches which pleased his 
employers not a little. " When they found that I 
"had ideas," he says, "and could compose, they let 
" me alone, and I had no more drudgery to do. Even 
" when I left off working, and began to cudgel my 
" brains for an idea, the firm said nothing." He told 



HIS APPRENTICE II FE 19 

them he was "searching for an idea," and they had 
the sense to beHeve him. They turned him to 
account by causing him to make designs of flowers, 
fruit, or landscapes, which sometimes took the form of 
bottle labels ; and he thinks that if Christmas cards 
had been invented he would have been condemned to 
do nothing else. Among the labels were some which 
were required by the proprietor of an " Eagle Phar- 
macy," who wished for an appropriate device. 
Here was a chance for Wolf ; and he drew a whole 
stone-full of Eagles, all in different positions. He 
would have nothing to do with the cards and billiards 
of the other apprentices, and even ignored the 
military bands on the parade ; but the instant his 
day's work was done, he was off like a rifle-bullet to 
the banks of the Rhine. There he hunted among the 
willows for birds, and moths, and caterpillars ; or tried 
to catch the Bluethroats with Nightingale nets in the 
early spring. 

He discovered in the city a large wholesale trades- 
man who had kindred tastes, and who owned a good 
collection of stuffed birds. Here it was that Wolf 
saw, for the first time, an illustrated ornithological 
book. It was a work by Susemihl, and he says " I 
" couldn't make the book out. According to my 
" knowledge, the plates were not the right thing." ^ 

' He afterwards did six full-page designs and several others of Falcons, 
Owls, and other birds for what appears to be a later edition of the same 
work, namely Johann and Eduard Susemihl's Abbildungen der V'dgcl 
Europas. No better example could be given of what kind of illustra- 



20 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

Save for the few old volumes on which he had 
exhausted his Vandyke brown, books were little 
known In his family. No scion of the house, save 
himself, had ever been guilty of the slightest inclina- 
tion to tempt the dangers of any art or science. 
Yet, in spite of this, let loose as he was among 
half a hundred seductive shops, one of his first 
purchases was Schlegel's translation of Shakespeare, 
which he greedily devoured, astonished, he says, at 
the great mind of the author. 

As far as art was concerned. Wolf thinks that the 
three years of his apprenticeship were quite thrown 
away ; and with many lads, fresh from a farm life, 
it is certain they would have been worse than 
thrown away, by turning them out neat, stereo- 
typed journeymen, warranted absolutely free from 
originality. 

The qualities for which Wolfs work became 
so pre-eminent are not such as are usually evolved 
from the drawing of bottle-labels, or the dull routine 
of a lithographic draughtsman's office ; but yet he 
was quite uninjured in any way. Indeed, it is likely 
that in the case of such an enthusiast — so passionate 
a lover of nature, a training in patience, and 
method, and exactness was more to the purpose 
than the best training of a first-rate art-school 
would have been. The apprentice work increased 

tions Wolfs work superseded at that period (the forties), and how he 
superseded them. 



AT HOME AGAIN 21 

by contrast the attractiveness of his favourite subjects, 
crystalHzed his undefined hopes, and did not di- 
vert his energy to other alluring branches of art. It 
will be presently seen how greatly he was afterwards 
beholden to the sound knowledge of lithography. 

When the three years were over, Wolf returned 
for a time to his father's farm, where he was 
regarded in a very different way from the obstinate 
" bird fool " of the old days. He was now a compe- 
tent tradesman. He could write backwards neatly, 
and draw you, out of his own head, a noble bottle- 
label ; feats which made even the old Headman 
himself put on his spectacles. If the lad still insisted 
in spending a little time in painting owls and vermin 
— why, after all, it didn't matter much now. They 
might come in for tradesman's bill-heads, or some- 
thing really useful. 

As for those ravines of the Moselle, teeming with 
bird life, and ringing with many a pretty call and 
song, what a paradise they were, after the dingy lanes 
and the ceaseless, mercantile buzz of Coblenz ! The 
lad spent day after day in these favourite haunts of 
his by the river, storing his memory with the lite 
history of the birds and beasts. He took his gun 
with him of course ; partly because he knew that a 
great deal of important knowledge could not be got 
without it, and partly, I think, because he loved it 
pretty keenly. One day he flushed a large bird, and 
a relentless pot shot knocked a lovely Hazel Grouse 



22 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

off the tree where it had settled. It was a rare species 
on the north bank of the river, and the pleasure of 
that shot lives yet, though the shooter has burnt, 
since then, a good deal of powder. Another day, 
near home, he had released a Little Owl from one of 
his springes, when a splendid Goshawk intercepted its 
headlong flight towards the woods. It battled on its 
back with pitiful screams, but by the time Wolf had 
got to his gun, the deadly foot had gripped home, and 
the Hawk glided away to his dinner. Always very 
interested in the exploits of this bird, he relates how 
he was once out shooting near Moerz, and put up 
from some turnips a Short-eared Owl. Almost imme- 
diately, a Goshawk swept from his look-out on a 
neighbouring tree, struck the Owl in mid air, and 
carried it off " People who have never been in a 
" country where Goshawks are common," says Wolf, 
" hardly know what brutes they are." Incidents such 
as these, and many others, kept the lad's pencil hard 
at work. 

He had taken up his painting with a will when he 
came home ; and he began now to make a series of 
miniature bird studies in water-colours. These minia- 
tures are so extraordinary that I am at a loss how to 
describe them without incurring the accusation of 
exaggerating most grossly. It must be remembered 
that they were the work of a youth still in his teens,^ 

' In my former sketch of Wolf's life, among many other inaccuracies, 
the date of these drawings is fixed some years earlier. 




ACCIPITER COI.I.AklS. 



THE BIRD MINIATURES 23 

who, save for the three years Hthographic practice 
from which he had just escaped, was entirely self- 
taught. They were done without books from which to 
learn the scientific detail, or crib the attitudes. There 
was not the smallest encouragement — nothing but the 
distractions of a small farm-house, with hostile critics 
whose ignorance of natural history was hardly less 
profound than their ignorance of art. In spite of all 
this, we find that after the earliest attempts of all 
each of these tiny studies is a portrait so true to 
nature, so brilliant and life-like, that astonishment 
stifles all criticism. 

In answer to my question when I first sat won- 
dering before these drawings and found that they 
would even bear the use of a strong lens, the painter 
said, " The reason I did them so small was that I had 
" got then into the way of working minutely, and 
" could not cover a larger space to my satisfaction — 
" not so as to get the quality of the surface. Rough 
"paper and the ordinary water-colour method would 
"not have suited me." Here, at all events, he was 
evidently paying the penalty (if it were a penalty), of 
his lithographic minutiae. Long before this he had 
noticed not only that there was a considerable 
difference between the summer and winter plumage 
of the common Sparrows, but that their backs were 
marked very definitely in stripes. He says, " I used 
" to labour to get those stripes right, as if everything 
"depended upon it." How much did depend upon 



24 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

this craving for truth, upon the labour unspeakable 
to show the soft sleekness and delicate, dainty 
precision of marking which distinguish a perfect 
specimen of a wild bird, he did not realize at that 
time. It would seem, from what we know of zoo- 
logical art, past and present, that such an overpower- 
ing solicitude for truth in this all-important respect, 
and the sound, scientific knowledge of the feather 
tracts which follows, are not too common even now. 

As for these miniatures I think they have been 
as much admired, and that by artists, as anything 
Wolf has done. 

1 have seen some laborious pencil and Indian- 
ink drawings of landscapes in the neighbourhood of 
Moerz, which were produced at this time, showing 
the same solicitude to draw faithfully from nature. 
The work is very elaborate, but the surface to be 
covered being larger than it was in the bird subjects, 
the elaboration is misapplied, and is not focussed. 

It was, of course, quite natural that Wolf should 
try his hand at portraiture, and I believe he painted 
at this time several little water-colour likenesses of 
people in the neighbourhood ; one or two being 
commissions. Small oil portraits of his father and 
mother hang in a brother's house to this day. 

Joseph Wolf had now been a year at home, and 
no doubt his father (naturally thinking it high time 
his son should earn his living), considered it a time 
of sheer idleness. But sooner than even appear to be 



DR. R UPPELL 



25 



idle, the lad accepted from the excise authorities 
a temporary engagement which he calls "wine 
revising " ; that is to say he became for the time a 
gauger whose duty it was to visit the various wine- 
producing villages, going from house to house with 
the Headman, with power to search for concealed 
liquor, if any were suspected. Having completed this 
unpleasant work, he sent in his report, put his 
sketch-book of miniatures in his pocket, and trudged 
off into the world to seek his fortune as a journeyman 
lithographer. 

Although there were several lithographic houses 
at Frankfort, he failed to fi-nd employment at any. 
Nevertheless, one of the proprietors, having seen the 
sketch-book, said, "Don't you forget to go to Dr. 
' Riippell here at the Museum before you leave." " So 
' I went," says Wolf "He was a serious old fellow 
' with rather a forbidding exterior. When I came in 
' — a young lad — he looked at me as if he had no idea 
' what I wanted to see him for. I said, ' I am a litho- 
' ' grapher, and have been about to the different estab- 
' ' lishments to look out for work, and at one of them 
' ' they told me to show you this book.' Of course 
' the moment he opened it he brightened up, and 
' got very amiable all at once. ' I hope you will be 
' ' able to remain near Frankfort,' he said, ' for I am 
' ' about to publish a work on the Birds of Abyssinia,^ 

' Systcmaiische Uebersicht dcr Vogel Nord-Osf-Afrika' s, nebst von 
Dr. Eduard Riippell. Frankfurt a. M. 1845. 



26 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

" ' and I should like you to do the illustrations for me. 
" ' Wherever, on your travels, you remain to work, let 
"'me know, and you shall do the drawings there. 
" ' When you go to Darmstadt, you go to Dr. Kaup.' " 

It was the first piece of pure encouragement that 
the lad had ever experienced : and it was sweetened 
by the fact that it was not the lithographic knowledge, 
but the knowledge of birds, so much despised at 
home, which had brought success at last. 

In the course of this interview, Wolf described 
a new note which he had heard for the first time, 
near Frankfort. "You are a good observer." said 
Rlippell. " That is the Serin Finch." This species, 
which now nests near the city,-' had gradually ex- 
tended northwards from southern Europe. 

Bidding the Doctor adieu, Wolf turned off with a 
lighter heart towards Darmstadt. Here he not only 
found employment as a lithographer (besides doing 
some overtime work for the Frankfort Museum, 
which Dr. Rlippell sent him), but he was able to 
make himself independent of that trade as a means of 
livelihood. He was far from desertinsf it altosfether, 
and the dry knowledge his apprenticeship had given 
him was to bear good fruit. 

There are few who find themselves dropped with 
hardly a disappointment or rebuff into that precise 
niche in life which fits them to a hair's-breadth. 

' See Mr. R. Bowdler Sharpe's Handbook to the Birds of Great 
Britain. 



DR. KAUP 27 

The charm which, in Wolfs case, worked this 
wonder was, once again, the little sketch-book. Dr. 
Kaup, to whom Ruppell had given him an intro- 
duction, was also a well-known naturalist, and the 
Director of the Darmstadt Museum, to which most 
of the rare or curious objects of natural history col- 
lected in that neighbourhood found their way. Kaup 
rejoiced over the miniatures with a great joy, and even 
conceived a scheme, which never came to anything, 
for a work on ornithology to be written by himself and 
illustrated by his new friend. He introduced the lad 
to some living Peregrines, and requested his help in 
stuffing and setting up a Sparrow-hawk. Wolf went 
to work with some diffidence, as he expected to find 
in the Doctor ornithological science severely personi- 
fied. His astonishment was boundless when he 
discovered that this professed naturalist knew next to 
nothing of the distribution of the feather tracts, and 
that he had to arrange the feathers himself In tell- 
ing me this incident he went on to say, " Those 
" fellows know very little. To put a bird right, they 
"smooth it down with their hands, and tie paper 
" round it very tightly, but this gives a totally false 
" impression. The feathers are naturally full of 
" spring, and lie lightly." ^ 

' This method of " putting a bird right " flourishes still, as will be seen 
from the following quotation from Browne's Practical Taxidermy : " Game 
" birds stuffed as ' dead game ' and hung in oval medallions [?] form suit- 
" able ornaments for the billiard room or hall if treated in an ^esthetic 
" manner. Not, however, in the manner I lately saw perpetrated by a 



28 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

Wolf was not a man to rest on his oars, so he 
settled clown to his trade, and worked away at his 
"compositions" for the firm which employed him, 
with the cheerful industry which became so strong a 
point in his character. This industry was more than 
the mere daily habit of mounting the treadmill 
common to business men ; and it had nothing mer- 
cenary or sordid about it. It was an insatiable 
appetite for work — a zest and an avidity which al- 
ways consume obstacles, and achieve (with the help 
of a fine physique), something out of the comm.on 
way. 

Meanwhile, taking the sketch-book with him. Dr. 
Kaup had left for Leyden to attend a conference of 
ornithologists. The designs of the Birds of Prey 
had their effect, and in a few days Wolf received 
letters from Dr. Kaup and also from Professor 
Schlegel giving him a commission for some life-size 
drawings of the young and adult Goshawk, intended 
to form part of the illustrations for Professor Schlegel's 
and A. H. Wulverhorst's Traitt^ de Fmiconnei'-ie. 
These he proceeded to do in his overtime. 

In spite of Dr. Kaup's enthusiastic recommenda- 
tion, backed by the little sketches, Wolf's fate was 

" leading London taxidermist — a game bird hanging in a prominent posi- 
" tion, as if dead, from a nail, enclosed in an elaborate mount, the bird so 
" beautifully sleek and smooth that, although it was head downwards, not 
'■^ a feather was out of place ! All was //^j-torrf down, and gravity and 
" nature were utterly set at defiance. A little consideration, and a visit 
" to the nearest poulterer's shop, would have prevented such a palpable 
" error." 



A LUCKY ESCAPE 29 

not quite settled even yet. When he was twenty 
years old (that is in 1840), he had to appear at 
Maien before the authorities for drafting army re- 
cruits. It is obvious how much depended on the 
result ; for though so keen a shot would no doubt have 
taken kindly to his rifle, he might have returned from 
his term of service (if he returned at all), with the 
edge of his artistic enthusiasm hopelessly dulled. 
In any case, the loss of time would have been 
ruinous. To make matters worse, he was as sound as 
a bell, upright as a corporal, and had the sight of a 
hawk ; just the very lad the recruiting sergeant 
wishes for, and the very last to dream of malingering. 
Fortunately at that peaceful time very few recruits 
were wanted, and it was easy to get off Still more 
fortunately he knew the surgeon well. When his friend 
asked him with a smile, " What shall we say about 
you ? " the young fellow answered, naturally enough, 
that he had nothing whatever to plead. Neverthe- 
less, by means of the kindly but particularly inappro- 
priate fiction of a weak chest, he was let off with 
"garrison duty," which then involved service only in 
case of war. Thus released, he hurried back to his 
work at Darmstadt. 

Although the first drawings for the Traits de 
Fauconnerie were done, as we have seen, in overtime, 
the commission was of an importance too great to be 
deemed secondary to the humdrum work of a litho- 
graphic office — work of which Wolf saw that he 



30 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

could be independent at last. Accordingly, he gave 
his employers notice and removed for a time to 
Leyden. 

Schlegel gave him, as a pet, a fine old Peregrine 
tiercel (from which he drew many pencil studies), and 
generally made much of him. This does not appear, 
however, to have been the first interview, for Mr. 
Dresser sends me the following interesting anec- 
dote : — 

"Professor Schlegel told me, many 3'ears ago, when I was 
" spending a few days with him at Leyden, that his first acquaintance 
"with Wolf was when he invited the latter to Holland. Wolf came 
" as a young, fresh-looking lad to see him, and told Schlegel that he 
" would like to see some waders and marsh birds ; so Schlegel took 
" him out in a punt covered with bushes, in which he was wont 
" to watch the birds. On arriving among them, he asked Wolf 
"where his note-book and pencil were, but the answer was that 
" he did not require them. After spending some time watching the 
" birds, they returned to Leyden, and Schlegel asked Wolf to supper, 
" for which purpose they adjourned to a restaurant ; and, after supper, 
" Wolf asked for paper and pencil, and made some excellent sketches 
" of birds he had that day seen for the first time. Schlegel told me 
" that he was astounded at the accuracy of the attitudes, as given 
" by Wolf ; and at once realized that he excelled any other natural 
"history painter he had hitherto known. Schlegel, before I left 
" Leyden, made me a present of Wolf's original of one of the plates 
"in the Fauna Japo/iica, which I think I showed you." 

Many years afterwards Schlegel forcibly endorsed 
the opinion he had formed. Wolf, on the occasion of 
one of his trips to Germany, paid a visit to his friend 
at Leyden, and found him at the Museum. When the 
Professor saw him coming he e.xclaimed in a loud 
voice, " Here comes the first man in his branch of art ! " 



"TRAITE DE FA UC OiVJVERIE" 31 

This high opinion was reciprocated, for Wolf 
thinks that, of all persons he has met, his friend was 
one of the nicest, and one of the best all-round men of 
science. 

After this early and congenial commission, Wolf 
was, as he expresses it, "an independent artist. My 
head was above water at last." His talent and know- 
ledge, being no longer hidden under the anxious mien 
of a quiet-spoken, journeyman lithographer, he was 
treated accordingly. 

Herman Schlegel's and A. H. Wulverhorst's Trait c^ 
de Fauconnerie ^ is a mighty volume with which many 
a good falconer, bent on a comfortable read, must have 
had an angry tussle ; and over which the authors, as 
they say, spared no pains. The publication, indeed, 
appears to have been spread over no less than nine 
years. 

After a most elaborate but uninviting title-page 
and some other lithographs (representing the Heron 
hawking of the Loo Club), Wolf's work begins with 
the fifth plate ; a Greenland Falcon hooded and on 
the fist. It is followed by twelve other Falcons on 
ten plates, drawn in the artist's most careful and con- 
scientious style, with all the elaboration of that period 
of his art. For the backgrounds (and very bad they 
are), other artists are responsible ; and this, joindy 
with the fact that the birds themselves are somewhat 

' TraiU dc Fauconnerie par H. Schlegel et A. H. Verster de V.'uher- 
horst. Leiden et Dusseldorf. Arnz et Comp. 1844-1853. 



32 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

Stiff and formal in their attitudes and treatment, 
detracts from their artistic merit. 

The authors, in their preface, speak of the artist 
as follows ; " Quant aux figures des oiseaux de chasse, 
" elles ont ete faites sur le vivant par M. Wolf, jeune 
" peintre d'animaux qui a, sans contredit, surpasse 
" tous ses devanciers par une etude profonde de la 
" nature." 

It may be added that it is said in the Badminton 
Library Falconry, " The illustrations,^ from the pencil 
of Wolf are in themselves an education in falconry.". 
He says of them himself, that, as far as scientific 
detail goes, they are perfectly correct, but that he has 
learned, since then, "to do Falcons in a different way 
— a better way." But, as we shall see, he does not 
consider them as susceptible to artistic treatment as 
the Eagles. 

Nearly perfect, even then, in his knowledge of 
wild Falcons, he has since learnt a great deal of 
the detail of a sport which Mr. G. E. Freeman calls 
" a gallant, venerable friend, whom our forefathers 
" loved with all their hearts." 

Freeman himself, to whom (jointly with Captain 
Salvin, that keenest of keen hands), sport is indebted 
for a most interesting and enthusiastically written 



' One, if not more, of these was exhibited at the Sports and Arts 
Exhibition at the Grosvenor Gallery, without any reference in the cata- 
logue to its origin, or to the fact that it was a lithograph. Mr. Wolf 
has no doubt that it ^as taken for an inferior chalk drawing. 



HE SETTLES AT DARMSTADT 33 

book/ speaks of its illustrations as coming " from the 
excellent and well-known pencil of Mr. Wolf" Of 
these the most notable is the " Female Goshawk and 
Hare." 

Although most of the exciting flights Wolf has 
witnessed have been those of wild birds, yet he is 
fully awake to the fascinations of falconry, and his 
name is probably as well known to some of the 
members of the Old Hawking Club as that of Adrian 
Mollen. 

It was once my good fortune to listen to a conver- 
sation between our friend and a keen Anglo-Indian 
falconer, which dealt with Sacres, Luggurs, and 
especially with the Shahtns, besides the notable career 
of certain of these birds. Wolfs real interest was 
evident ; and it was also evident that he knew much 
of the respective merits of the different species, not 
only from an artistic, but from a sportsman's point of 
view. 

After a profitable and pleasant time at Leyden, 
Wolf had a bad attack of ague, with which he battled 
for a month, but at last was driven back to his old 
quarters at Darmstadt. There he settled down to 
begin the most serious studies of his life. He wrote 
to Dr. Riippell, and having received from him the 
box of skins, was soon engaged on the lithographs 

' Falconry, its Claims, History, and Practice. By Gage Earle 
Freeman, M.A., and Francis Henry Salvin, Captain West York Rifles, 
to which are added Remarks on training the Otter and Cormorant by 
Captain Salvin. London, Longmans, Green cS: Co. 1859. 

D 



34 



LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 



(fifty in number) for The Birds of North-East Africa. 
Of this early work, consisting as it did almost entirely 
of drawings of widely-differing species from specimens 
more or less badly preserved, we must not be too 
critical. The attitudes, here and there, are stiff ; and, 
as a whole, the backgrounds are weak. A few are 
good ; but they are wanting in freedom and the look 
of nature. The feet are not so learnedly drawn as we 
find them in subsequent work, and the lithographic 
draughtsmanship, pure and simple, depends more on 
its colouring than afterwards.^ 

The acquaintance with such men as Ruppell, 
Kaup, and Schlegel, and their keen admiration for 
his work led, of course, to plenty of employment. 
Amone other commissions there came one from 
C. H. Temminck, then a very old man in failing 
health. Wolf also undertook to draw upon the stone 
ten of the Accipitres, and the same number of birds of 
other orders, out of the 119 species illustrated in 
Temminck and Schlegel' s Birds of fapan, forming 
^zx^ o{ ?i\^o\&?, Fauna japonica, completed and pub- 
lished in 1850. Some of these lithographs are well 
worth study, such, for instance, as Strix fuscescens. 

It was at this time that Wolf began to attend his 

' I am indebted to Mr. H. E. Dresser for the following translation of 
a passage in Riippell's preface : — " The fortunate chance of becoming 
" acquainted with a very talented young natural-history artist, Wolf of 
" Darmstadt, gave me the opportunity of having fifty birds which occur 
" in North-East Africa figured ; and which are either unknown, or of 
" which, up to now, only descriptions have been published ; and this has 
" been carried out in the most satisfactory manner." 



ART-SCHOOL DISCIPLINE 35 

first art-school ; and it is certain that many men whose 
career had begun so happily — whose hands were full 
of work after their own heart, with no fear of rivalry, 
would have done nothing of the kind. But he had 
already made some money, and he determined to 
invest it in his own way. He copied portraits and 
other pictures in the Darmstadt Gallery (including a 
few for the King of Bavaria), and he also painted a 
portrait or two on his own account. But all this time 
he was still at work at his birds, whenever he got the 
chance. 

At the art-school he set himself to draw outlines 
from the Antique ; for he knew by a kind of intuition 
the value and difficulty of such training, if conscienti- 
ously battled with. Indeed, I have heard him express 
his wonder that outline, which he considers the most 
difficult thing of any which an artist has to conquer, 
should be chosen as the first course in elementary 
schools. He went at his outlines with such a will 
that he had a good deal of spare time on his hands, 
and soon got into the good graces of a landscape- 
painter named Seegur, who acted as inspector, or 
something of the kind. Seegur shook his head, 
nevertheless, when a lively sketch of a trapped Fox 
appeared one day on the back of an oudine Venus. 
Besides this Antique work. Wolf also began to apply 
himself to oil-painting ; but he says that had all this 
school discipline come earlier, his animal subjects 
would have been "knocked out of his head." 



'36 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

Amonof the friends he made at Darmstadt was 
one Baur, an Ober Forst Rath, or Upper Forest 
Councillor. From his youth to a ripe old age, this 
veteran sportsman had continued, with "a fierce per- 
severance," to slay Roe Deer with a rifle. Wolf says 
Baur proved a good friend to him. " He had no 
" artistic taste, but he saw that I represented animals 
" as he knew them himself" He was also pleased with 
the young artist's keenness not only with the rifle, but 
to learn every detail touching the habits of the wild 
animals of the forest. Through old Baur's favour. 
Wolf was often allowed to join him at the shooting 
parties, and even to practise a little still-hunting on his 
own account. 

He had picked up at a pawnbroker's a capital gun, 
lately the property of a certain spendthrift Baron. 
With this and his rifle he had some fine sport, the bag 
includino- Wild Boars, Red,' Roe, and Fallow Deer, 
and Hares ; not to mention Black-cock and other 
winged game.''^ Yet he did not suffer even such sport 

' These Red Deer are so much larger than the Scotch specimens 
that the first time Wolf shot a Highland stag he was astonished at its 
smallness. 

- Mr. Robert J. Howard of Blackburn possesses, among other works 
of Wolf's, a water-colour drawing of an adult male Hobby, touching 
which he was good enough to tell me this, " When I bought the drawing, 
" Mr. Wolf said that he was not at all anxious to part with it ; he kept it 
"for auld lang syne. I wished to know the history of the bullet holes in 
" the tree on which the bird stands. Mr. Wolf wrote this, which I have 
" pasted on the back of the picture. ' The Hobby is represented perched 
"'on the dead top of an old fir tree which stood on the outskirts of a 
" ' plantation some hundred yards or so from the path by which we 
" ' sportsmen emerged from the wood on our way home. The tree-top 




NAsrruKNA i-usio. 



BIS DIAGRAMS OF ANIMALS 37 

as this to usurp for one moment the first place in his 
mind. His own particular "fierce perseverance" was 
shown by the making of a large series of outlines of 
the dead animals at the end of the day, which were 
laid on paper and pencilled round. From these data 
he was able to compile a scale of careful comparative 
measurements which he drafted into a couple of 
books, one for birds and the other for mammals. On 
inspection I found these books were as neatly kept as 
ledgers. In the first, fifty-eight measurements of each 
species are subdivided under such headings as " Spread 
wings from above," and from below ; " Foot " ; " Tail," 
&c. In the second, fifty-four measurements are sub- 
divided in the same manner. 

Of many of the birds he also made a painstaking 
plan to scale, showing the tail and wings extended. 
The plan is equally divided by a central line, and 
shows half the bird as seen from below, and half from 
above. The exact positions, shapes, and areas of the 
various tracts of feathers, besides the individual shape 
of each kind of feather and the shapes of the 
markings, are all sedulously given. These diagrams 
are sometimes accompanied by an outline of the head, 
and most of them by a full-size drawing of the tarsus 
and foot, done without regard to time and labour, and 

"'was a favourite perch for the different Birds of Prey, and for Turtle 
" ' Doves, &c., and by way of emptying our rifles we would take long 
'"shots at any bird sitting there and presenting so tempting a target. 
" ' Hence the idea of the bullet holes in the tree, as shown in the drawmg. 
—J. WOLF."' 



38 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

giving the exact shape and positions of the scales and 
scutellee.^ In some cases there is even a third 
diagram representing a plan of the same bird, with 
the wings half extended and the tail feathers closed ; 
showing also in outline the boundary lines of the 
tracts of feathers on the body. 

The making of a set of measurements and 
diagrams such as these, if only of one species, would 
give more knowledge than a good deal of time spent 
peering into the glass cases of a museum ; but when 
species after species was thus elaborately analyzed, 
measured, and drawn, it may be imagined whence that 
mastery came to which I shall allude, especially as the 
practice was continued to a time when the draughts- 
manship became absolutely faultless. Of the Birds 
of Prey (always his favourites), Wolf was particularly 
careful to secure records in this manner. 

The systematic study of the arrangement of the 
plumage (upon which the beautiful precision of the 
markings of the wild bird so much depends). Wolf 
says he was the first to introduce into England, and 
he also says that the time of its introduction by him 
may be traced in Gould's works. It will be seen at 
the conclusion of this book that Professor Newton, 
speaking of Wolfs knowledge of pterylography and 
its great effect upon his work, thought that he must 
have seen Nitzsch's treatise upon that subject, and 

1 Two of these drawings (unfortunately lithographed by another hand) 
were reproduced in The Zoologist io\- August i8So. 



THE BEAUTY OF ''SURFACE'' 39 

unlike other ornithological artists, have profited by 
it. This, however, is not the case. The labours of 
Nitzsch, like those of Sundevall, were unknown to 
him ; and like all his knowledge, the knowledge of 
pterylography was entirely self-acquired, without re- 
course to books, without the help of teachers, and 
without the advantages of wealth or wealthy friends. 
It was not till many years afterwards that the trans- 
lation of C. J. Sundevall's treatise On the Wings of 
Birds came in his way, or that he became aware 
how this indefatigable Swedish naturalist had been 
laboriously studying the external characters of birds, 
with the view of building up his system of classifi- 
cation, at the time he himself was patiently studying 
them in Germany. 

Had the works of Nitzsch and Sundevall fallen 
into Wolf's hands at this time they would have inter- 
ested him deeply ; for he was labouring with his 
pencil, to an extent of which even many of his 
warmest admirers know little, in the same field ; 
continually harping, as he harps to this day, on the 
paramount importance of a systematic study of the 
beautiful " surface " of mammals and birds — on the 
importance of the closest attention to the distribution 
of the tracts of a bird's feathers, and the growth 
of a mammal's coat. 

It is hard to imagine any person who loved his 
gun, however much he loved his art, cumbering 
himself with a gigantic roll of "continuous cartoon" 



40 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

paper ; or going out in the winter to shoot one or two 
Fieldfares or Redwings, which had to be carried 
carefully home, measured, analyzed, and drawn, as I 
have described. It is a good instance of that Darwin- 
like love of the truth that is humbly and patiently 
built up little by little. " It wasn't sport," says Wolf, 
" that took me out shooting. I wanted to learn. If 
" you study animals, even at the zoological gardens, 
" you learn much more than by looking at them along 
" the barrel of a gun." To the gun, nevertheless, he 
owed more than he is, perhaps, willing to acknow- 
ledge. His powder was straight, and almost every 
shot added to his portfolio at least one study or 
diagram ; sometimes a whole series, as in the case of 
a Crane or two he shot at Darmstadt. Besides these 
dead models, he had usually several living sitters, 
including a Goshawk and a Great Plover, from which 
he also frequently sketched. As to a Quail he had 
studied at Mc.ierz, it grew so tame that it used to sit 
on the toe of his boot while he drew it. 

Besides what I have named, there were other 
researches. I have found in his portfolios series after 
series of studies of the superficial and anatomical 
detail of animals ; such, for instance, as the species 
of. Deer which were met with in the forests, each of 
which was minutely analyzed, measured, and described 
— so minutely that there is a perfect gallery of draw- 
ings of the horns alone. When a vixen was dug out 
by the foresters and knocked on the head, she was 



LANDSCAPE STUDIES 41 

immortalized in a dozen or more litde analytical 
drawings, and consequently committed to memory, 
inch by inch. 

It must not be imagined that Wolf devoted him- 
self to the study of zoology only. I was astonished, 
one day, to find in one of his presses two formidable 
volumes. The one contained a large number of 
elaborate tracings of the human bones and muscles 
from engravings ; and the other, tracings of the same 
kind of the bones and muscles of the Horse. These 
were all accompanied by neatly written lists of the 
names (including the processes and attachments), and 
comparative measurements. The care and pains- 
taking were those you would expect to see in the 
ledgers of some merchant prince. There was not an 
erasure, or an illegibility, or a blur. It was work 
done con ainore. I have also seen numbers of land- 
scape studies of this period, in pencil and water- 
colours ; besides many others of foregrounds and 
trees. Most of these were drawn direct from nature 
in the neighbourhood of Darmstadt ; and with the 
same indefatigable, conscientious care — the same 
determination to learn as much as possible, that is 
shown by the zoological work. Some of the fore- 
ground studies, by their handling and repletion of 
detail, suggest rather strongly the influence of Albert 
Diirer, but at that time Wolf knew nothing of his 
work. 

The desire to learn was so strong that, in bad 



42 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

weather, the student elaborated certain pencil copies 
from old prints and lithographs of foreground foliage. 
In fact the word "elaborated" hardly conveys the 
laboriousness of this work. It was work in facsimile. 
As a kind of relief or reward at the end of each copy, 
he perched a bird or an insect on one of the bushes or 
rocks. 

Wolf was now steadily applying himself to the 
drawing of trees and foreground foliage ; and he pro- 
bably enjoyed sitting down for a good tussle with a 
bit of complex ramification, or with a tangled thicket 
of brambles, nearly as much as he enjoyed the difficul- 
ties of drawing animals. He saw that these animals 
depended for much of their beauty, their concealment, 
and the interest of their habits, upon the nature and 
colouring- of their surroundings, and he set himself 
to learn those surroundings. 

Near Darmstadt he found a small avenue of 
fantastic and stunted firs, which he says he used to 
delight in drawing. The use he made of them is 
evident in many subsequent designs. 

From his friends among the foresters he learnt 
much woodcraft, besides some useful wrinkles in 
shootino-.i One of them showed him a crood hidino- 
place in the Odenwald, whence to see the assembly 
of the Black Grouse. Here he dug a hole, screened 

1 To a lo\ cr of guns, Wolf is an inteiesting companion. He will talk 
by the hour of the minutire of bullet-casting ; of rapid and slow twists, 
the proper use of the sling, and other things on which the man who is 
once thoroughly Ijitten \\'ith an affection for firearms burns to discourse. 



A WOODCOCK'S NEST 43 

it with fir boughs, and armed with his binoculars, 
crept into hiding just before day-break. He says 
"There is great enjoyment in watching these birds 
" day after day. When they fight, the combs of the 
" males are inflated, so that they look as big as straw- 
" berries. These combs are chiefly developed in the 
" breeding season, and are therefore not much known 
" to sportsmen. Nor do sportsmen know the size of 
" the comb of a Red Grouse ; which, when courting 
" is going on in the spring, is three-quarters of an inch 
" high." A series of careful recollections were after- 
wards made of the fighting birds. The results of this 
watching, day after day, were not only stored in one of 
those memories whose storage-room seemed infinite, 
but were also added to the corpulent portfolios. 

It was at this period, that Wolf made a few little 
studies that I think he looks upon with as much 
satisfaction as anv he has done. He was enermzins: 
away at some very pleasant country quarters (the 
village of Grassellenbach), where he had the whole 
wing of a farm-house to himself and capital cookery, 
for the sum of one shilling a day. Some wood-cutters, 
as they felled a neighbouring oak-copse, saw a Wood- 
cock fly off her eggs. The forester on duty told Wolf 
that the bird had returned, in spite of the destruction 
of the cover. Sketch-book in hand, and trembling 
all over with excitement, the artist crept up, sat down 
" by inches," and worked, as he says, "like blazes," 
till he had secured careful drawings from several 



44 



LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 



points of view. If not altogetfier unique, such a chance 
was rare enough to shake a man's nerves who reahzed 
the beauty of the sight, and what the sketches were 
worth in days when "snap-shot" photographs were 
unknown. The power to turn out careful studies 
under such circumstances arose pardy from a habit of 
intense concentration when the time came for it, and 
pardy from the perfect knowledge of the distribution 
of the feather tracts. " It would otherwise," says the 
artist, " have been impossible. The light stripes on 
" the backs of the birds of this genus are each com- 
" posed of two lines of parti-coloured feathers ; the 
" light webs of which, joined together, form the stripes 
" when the plumage is in perfect order. There are 
" hundreds of sportsmen who have killed no end of 
" Woodcocks who don't know anything about that. 
" They don't know the beauty of them. Professed 
" ornithological artists have made the mistake of 
" representing the stripe as formed of one line of 
" feathers." 

It was natural that Wolf should be anxious to turn 
to some practical account the knowledge derived from 
the long twilight watches and exciting days in the 
forest ; and towards the end of his residence in 
Darmstadt he was fortunate in receiving a commission 
from one Kern, a publisher in that city, to draw on 
stone a series of natural history and sporting sub- 
jects, in conjunction with an artist named Frisch ; a 
kind of blank cheque which allowed him free scope 




■J^i«»i 



'1,^ 







Caprimulgus Tamaricis. 



DESIGNS FOR KERN 



45 



for invention. These designs (which are dated 1846 
and 1847), were the first commissions in which he 
was allowed free scope ; and they prove that the 
imagination which was afterwards so strong was, even 
then, fairly sturdy. The subjects include the various 
game-birds in their haunts, Badgers at play. Wood- 
cock-shooting ; wildfowl, and like designs. The 
Blackgame Lek shows a vigorous fight between two 
cocks ; and in the distance may be seen a man watch- 
ing them, as Wolf had so often done himself. 

In one of these designs we see, for the first time, 
a favourite whim of his — the flouting of the aggressor. 
A marauding Fox has sprung at a fine cock Caper- 
caillie, and is rewarded with a mouthful of tail- 
feathers. Of this kind of episode we shall afterwards 
find plenty of examples. 

The Woodcock-shooting shows the artist's usual 
way of handling sporting subjects. The shooter is 
at least a gunshot distant, and the birds so near in 
the twilight sky that the broken leg and floating 
feathers appeal to our sympathy, as they are intended 
to do. The composition strikes me as unfortunate, 
but that of the Badger design is the reverse. Here, 
a whole family scuffle and play together in a glade of 
a dense pine-forest, by the rather pronounced light of 
the full moon. Thirty years later the artist would 
have suppressed much of the detail both of the 
animals and the landscape ; but even here we find, to 
a certain extent, a quality which afterwards became 



46 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

one of his strongholds — the quaHty of the " lost and 
found," or mystery, or suggestiveness, allied to that 
all-important item of artistic knowledge, the knowing 
what to omit. 

The lithographs I have described appear to me 
to possess, among their other good qualities, 
originality. Seeing how little Wolf knew of con- 
temporary art of any kind, how conventional much 
of the sporting and zoological art was at that time, 
originality is not, perhaps, so great a merit as it might 
have been. He saw his subjects vividly in a mind 
not confused by a thousand recollections of this school 
or that ; and he tried to draw what he saw with his 
natural naivete. There was this disadvantage, that 
he had little or nothing to "crib" from. He could 
not help himself to a head here, an attitude there, or 
the whole composition of a group somewhere else, 
as his plagiarists have so often done at his expense. 
He was a pioneer, and had to fight his way, as it 
were, and pay his footing. 

The Darmstadt period of Wolfs art, as we may 
call it, is represented in oil-colour by a series of little 
panel pictures which in their crispness of touch and 
elaborate finish would suggest Dutch influences, if 
we did not positively know that the painter was 
altogether uninfluenced by any school. One of the 
most elaborate of these pictures (perhaps too ela- 
borate), represents a quantity of Wild Duck and 
Widgeon thronging in the old channel of the Rhine. 



DARMSTADT OIL-PICTURES 47 

The chief figure is that of a fine Mallard, which, with 
extended wings, is scrambling out of the half-frozen 
water upon a small bank of snow beneath a thicket of 
reeds. 

Another picture shows us a covey of Partridges, 
dusting, basking, and playing in a patch of sunlight, 
with so perfect an abandonment of happiness that the 
subject is charming. That the actions of the birds 
are thoroughly natural it is unnecessary to say. They 
are the result of actual observation. 

A third and much smaller subject represents one 
of the experiences of Wolf's trapping days ; for a large 
Goshawk, its foot fast in a gin, struggles for freedom 
with the full strength of wings and body, looking 
round with furious eyes at the trapper who is 
evidently approaching. The dead Rabbit which is 
the cause of the beautiful criminal's destruction lies 
on the snow, and the distant woods whence he came 
loom mistily against a yellow, wintry sky. This is 
one of those httle artistic achievements which must 
always be coveted by the lover of zoological art, both 
on account of its interest, and the extreme faithfulness 
of the work, although it is very early work. 

Without this ocular demonstration of Wolfs 
capabilities as an oil-painter at this period, I should 
not have believed that the time at the Darmstadt art 
school could have been so profitable. 

The work and the sport I have described are only 
a fraction of the fruit of this period of his life ; work 



48 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

ranging from an auto-lithograph " diploma card " of 
the Natural History Society of the Grand Duchy of 
Hessen, alive with mammals and birds, to highly- 
finished studies from nature. It was a time full of 
sunshine, when the mental attributes to which Wolf 
was to owe his success in life, were slowly ripening. 
Among these attributes was one which proved of 
far greater value to him than many others. With 
increasing success and knowledge, there grew up a 
power of discounting them, as it were. It was a 
power of estimating their relative values and amount 
compared with what might still be achieved — of self- 
appraisement. It was Wolfs determined resolution 
to be accurate, thorough, and true, even in the least of 
his zoological studies ; and it was to this resolution, 
to the invincible patience with which he built up his 
knowledge of the detail of species after species, and to 
his hearty sympathy with wild animals, that his ulti- 
mate unequalled success in the most difficult part of 
his profession was due. 

Solicitude and patience in the conquest of ele- 
ments has generally been a sign of a logical mind, and 
often a sign of genius. Wolf knew perfectly well 
that he had much to learn in art which could only be 
learnt in the schools, and though everything seemed 
to drag him in a contrary direction, he determined to 
begfin over arain. 

o o 

Early in 1847 he broke off a career which I 
always like to think of ; happy, congenial, and sue- 




Sj'lZAilTUS NANUS. 



AT SCHOOL AGAIN 49 

cessful in the highest degree, to take his place, as 
he puts it, "among the small-boys at the Antwerp 
Academy." He voluntarily deserted work such as 
that he had been doing for Kern, where he had a 
free hand and could follow his bent ; fired his farewell 
shot at Roe Deer and Black-game ; and after four 
pleasant years at Darmstadt, betook himself to school 
again. 

He soon passed into the life-class ; and there he 
settled down with his usual determined application — 
every nerve strained, and every sense on the qui vive, 
to make the most of his time. He says he wished to 
study painting ; but as there was no school for animal- 
painting, he had to paint what he could, that is to say, 
from human models. " If I had remained at Antwerp 
" I should have been led away into a different groove 
" altogether — perhaps figure and landscape. I felt 
" loth to part with my natural history, and yet I was 
" led to believe, by all my surroundings, that figure and 
"landscape were the only worthy kinds of art." He 
knew also that he was liable to be influenced, not only 
by the personality of the professors, but by the 
example of the students ; so he took refuge in the 
zoological gardens. 

Perhaps, for a short time, lured by some mental 
ignis faiims, he may have intended to throw in his 
lot with the figure-painters, without altogether desert- 
ing his first love. 

Now it came to pass that, about this time, Dr. 

E 



50 LIFE OF yOSEFH WOLF 

Kaup went over to England, on ornithology intent. 
As far as Wolf was concerned, the first-fruits of this 
visit soon appeared in the form of a commission from 
John Gould, then well known on the Continent, for 
a small water-colour drawing. The subject (almost a 
miniature), was " Partridges dusting," and this was 
probably the first of our friend's works in colour 
which had been seen in England. But English 
ornithologists were getting to know that a young 
German had arisen who had done some fine work for 
Professor Schlegel ; and when Dr. Kaup was at the 
British Museum he was questioned as to the where- 
abouts of the artist who had drawn the Falcons in the 
Ti-aitd. The result of this was that Wolf received a 
letter, which, on translation, proved to be an invitation 
to London. The late Mr. D. W. Mitchell asked for 
his help in completing the illustrations of an impor- 
tant work on the Genera of Birds, then in the course 
of completion by that indefatigable ornithologist Mr. 
George Robert Gray. Wolf said to himself, " Wait a 
"bit ! I must study here nine months more at least, 
"before I leave." So he declined the invitation, and 
set his palette in peace. 

I have seen some of the oil life-studies which he 
did at Antwerp, and they seem to me to show con- 
siderable promise. At all events, he had completely 
overcome the early inability to cover a large surfjice. 

It may occur to us to wonder why, in the course 
of his career at the schools of Darmstadt and 



HE LEAVES FOR LONDON 51 

Antwerp, he was not smitten with the desire to seek 
his fortune as a zoological artist at Berlin. That it 
was not so is an example of the smallness of the pegs 
on which great matters sometimes hang, and also an 
example of prejudice. He says, " It is very curious 
" that I never had any inclination to go to Berlin. It 
" was simply because the Berliners I had met were 
" men I did not care for — talkative, laying down the 
" law &c. I might have had to fight some duels if I 
" had gone there. But if the Franco-Prussian War 
" had broken out earlier, and Germany had got to be 
" what she is now, I might probably have remained 
" there — might have gone to Berlin, where there is 
" also an appreciation of careful work." 

Fate, who had plucked the little " bird-fool " from 
the farmyard, and filled him with loathing at the 
mere smell of Limburg cheese and sauerkraut, was 
not going to have all her work undone by the 
Antwerp professors. Just in the nick of time (namely 
in 1848), "Sceptre and Crown did tumble down," 
and all over Europe, says Wolf, "the artists hung 
" up their palettes and took to rifle-shooting. I made 
"up my mind to see what London was like, so here 
" we are." He packed up his studies and firearms, 
and embarked with his belongings, all and singular, 
in a London steamer ; thus bringing to an end the 
second era in his life. 



E 2 



52 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 



CHAPTER III 

IT was one of those February days when the 
London soot falls in the shape of a cold, black 
drizzle upon a million umbrellas and a sea of 
slime — a day when the bespattered wayfarer falls 
out with what he chooses to call his native air, 
that Joseph Wolf got his first glimpse of British 
architecture ; and he was not impressed by it. Of 
our tongue he was utterly ignorant ; but he was burly 
and canny enough to escape a fleecing by the river- 
side, and to keep an unflustered eye on his gun-cases 
and trunks. 

When he had joined the Antwerp Academy he 
had made up his mind to master the mystery of flesh- 
painting and solid colour quite at leisure ; and now 
we find the student bumping in an unsavoury four- 
wheeler towards a very different career from that he 
had pictured to himself! 

At The Museum he was cordially welcomed by 
Mr. Mitchell (who was able to converse with him 
in French), and was straightway carried off to take 
possession of some temporary quarters at No. 14 
Howland Street, Fitzroy Square. This was a far 




Solitary. 



"■THE GENERA OF BIRDS" 53 

better neighbourhood than it is now : and, finding it 
to his mind, Wolf afterwards settled down per- 
manently in the parlours of No. 17. 

Mr. Mitchell was determined to counteract the 
depressing effect of the weather, and on the very first 
evening, he made up a little party for the theatre ; 
including Mr. Trtibner the publisher (then .with 
Messrs. Longmans), who acted as interpreter. 

Next day Wolf was installed in the Insect Room, 
and began his work for Gray's Genera of Birds,'' auto- 
lithographs which are certainly notable, though purely 
scientific. 

Mr. Mitchell, in his " Postscript by the Illus- 
trator," writes as follows : — 

" It is perhaps scarcely necessary to state that the illustrations of 
" this Book have no claim to be considered as works of art. My con- 
" stant object has been to represent as closely as possible those charac- 
" teristic variations of form which are relied upon by ornithologists 
" as the distinctive marks of generic separation. When I accepted 
" the office of Secretary to the Zoological Society and found myself 
" no longer able to devote to the completion of the series of plates 
"the time which the work demanded, I was fortunate enough to 
" obtain the assistance of Mr. Wolf of Coblenz ; - and I have the 
"pleasure of believing that, as I thus secured the best available 
" talent in Europe as a substitute for my own pencil, my friends will 
" have no cause for regret that the latter part of the work has been 
"entrusted to another hand. — Montague Street, August 29, 1849." 



' The Genera of Birds, Comprising" their Generic Characters, a notice 
of the Habit of each Species, and an extensive list of Species, referred to 
the several Genera. By George Robert Gray, F.L.S. Illustrated by 
David William Mitchell, B.A., F.L.S. &c. Secretary to the Zoological 
Society of London. In 3 volumes, 1844-1849. Longmans. 

- He did not then know Wolfs native place. 



54 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

If we turn over the three volumes, after reading 
this, and compare the illustrations by the veteran 
naturalist with those by the young, self-taught artist of 
twenty-seven, we shall at once see a difference, and 
shall agree pretty cordially that the friends of the 
former had little cause to regret his relinquishing the 
work. It will be unnecessary to warn those who wish 
to study these drawings, that only eleven or so of the 
hundred and eighty-five coloured plates are of Wolfs 
doing, and fifty-nine out of the hundred and forty- 
eight plates of detail. It will be equally unnecessary 
to recommend a comparison of such a performance as 
Plate No. 7 {Aquiline) with the sound workmanship 
and artistic feeling of Wolf's Cacatiiince (Plate 105, 
Vol. 2) Corvina (Vol. 2), (Plate 76, Vol. 2) ; or 
Chai^adruicr (Plate 145, Vol. 3). 

Even if the volumes be turned over very rapidly, 
the difference will strike the eye ; for each of the 
heads (no less than 345 in number), in Wolfs plates is 
^.portTait, instinct with life and individuality. This is 
the case whether it is the head of a tiny Humming 
Bird, or of a large species such as a Flamingo or 
Swan ; and it is especially noteworthy that while Mr. 
Mitchell often copied conscientiously the " distortions 
of the bird-stuffer," Wolf, in no single instance, even 
suggests a stuffed specimen. It is in this power of re- 
vivifying a dried skin, and not merely revivifying, 
but showing the most characteristic and beautiful 
attitude and expression of the living bird or animal. 



''THE GENERA OF BIRDS" 55 

that he stood alone then, and appears to stand alone 
now. 

Such of the feet and detail of wings as he drew 
upon stone with his own hands are also excellent ; 
but, unfortunately, in most of the plates which contain 
the best portraits, these details appear to have been 
delivered over to " Hulmandel and Walton's new 
Process " ; a process which we will hope died an 
early death. 

As a piece of unwavering devotion to nature, of 
unmercenary industry, and of skill in differentiating 
specific character, these bird portraits of Wolfs are 
remarkable. Of this work he says, " If I hadn't felt 
the importance of it, I couldn't have done it." It is 
evident now, how directly profitable the self-imposed 
labours at Darmstadt — the constant watchfulness and 
elaborate records of measurements, had already be- 
come. Without the industrious habits and the enthu- 
siasm which had long ago formed themselves into a 
second nature, he might have qualified himself to pro- 
vide "figures" for this book, but he could not have 
adorned it to such a degree. It was well for him that 
this, his first undertaking in England, was connected 
with a work prepared in so painstaking and able a 
manner. Professor Newton, in his most interesting 
article on Ornithology in the EncyclopcFdia Britannica, 
says of it : — 

"The enormous labour required for this work seems scarcely to 
" have been appreciated ; though it remains to this day one of the 



56 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

" most useful books in an ornithologist's library .... to have con- 
" ceived the idea of executing a work on so grand a scale as this 
" . . . . was itself a mark of genius . . . ." 

By constantly drawing at The Museum the young 
German became acquainted with a good many men 
of science ; and he took to some of them at once. 
Professor Westwood, for instance, used to talk to him 
in French, at a time when his knowledge of English 
was chiefly confined to certain exercises in The Vicar 
of Wakefield which his master set him. In addition 
to this well-known entomologist, he of course made 
the acquaintance of many other scientific men ; and 
on the occasion of one of the country excursions of 
The Entomological Society he met, for the first time, 
William Yarrell ; who so far unbent, as to sing a comic 
song, to feast with the rest of them on strawberries 
and cream, and even to join in a little rifle practice. 

One day, soon after Wolf's arrival in England, he 
was introduced, at the Zoological Gardens, to a man 
small in stature, but by no means small in mind, who 
was engaged on some dissecting. This was Mr. 
Bardett, now known far and wide, in a hale and 
vigorous old age, as the Superintendent of the Zoo- 
logical Gardens, and for his most extensive zoological 
knowledge. He asked Wolf to visit him, and the 
invitation being accepted, the artist found that his 
new friend was a naturalist, living in College Street, 
Camden Town, where he was often to be found 
skinning birds, or busy in the interesting work of his 



SCIENCE AND ART 57 

profession. The acquaintance, in spite of the early 
difficulty of communication, ripened ; and it has lasted 
ever since ; each of the men appreciating the other's 
energy and talent. 

It was at the Gardens, too, that Wolf first made 
friends with Mr. H. E. Dresser, then (in the fifties), a 
lad beginning the study of natural history. As they 
became intimate, the artist would often turn up on 
Sunday at Mr. Dresser's home at Norwood, fully 
enjoying the comfort there, and absence of cere- 
mony. 

I regret to say that a few of the men of science 
Wolf came across filled him with wonder, just as 
Dr. Kaup had done in setting up the Sparrow-hawk. 
He says, " Some of the ornithologists don't recognise 
" nature — don't know a bird when they see it flying. 
" A specimen must be well dried before they recognise 
" it." He found also (which to him was much more 
serious), that his instincts and knowledge as an artist 
were at a discount among many of his new friends, 
thoroughly able men and good fellows as they were ; 
and it grated upon him. " Among the naturalists," 
he complains, "there are some who are very keen 
"about scientific correctness, but who have no artis- 
" tic feeling. If a thing is artistic they mistrust it 
" There must be nothing right in perspective. There 
" must be nothing but a map of the animal, and in 
" a side view. They are like those other naturalists 
"who only know a bird when they handle the skin. 



58 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

" It is impossible, for instance, for a mere museum 
" man to Ivnow the true colour of the eyes." 

Few who are not thoroughly familiar with the 
technical training, to say nothing of the talent, neces- 
sary to form an accomplished artist ; who have never 
fruitlessly endeavoured to sound the depth of the 
general ignorance about art, even in the case of many 
highly educated men, will be able to read between the 
lines of these complaints. The learned naturalist 
would very properly smile at an outsider who scouted 
the idea that any special training was needed in 
the writer of one of those admirable monographs or 
papers which show such accuracy and patient re- 
search. Yet, strange to say, when he comes to the 
illustrations he often considers himself much more 
competent to decide on their handling than a man 
who has spent the best years of his life, not only in 
the study of all branches of art, but of zoological art 
particularly. 

And woe be to this unhappy man if he follows out 
the refinements he has been many years in mastering, 
or obeys the laws of perspective or chiaroscuro. The 
result of this state of things may be seen in many a- 
scientific work ; but it has not always been the case. 
A few ornithologists, for instance, have proved them- 
selves most appreciative and kindly employers of the 
artists upon whom, as they know, they depend so 
much for the interest and value of their labours. 
But Science and Art, though ostensibly united under 




Eleonora's Falcon. 



SCIENCE AND ART 59 

the auspices of a government department, have, in 
certain branches, been well nigh divorced from each 
other. -^ The fault is not on one side ; and the more 
we apply ourselves to study the subject,'- the more 
shall we incline to the opinion that Art has been very 
greatly to blame. Artists have sneered at Science, 
and have treated her simplest laws with open ridicule. 
They have considered themselves far above such 
things as the trammels of draughtsmanship ; or even 
the superficial knowledge of elementary human ana- 
tomy. They have looked down from the sublime 
pinnacles of landscape art with openly avowed con- 
tempt upon the man who has devoted himself to any 
but the regulation animals and "the regulation nest of 
a Chaffinch with Hedge Sparrow's eggs." They have 
eagerly turned aside to welcome " Impressionism " 
into their very midst ; and have shaken their tresses 
not only at "the objects of natural history," but at 
Nature. 

There is little doubt that both Science and Art 
have suffered and will suffer from this mutual hostility 
or contempt. If the time should ever come when 

' This is exemplified by a very amusing article in Tlic Fields once or 
twice a year, on the Sporting subjects at the picture galleries ; an article 
full of vigour and sense, by a thoroughly competent naturalist, who fights 
a good fight, all the year round, against the nauseous popular-natural- 
history anecdote and the marvel-monger. 

^ It has been a source of the greatest regret to me that I had not 
studied the subject as I ought when I wrote the sketch of Wolf's life some 
years ago. Had I done so I should not have written as 1 did. It is a 
subject of which it is essential to consider both sides ; but unfortunately 
it is easy to lose all patience in considering either. 



6o LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

they are really united, the closer that union becomes 
the more valuable will be those works in which both 
have to take a part. 

At the time Wolf came over, English ornitho- 
logists had standards of several kinds by which to 
judge representations of birds and mammals. A few 
of these standards were high ; but, for the most part, 
and even in the great encyclopaedias brought out 
regardless of cost under the auspices of the elite of 
Science, some of the zoological illustrations showed 
every conceivable elaboration of vileness that could be 
foisted upon nature by outrageous artistic empiricism/ 
Among the ornithological artists then in repute there 
can hardly be mentioned one who could be depended 
on for an accurate and life-like representation of a 
specimen to which he had been unable to get access 
while it was living, or at all events in the flesh. Of 
Bewick, Professor Newton writes : — 

" Full}' admitting the extraordinary execution of the engravings, 
" every ornithologist may perceive that as portraits of the Birds, 
" they are of very unequal merit. Some of the figures were drawn 
" from stuffed specimens, and accordingly perpetuate all the imper- 
" fections of the originals ; others represent species with the appear- 

' Speaking of Allen^s Naturalists Library, a reviewer in The Daily 
Graphic says: — "As illustrative of the relative advance of knowledge in 
these matters, [butterflies and monkeys] it is interesting to note that 
while the old series of plates in ' Butterflies ' remain intact with a few 
additions, those, \\ithout exception, in the old 'Jardine' \olume on 
monkeys have been discarded, and an entirely new series substituted. 
The others, ' with appropriate inscriptions' says Dr. Sharpe, would have 
formed a very good instalment of a Series of ' Comic Natural History' 
volumes, as they were, in fact, nothing but a set of extraordinary carica- 
tures of monkeys." 



POWER OF REVIVIFYING 6t 

" ance of which the artist was not familiar, and these are either 
"wanting in expression or are caricatures ; [Note. This is especially 
"observable in the figures of the Birds of Prey. Newton] but those 
" that were drawn from live Birds, or represent species which he 
" knew in life, are worthy of all praise." 

The same writer, speaking of a French ornitho- 
logical work, continues : — 

" The plates in this last are by Barraband, for many years re- 
" garded as the perfection of ornithological artists, and indeed the 
" figures, when they happen to have been drawn from the life, are not 
" bad ; but his skill was quite unable to vivify the preserved specimens 
" contained in museums, and when he had only these as subjects, 
" he simply copied the distortions of the ' bird-stufifer.' " 

As I have said, it was in this respect, even thus 
early in his career, that Wolf's art was unique. He 
was an unconscious co-worker with Nitzsch and 
Sundevall, but not a disciple. By means of his 
devotion to the study of external characters (not 
neglecting anatomy), and the logical evolution of 
principles from well classified facts, he had, at last, 
become capable of revivifying species, either birds 
or mammals, of which he had never seen more than 
the skin, or a specimen preserved in spirits ; and I 
should say that hardly an instance can be found in 
which he was led far astray by a preserved speci- 
men. 

Mr. Mitchell, then, had had his choice ; and he 
found that he had cause to congratulate himself on 
the result. As will be seen, he ultimately brought 
our friend plenty of work, besides the illustrations for 
the Genera. Some time afterwards he had to deliver 



62 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

a series of lectures on ornithology, and he commis- 
sioned Wolf to furnish the illustrations, in the form of 
large water-colours eight feet by five. Among these 
subjects were Cranes ; a Goshawk striking a Rabbit ; 
and "a lot of Ducks dashing into the water, with a 
Peregrine whipping past." Wolf worked his hardest 
at these designs while the lectures lasted, finishing 
two or three a week, out of a total of a dozen. They 
were very freely executed, partly with a sponge, and 
partly with large brushes.^ A well-known picture- 
dealer had to strain them on canvas ; and scenting 
money with the keen picture-dealer nose, he gave 
the painter two boards, with a commission for small 
replicas of the Peregrine and the Goshawk subjects. 
" Those boards," says Wolf, many years afterwards, 
" are knocking about my studio still, and very dirty 
" they are. I had always an aversion to do anything 
" for a dealer, and I would sooner have died of 
" starvation than have run to one." It is fortunate 
for Wolf that he was never driven to one with the 
scourge of that direst form of necessity which has 
blasted many a painter, bitterly striving- after higher 
things than pot-boilers. 

Much as he got to like some of the scientific men. 
Wolf was resolutely determined not to become a mere 
scientific draughtsman. He naturally felt that he 
had more in common with members of his own pro- 
fession, and soon numbered a good many among his 

' These drawings afterwards became the propertj' of Professor (Iwen. 




AsTUR Griceiceps. 



WORK FOR OTHER ARTISTS 63 

friends. At The Museum he had already made the 
acquaintance of that accomphshed hthographer G. H. 
Ford ; a man who, in spite of his skill in representing 
reptiles and fish, utterly failed in the revivifying of 
preserved specimens of other orders ; such for 
instance is the Chiroptera. He saw with pleasure how 
Ford would patiently labour for weeks over a draw- 
ing ; and of course he appreciated the thorough-going 
nature of the workmanship that so aroused Darwin's 
enthusiasm ; ^ but he saw also where Ford stopped 
short. 

Up to the present time he had known compara- 
tively little of the ways of artists, and he was surprised 
to find how eager some of them were to get him to 
put in their animals. 

The following incident shows how completely 
ignorant he was of this system of borrowing. One 
day he had just finished a great flight of gulls in one 
of his friends' drawings, and was resting, very tired, 
when a visitor was announced. The visitor gazed at 
the drawine, and then said, "There is no other man 

" who can put in gulls like you, H ." " H said 

" nothing, but / said ' Good-bye,' and it was ' Good- 
" ' bye' for any more gulls and things." In after years 
Wolf became familiar with this kind of thing, and 
even found artists, here and there, (such as his friend 
Thomas Woolner, R.A.) ready and even anxious to 
acknowledge his help in a substantial way. 

' Life and Letters of Charles Darunn. 



64 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

He has also become familiar with flattery in its 
sincerest form ; but sometimes he is apt to growl 
when he encounters a particularly strenuous attempt at 
copying some bird or beast of his. He says " I have 
" seen some of my gulls flying about in fellows' 
"pictures at the Academy," and says it with a laugh 
which proves that he takes it, after all, as he takes 
most things — pretty easily. There are certain excep- 
tions, however, and he boils over at the recollection 
of one particular instance, because his designs, after 
being handed over to the publisher, appeared as the 
work of a man who professed the most sublime con- 
tempt for natural history. 

The tide of his fortunes which had turned almost 
imperceptibly in Dr. Riippell's study some eight years 
before, now flowed swiftly. Long before Wolf was 
by any means perfect in his knowledge of English, he 
became acquainted with Mr. William Russell (a well- 
known accountant), who brought Sir Edwin Landseer 
to see him. His studies were pinned thickly to the 
walls ; and finding the room thus papered, Sir Edwin 
was keenly interested. This was the first of a series of 
visits to Wolf by Sir Edwin and his brother Thomas, 
who both formed a very high opinion of him. 

Mrs. Russell was a Campbell and related to the 
Duke of Argyll, who was then, as Wolf puts it, 
" mad for birds." The artist was introduced to the 
Duke, who became a patron in the best sense of that 
perverted word ; kind, appreciative, and keenly inter- 



D I STING UISHED EMFL O VERS 



65 



ested. In The Reign of Law, published as long after- 
wards as 1867, there are several most careful diagrams 
by Wolf, illustrating the "machinery of flight," and 
a kindly acknowledgment of their authorship. 

The pencil sketch, a small reproduction of which 
I have given, was made from a Blackcock which he 
shot at Inveraray, and is interesting from the fact that 
it was done in ten minutes. 




Sketch of a Blackcock as he fell 

Through Mr. Russell he was also introduced to 
the Sutherland family, and to the Duke of West- 
minster ; who, like the Duke of Argyll, became an 
occasional visitor at No. 17, Howland Street. 

If the wiseacres of Moerz, who shook their heads 
at the Vogelfangcrs folly, could have known all this, 
and if they could have counted the guineas that gently 

F 



66 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

trickled into his exchequer, they would probably have 
said that they had always predicted his success — 
had seen from the very first that there was something 
uncommon about the boy. 

Success in art, to say nothing of other professions, 
has always depended to a certain extent upon the 
prestige acquired by patronage. Now Wolf had, all 
along, looked upon patronage, in its usual sense, with 
dislike ; and, fortunately, he had contrived to keep 
himself free from it. What many men, therefore, 
would have regarded as the gayest feather in their 
caps he, rightly or wrongly, ranked second to the 
unaffected approval of a brother artist. 

Perhaps, of all his artistic laurels as apart from 
those bestowed on him by Science, the most honour- 
able are represented by the admiration of the Pre- 
Raphaelite " Brotherhood " for his work ; and so 
young a painter who could number its members among 
his champions had good cause to congratulate himself 
Wolfs art, in fact, was entirely free from the conven- 
tionality and mendacity against which the Brother- 
hood girded ; and the attribute which probably 
appealed to their sympathy was his evident determina- 
tion to do every work as perfectly, conscientiously, 
truthfully, and patiently as it could possibly be done — 
to maintain an unswerving faithfulness to nature. 
Moreover, he was no believer in dogmas, or systems, 
or schools ; and would have refused to follow any 
artist, or the Brotherhood itself further than his own 



THE PRE-RAPHAELITES 67 

reason allowed him. He says, " I always hated what 

" they call ' style ' in art. The moment you get into 

" that you become unnatural." 

At the suggestion of Mr. F. G. Stephens, when I 

was publishing my former sketch of Wolfs life, I 

wrote to the late Mr. Woolner, and to Mr. W. M. 

Rossetti, with the view of learning from each of them 

"The Brotherhood's" opinion of the work in 

question. They kindly permitted me to quote their 

replies, which were as follows. Mr. Woolner 

wrote : — 

" I cannot speak in words of Wolf as highly as he deserves, and 
" I am rejoiced that you seem resolved to do his splendid abili- 
"ties justice. I remember fighting his battles as far back as 
"1848, when many persons were inclined to disallow his high 
"originality and vivid truthfulness; and I doubt, even now, if 
" there are a great number who appreciate his works as they ought 
" to be admired." 

Mr. Woolner, who was six years younger than 
Wolf, remained his friend in after life, and was one 
of the few (as I have said), who, while sometimes 
availing themselves of his help, anxiously sought to 
offer him proper remuneration. 

Mr. W. M. Rossetti wrote to me as follows : — 

" It is quite true that my brother admired A\'olf's pictures and 
" drawings heartily. Wolf began exhibiting in London soon after 
"the Pre-Raphaelite movement began in English art, and all the 
" Pre-Raphaelites, including my brother, were delighted with his 
"acute and minute observation, and delicate precision of ren- 
"dering." 

Probably Wolfs greatest achievement is that 



68 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

while he reahzed the ideal of men such as these, he 
more than satisfied the demands of the most accom- 
plished and learned zoologists (who speak of him 
again and again as simply " unrivalled "), to say 
nothing of the enthusiastic praise from "the greatest 
hunter ever known in modern times." 

Mr. J. E. Gray used to say to him, " No one can 
put an animal together as you can ; " and Professor 
Newton, in the article I have quoted, refers to him as 
" the greatest of all animal painters." Sir Edwin 
Landseer, on one occasion, said of his brother artist 
that he must have been a bird before he became a 
man ; and that he had never seen the expression of a 
bird rendered as Wolf did it. 

It is partly due to the wide grasp I have de- 
scribed that Wolf's fortunes prospered, and also that 
he never allowed the sunshine of success to blind him. 
He did not lower one jot his high standard of finish 
and care with the increase of commissions ; or even 
begin to affect artistic dress. He was a diligent, 
unaffected student still, as he has remained through- 
out life — his habits simplicity itself, with just a dash 
of homely Bohemianism about them. 

He would get up very early on a spring morning 
and buy a nest of young Bullfinches in Covent 
Garden Market, or explore the seductive alleys of 
Leadenhall ; or, later in the year, he would sow a 
patch of mustard and cress in a neglected corner of 
the back yard. Now, when his crop looked " tempt- 




Gl.KMAIK's PuLVi'LI-XTRuN. 



yOHN GOULD 69 

ing," he betook himself to a poulterer's, and picked 
out the finest Partridge he could find. He then laid 
it tenderly on the mustard and cress, and sat down to 
make a study, for the sake of the contrast of colour. 
" It was a very good lesson," he says, " and I came 
" to the conclusion that all these sombre-coloured 
" birds looked particularly beautiful among fresh 
" green." 

It is impossible to turn over his portfolios without 
being struck by his happy treatment i:>f sombre- 
coloured species. He took much more pleasure in 
revealing the latent beauty, the gentle harmonies and 
gradations of some unobtrusive species, by means of 
the subtleties of his art, than in painting the members 
of the more gorgeous orders. 

Among the most interesting of Wolfs reminis- 
cences of *these early days in England are those 
connected with John Gould, whose pronounced, 
rugged personality he conjures up by means of many 
anecdotes. It is a portrait less smooth and pleasing, 
but infinitely more striking than that generally current. 

I have already mentioned that he had painted a 
little water-colour for the ornithologist while he was 
yet in Germany. The two men were introduced to 
each other after the artist had been in London about 
a fortnight ; Gould (long since a widower), being 
about forty-four years old, and the other's senior by 
sixteen years. They seem to me to have been so 
totally opposite in disposition that real intimacy was 



70 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

impossible. Had it not been for their common scien- 
tific enthusiasm, and for Gould's wisdom in cultivating 
a man who could be immensely profitable to him, 
friendship of any kind would have been difficult ; for 
Wolf says that Gould "was a shrewd old fellow, but 
the most uncouth man I ever knew." This opinion 
is endorsed by a few to whom Gould's rough manners 
(and sometimes equally rough tongue) and method of 
doing business are well known. 

Born in 1804, Gould was the son of an under- 
gardener, who, fourteen years later, was fortunate 
enough to secure a situation in the Royal Gardens at 
Windsor. Here, says Mr. Sharpe,^ the boy "picked 
" many a bunch of dandelions for Queen Charlotte's 
" dandelion tea," and effectually taught himself the 
elements of taxidermy, which, it is said, he turned to 
account by stuffing birds for the Eton boys. Leaving 
an under-gardener's situation in Yorkshire, he re- 
turned in 1827 to London, and secured an appoint- 
ment at The Zoological Society. " He is remembered 
"in these early days," writes Mr. Sharpe, "as a man 
" of singular energy with a good knowledge of the 
"art of mounting animals." As an example of this 
knowledge Mr. Dresser tells me that Gould stuffed 
for King George I\'. the first Giraffe that ever came 
over to Enoland. 

In 1829 Gould married, and to his wife's zeal and 
self-sacrificing devotion it is evident that he owed 

' Analytiatl Index to ilic W'prl-s of John Gould. .Sotheran 1S93. 



JOHN GOULD 7r 

much of his after success. His own industry, en- 
thusiasm, and perseverance were beyond praise ; but 
without this timely help, and the ceaseless labour of 
a long-suffering slave, one Prince (called by courtesy a 
"Secretary"), the result might have been different. 

How Gould prospered, everyone knows. We are 
told that when he left England for Australia he had 
made 7,000/. by his publications ; and afterwards his 
subscription list at one time amounted to 143,000/.-^ 

As for a bargain, artistic or otherwise, no one 
could drive a keener. 

It was chiefly Wolf's knowledge of scientific detail, 
and his willingness to impart it, which attracted Gould 
in the first instance, and also his singular facility in 
designing good attitudes and groups ; matters of 
which Gould knew little or nothing.^ 

Wolf says that Gould never knew very much 

' His subscribci's, as contained in a prospectus dated January i, 1866, 
amounted to a total of looS, divided as follows ; Monarchs, 12 (The 
Queen and Prince Consort each taking an entire set of ten works) ; 
Imperial, Serene, and Royal Highnesses, 11 ; English Dukes and 
Duchesses, 16 ; Marquises and Marchionesses, 6 ; Earls, 30 ; Counts, 
Countesses, and Ijarons, 5 ; Viscounts, 10 ; Bishop (Worcester), i ; 
Lords, 36 ; Honourables, 31 ; Baronets, &c., 61 ; Institutions and 
Libraries, 107 ; Miscellaneous, 682. The subscribers, as divided among 
the ten works, were as follows : Birds of Great Brilain ((«' £■]'& 15 0)397 ; 
Century of Himalayan Birds, 32S ; Birds of Europe ((5> ^76 8 o) 2S2 ; 
Birds of Australia ((«; /115 o o) 238 ; Birds of Asia, 207 ; Monograph 
of the Ramphastidie, 213 ; Trogonida;, 167 ; Odontophorinae, 135 ; 
Trochilidre, 296 ; Mammals of Australia ((a; ^^41 o o) 146. 

- I am quite aware that his name is attached to hundreds of his 
plates ; and that these plates are spoken of by authors who evidently 
have no professional knowledge of art, not only as if they were Gould's 
handiwork, but as being unsurpassed and unsurpassable. 



72 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

about the feather tracts, and nothing of composition. 
He hked to over-colour his things, and he used to say, 
" There are sure to be some specimens brighter than 
we do them." 

In after years, when Gould lived at Great Russell 
Street, he kept in readiness a box of fourpenny cigars, 
and a number of sheets of drawing-paper tacked upon 
a board ; for he was a very notable man for small 
economies. When Wolf called, the board, a piece of 
charcoal, and a cigar were produced, with a request 
for a sketch or two — not at all as a matter of business, 
but just in a friendly way. " I wish," said Wolf on 
one of these occasions, " that you had told me before 
" what species you would like done, because I have 
"studies of many." "Ah," said Gould, "you will 
manage it." Our friend always did manage it ; and 
part of the result was a series of life-size charcoal 
drawings, together with a few water-colours, for Tlie 
Birds of Great Britain, which were drawn upon the 
stone by a lithographic draughtsman, and vigorously 
coloured. The series (as far as Wolf is concerned), 
includes twenty-five of the Birds of Prey, fourteen 
Ducks and other water-fowl, and sixteen other species ; 
fifty-five in all, or thereabouts. I have looked through 
his copy of this book with him, with the advantage of 
his comments ; and though the plates for which he 
did the sketches can generally be picked out easily by 
their superiority to the others in composition and 
action, the seeing them once more after a long period. 



GOULD'S ILLUSTRATIONS 73 

in the full blaze of their colouring, somewhat disturbed 
him. He growled over his pipe, as I turned over, 
such comments as these. Of the Woodcock, " Much 
" too red, and he must go and put in those blue-bells 
"and things too! I can't be answerable for the 
" colouring. Everything gets vulgarized." Of the 
Hoopoe, " Look at that dreadful water he has put in 
there ! " Stella's Duck was " Dreadfully hard, and 
stripey and streaky." He was quite right. The 
lithographic draughtsmanship and the colouring, of 
which Gould was so excessively proud, are of a very 
popular kind indeed. 

Whatever drawings Wolf contributed to other 
works of Gould's will be mentioned in the Appendix. 

Touching the illustrations of Gould's works 
Professor Newton's criticism (as is generally the case 
on artistic matters) is very much to the point : — 

" The earlier of these works were illustrated by Mrs. Gould, and the 
"figures in them are fairly good ; but those in the later, except when 
" (as he occasionally did) he [Gould] secured the services of Mr. Wolf, 
" are not so much to be commended. There is, it is true, a sniooth- 
" ness and finish about them not often seen elsewhere ; but as though 
"to avoid the e.xaggerations of Audubon, Gould usually adopted the 
"tamest of attitudes in which to represent his subjects, whereby 
" expression as well as vivacity is wanting. Moreover, both in drawing 
" and colouring, there is frequently much that is untrue to nature, so 
" that it has not uncommonly happened for them to fail in the chief 
"object of all zoological plates, that of affording some means of 
" recognising specimens on comparison." 

Gould was indefatigable in his search after new 
skins in the dealers' shops. If he found one, says 



74 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

Wolf, "he would not betray his excitement but would 
" say, ' I think I have that ; but I wish you would lend 
" 'it to me to compare.'" If the dealer complied, a 
sketch was immediately made and the skin was 
returned. On these occasions, and in later years when 
Wolf lived in Earners Street, Gould used to bring the 
new skin, help himself to a cigar, and walk restlessly 
about the room while the sketch was made ; or some- 
times a water-colour drawing. Wolf says that 
" Gould was the most restless fellow, who would 
"never sit down except when he was fishing at 
" Maidenhead, when he would sit for hours." 

I have heard from a friend who knew Gould and 
his character intimately, some most amusing stories ot 
his craving for new or rare skins of birds which he 
did not possess ; and of his efforts (sometimes success- 
ful, sometimes ingeniously baffled) to borrow them for 
very indefinite periods. W' olf says, " I had the skin of 
" a splendid young male Norwegian Falcon ; very 
" dark — extremely so. It got into Gould's box, and 
" never found its way out again." 

The following anecdote is perhaps the most 
characteristic of any. Dr. Severtzoff, who was then 
engaged on the ornithology of Central Asia, came to 
England with a letter of introduction to another well- 
known ornithologist, who told me the story. This 



& 



gentleman, who shall be called " G." and who knew 
Gould intimately, offered the use of some empty 
cabinets in his rooms for the reception of the Doctor's 



GOULD AND SEVERTZOFF 75 

collection of skins, which, as it included many new 
and very rare species from Turkestan, was of great 
value and interest. The offer was gladly accepted, 
and that evening the more important birds were 
stowed away. 

Next morning it occurred to G. that perhaps 
the skins might be interfered with. Knowing that 
Severtzoff would not want to refer to them himself, 
and having to leave for the day, he took the precaution 
of locking the cabinets, and put the key in his pocket. 
On his return, he found the Doctor awaiting him, who 
said he had an amusing tale to tell. He had arrived 
at the house the morning after the skins had been put 
away, and was proceeding to unpack some other 
boxes when Mr. Gould called, who sent up his name 
with the message that he particularly wanted to see 
Dr. Severtzoff if he was in the house : — " He did 
come up," said the Doctor with his strong foreign 
accent, " and he did talk to me, and did flatter me in 
"every way. He did tell me that I was a naturalist 
"greater than Cuvier or Linnaeus, and I did begin to 
" think what little bit of cheese I shall drop from my 
"bill. He then did tell me he hear that I have with 
"me all my rare birds of Turkestan, and that it was 
" in the interests of science necessary that he should 
" borrow and examine them. I did tell him that the 
"birds were in the house, and he express himself most 
" charmed, and did ask me if I would at once let him 
"look at them. I then did go to the cabinets, but I 



76 ■ LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

" found that you, clever man ! had taken away the key. 
" I then say to Mr. Gould that Mr. G. have taken the 
" key avi^ay. That minute his face change. He go 
"straight down the stairs, and at every step he say — 
" ' Damn Mr. G. ! '" 

One day Gould was calling on Wolf in order to get 
a sketch made and said, "Well, Wolf, I am going to 
" have my hair cut, and when I come back, I can take 
"the drawing away." On his return he exclaimed, 
" Look here, what I've got !" and produced from his 
handkerchief an egg of the Great Auk ! " Where did 
you find that?" said the astounded artist. "In the 
" German Bazaar. Whittaker [a naturalist] asked 
" what he thought a good price, [naming a small sum] 
" so I gave him a cheque, and here's the egg." '■ 

The existence of the rarity soon became known 
amono; the collectors, one of whom called on Gould at 
Great Russell Street. The egg was produced with 
the remark that it was probably the last of the species 
that would ever be for sale ; and what was then an 
enormous price was asked for it. The collector 
havinpf, at last, consented to the terms, Gould said : — 
" Wait a bit, sir ! This being probably the last Great 
" Auk's egg which may be forthcoming, I have made 
" up my mind that only a subscriber tor one of my 

^ Mr. Dresser, who well remembers the incident, says that tire dealer 
had already sent to Gould to say that he had the egg ; but that Gould pooh- 
poohed the matter, and said the specimen \\'as probably nothing more than 
a double-yolked egg of another species. He afterwards, howe\'er, went 
to see it, with the result related by Wolf 




Bubo Fasciolatus. 



NOR WA Y 77 

" works shall have it." Even this being insufficient to 
deter the enthusiast, he put down his name for The 
Birds of Great Britain, and carried off the egg. 
Wolf relates this anecdote with anything but approval 
— as the exact opposite, in fact, of what he 
admires. 

In 1856, and therefore long before the completion 
of The Birds of Great Britain, the two friends sailed 
for Norway on board the yacht of Mr. Bidder, 
formerly The Calculating Boy, and then, Mr. Dresser 
tells me, an eminent consulting engineer. Landing at 
Christiania, Wolf and Gould went on alone, with an 
interpreter. The artist had his drawing materials and 
gun ; the ornithologist his skinning-tools ; but when 
they came to practical work Wolf discovered that 
Gould, learned as he was in birds, knew the notes of 
comparatively few.^ For his part he was soon able 
to discover the Three-toed Woodpecker, the Red- 
spotted Bluethroat and others, by his knowledge of 
the notes of the adults. Of this last species, Gould 
writes : — 

" Mr. Wolf, who accompanied me to the celebrated Snee Hstten 



' This, I believe, is largely a matter of ear as well as constant practice. 
For instance, I know a keen-sighted artist who formerly devoted himself 
a good deal to British birds, but who is deficient in his knowledge of 
their notes ; and can never, he says, acquire it to any great extent. On 
the other hand, I also know an ex Royal Artillery officer, whose eyes 
were so injured by an explosion that he cannot recognize any bird by 
sight even at the closest quarters ; yet who is exceedingly well up in the 
notes of all the species in his neighbourhood ; and, strange to say, 
acquired much of his knowledge since his accident. 



78 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

" range of mountains, on the ist of July accidentally discovered some 
"young birds which were just forward enough to hop out of the nest 
" — a great prize to me who had never before seen the bird at this 
" age in a state of nature." 

As a matter of fact, but for previously identifying the 
note of the parents, Wolf would not have searched for 
the nest. 

The Gun, sketch-book, and knife were kept well 
employed ; especially at the posting station of 
Hjerkin ; where, in their farm-house lodgings, Gould 
skinned the specimens that Wolf shot and drew. 
Here they got some young Willow Ptarmigan, and 
accomplished one of the chief objects of the journey, 
by investigating the breeding habits of the Fieldfares ; 
whose noisy colonies disturbed their rest even in the 
nominal night. Gould writes : — 

" Desirous like Mr. Hewitson to see the Fieldfare in its native 
"woods, I proceeded to Norway, for this and other reasons, in the 
"year 1856, accompanied by Mr. ^^'olf. We found the bird breeding 
" on the Dovrefjeld in abundance, and the only difference from 
" Mr. Hewitson's description which we noticed was that all the nests 
"we saw were placed among the stunted birch trees, but this was 
"doubtless due to our being far above the pine-forests." 

It was here that one of those little incidents 
occurred that have always delighted W^olf He was 
out one day, sketching by himself when he disturbed 
a brood of Willow Ptarmigan ; one of which, with a 
rapid grab, he succeeded in catching. Meanwhile all 
the others had suddenly become utterly invisible. 
When the captive saw its mother it began to call to 



A SEP A RATE RO OM 



79 



her, and she came close up with her beak open, but 
then retired. Wishing to discover how the young 
had hidden themselves, Wolf liberated the one he 
held, which instantly dived under the Reindeer moss. 
He then retreated, and watched with his glasses. As 
the old bird called, he saw the young ones emerge 
one by one from their concealment, until all were once 
more visible. 

The friends had a fine large bedroom, and the 
simple people of the house thought that breakfast 
might be laid in this room. Such a suggestion 
aroused Gould's dignity (never very sleepy), and the 
interpreter was summoned in haste. The hostess was 
solemnly informed that breakfast must be laid else- 
where, and this being immediately done, Gould's 
anger was appeased. For a time all went well ; but 
presently, behind an unnoticed curtain, an old woman 
burst into a fit of coughing. They had got their 
breakfast in a separate room — the bedroom of the 
ancient erandmother of the family. Gould flew into a 
passion, but could not help laughing at the way he 
had been tricked. 

He was very anxious to get a young Capercaillie ; 
and at one of the farms where they stayed he 
offered a substantial reward. When they were on the 
point of leaving some labourers presented themselves, 
produced from a small piece of paper a dead Thrush, 
and claimed the reward, little thinking who it was 
they were trying to cheat. Gould threw the Thrush 



8o LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

in the spokesman's face with a laugh, in which the 
men heartily joined. 

It was on this journey that Wolf first saw 
Ptarmigan in their breeding plumage ; and the cocks, 
he says, were nearly as dark as Black-game. After- 
wards he found them equally dusky at Guisachan, Sir 
Dudley Marjoribanks' place in Inverness-shire. 

Of the ornithologist's opinion of Wolf's artistic 
powers, Mr. R. Bowdler Sharpe gives an instance, 
in his Analytical Index to Gould's works, as fol- 
lows : — 

"It was always a real pleasure to see the delight which animated 
"the old naturalist when, in his invalid days, I took him some 
" startling new form of bird such as Bulwer's Pheasant, to be figured 
" in his ' Birds of Asia.' On the latter occasion he exclaimed that 
" there was only one man in the world who could do justice to such 
" a splendid creature, and that was Mr. Wolf ; who, at his request, at 
" once designed a beautiful picture which appeared in the ' Birds of 
" 'Asia.' Some of the finest pictures of the Raptorial Birds in the 
" ' Birds of Great Britain ' were also drawn for Mr. Gould by Mr. 
" Wolf" 

Not long after his first arrival in England (to 
retrace our steps for a time). Wolf had received from 
Gould a second commission ; and the subject he chose 
was Woodcocks seeking Shelter. It was sent to the 
Royal Academy of 1849, and the artist received his 
varnishing ticket. He was pleased to find his little 
picture well placed ; but he knew nothing of the rules, 
and went home quite ignorant that it was on "the 
line." Some time afterwards, he found he was in- 
debted for this good fortune to Sir Edwin Landseer, 




Leucopternis Princeps. 



WOODCOCK SUBJECTS 8i 

who had not only saved the picture from the chalk 
cross about to be put upon it by the foes of " The 
Objects of Natural History," but had hung it where it 
was. Commercially it was a hit ; for commissions for 
Woodcocks flowed merrily in, and years afterwards the 
subject appeared in startling chromo-lithography. Of 
these versions Wolf says, " All were Woodcocks on 
" their nests, you know. I didn't want to do the legs. 
•' I had never seen them on their legs, and I wanted 
" to do them as well as possible, as I had actually 
" seen them." As for the size of the versions, he 
naively confesses there were so many of them that 
in time "they got to be circular, and about a foot in 
diameter." 

It will be observed that it did not occur to him to 
compile, or to evolve the legs. At that time he was not 
familiar with the structure of the legs of living Wood- 
cocks ; so he painted the birds sitting, as he " had 
actually seen them." 

A Woodcock on its nest was not only one of his 
most successful subjects, but a great favourite with 
him. I have seen an elaborate version of it which 
must have been done not long after the original 
sketches were made in the Odenwald. In most of 
the designs a Robin is present, just as in after 
years he found pleasure in associating Goldfinches 
with Partridges in the snow. ' He says, " I have 
" been doing those Goldfinches with Partridges, 
" over and over again, and the Robin with the 

G 



82 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

" Woodcocks ; and so you go on making a fool of 
" yourself" 

In 1850 Mr. Mitchell introduced Wolf by letter to 
old Lord Derby (the thirteenth Earl), who had made 
Knowsley a bye-word with naturalists by reason of its 
superb menagerie and museum. Whatever the most 
lavish expenditure, the influence of the head of a 
great house, untiring foreign collectors and corre- 
spondents, extravagant enthusiasm, and dogged per- 
tinacity could do to enrich the collections, living and 
dead, had been done. There was, perhaps, nothing 
to equal them at that time, and I suppose that, in 
many respects, they have not been surpassed. 

W^olf had never seen a copy (out of the hundred 
privately printed in 1846) of Mr. J. E. Gray's Glean- 
ings from the Menagerie at Knowsley Hall. If he 
had, he would have been to some extent prepared for 
what awaited him ; but, in any case, when he arrived 
and took up his quarters in a wing of the Hall, he 
must have been deeply impressed with the sights in 
the menagerie. 

He found his new employer very deaf and in his 
speech, he says, somewhat resembling the gobbling of 
a turkey-cock. As plain English was rather a puzzle 
to him still, direct communication under such circum- 
stances was difficult. The ancient Earl was wheeled 
about amongst his paddocks and aviaries in a Bath 
chair ; giving his orders to the keepers,^ or to the 

1 One of the keepers was "Young Scott," afterwards "Jumbo's", 
attendant. 



KNOWSLEY MENAGERIE 83 

artists who, from time to time, had worked his will 
(such as the well-known Waterhouse Hawkins, or 
Edward Lear), through Thompson, who was after- 
wards superintendent of The Zoological Society's 
Gardens. As for Thompson, having received a 
general order to give Wolf every possible facility, he 
did his best to act as interpreter of the broken Eng- 
lish on the one hand, and the gobbling on the other. 

Judging by the elaborate coloured illustrations in 
the Gleanings, the standard of zoological art was not 
high at Knowsley ; and if, when he received the list 
of the Antelopes and birds he was to begin with, 
Wolfs object had been to outstrip his predecessors, 
he would not have had a very difficult task. 

He describes the menagerie as covering more 

ground than the present Zoological Gardens in 

London, and says that there were many Antelopes in 

large paddocks, to say nothing of the Elands which 

the Earl was the first to introduce into Europe. No 

better idea can be formed of Lord Derby's keenness in 

his favourite amusement, or of a place which must 

have had a considerable indirect influence on Wolfs 

subsequent work, than by reading the Earl's notes 

as quoted by Mr. J. E. Gray. Of the Elands he 

writes : — 

"The principal item that I obtained from the expedition upon 
" which I sent Mr. Burke into the Interior of South Africa was, as 
" far as I know, for the first time brought aHve into Europe. Of this 
"interesting species I received three individuals in November 1842, 
" but unfortunately only one of them was a female. ..." 

G 2 



84 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

" By the way I am sorry to tell you that my Eland cow has to- 
" day produced another calf and another male. Alas ! I could 
" have wished much it had been of the other sex, but it is very 
" strong and healthy and I hope we may in regard to it parody 
" Cranmer's consolation to Henry the Eighth on Elizabeth's birth. 
"'This bull promises cows hereafter.' March i, 1845." 

" I know you will be glad with me to hear that Mrs. Eland has 
"at last mended her ways, and has this time produced a young 
" lady J so that now I begin to flatter myself that even without fresh 
"negotiations we may look on the breed as established in this 
" country. I now possess, therefore, of this kind, four males and 
"two females. . . . 1S45.' 

" My five Eland and four AVapiti make a very pretty herd, and 
" as yet agree very well ; but when Mr. W. gains his full head, we 
"must not expect it. They will be separated before then. May 31, 
"1845." 

Under the head of Oxen he writes of Anoa 
dcprcsiicornis : — ^ 

" I like the iVnoa much as a curiosity, but it is certainly horrid 
" ugly, though I will make Hawkins draw it, as I know no figure 
" from the life. . . . Jan. 3, 1847." 

Of the American Buffalo, of which Lord Derby 

had a herd, he says : — 

" Did I tell you that the Bison had calved ? . . . The young 
" Bison is a female and very odd-looking I am told, of a yellowish 
" colour. I have not yet seen it. . . . Miss Bison progresses vastly 
"well. June 1846." 

" We have had an alarm about the Bison, who has got out of his 
" paddock and into the open park, having fairly swum over the great 
" water. Very luckily he has been got back again without any 
" mischief being done. July 7, 1846." 

It was not only the quadrupeds that troubled the 



' The Wild Cow of the Malays, " kx\ animal which has been the cause 
of much controversy, as to whether it should be classed as an ox, buffalo, 
or antelope." ^^'allace. 



KNOWS LEV MENAGERIE 85 

Earl by breeding at their own discretion, and the 
vexation expressed by some of his notes is amus- 
ing. For instance, he writes : — " It is rather pro- 
" yoking our Emu will not sit, while at Wentworth 
" the male is wanting to sit and has no eggs. John 
" thinks of sending our eggs to them." Other birds 
were more sensible : — 

" My black swans," writes the Earl, " are proceeding famously. 
"A pair I have on the Kennel Dam bred late in last year, and out 
"of six eggs hatched four cygnets, of which one died, and the 
" remaining three are now about four months old. They are, of 
"course, still with their mother, who however has now six more 
" eggs, and is beginning to sit again. . . . March 10, 1846." ' 

I have no space to describe many of the curiosities 
of Knowsley — the breeding of the herds of Llamas, 
Alpacas, Guanacos, Wild Asses, Zebras, and Ante- 
lopes. On every side there were objects of interest. 
There was a tandem in which a mule between 
Burchell's Zebra and an Ass was driven ; and a small 
cart was drawn by a double mule." 

' At that time the breeding' of the Black Swan was, of course, watched 
with interest by naturalists. Wolf mentions that at the request of Mr. 
Samuel Gurney, M.P., he went down to Carshalton to make studies for a 
large oil picture of these birds with their brood in the snow. By degrees, 
he says, their domestic arrangements conformed with our spring-time. 

A reproduction of this picture, or one of the sketches for it, appeared 
in The Band of Hope Rcvieiu of Jan. i, 1863, with some comments, 
including the following : — " Mr. Gurney informs us that during" the last 
seven years, these Australian birds have had even sixteen broods of 
young ones ; sometimes tJircc in one year I In the coldest \\inters the 
eggs have been laid in a nest constructed of rushes on the snowy bank of 
the ice-covered stream. . . ." 

- This little animal was only eight hands high, and was " The offspring 
of a mule (the produce of a male Ass and a Zebra) with a bay mare Pony''' 
It was " Iron grey, with a short narrow cross band on withers, very faint 



86 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

One of the most interesting of the Earl's notes 
gives the history of a certain notable Red Deer stag. 
Born at Knowsley in 1819, and regularly hunted in 
Surrey for some years from 1823 without the 
slightest injury, he was returned to his native park 
and lorded it over all the other deer. Being wounded 
by a rival, he was doctored by a keeper, and thence- 
forth became more or less tame. In 1842 he was 
painted by Mr. Richard Ansdell, who was then doing 
some work in the menawrie, and after a gradual 
decline he died at the good old age of twenty-five. 
For the last two or three years of his life he was often 
led by his old friend the keeper to the yard where he 
had been doctored ; and " when there, if he could find 
" an opportunity by the door being open, he would 
" often enter the kitchen and lie down like a dog- 

o 

" before the fire." 

Wolf must have found the Museum at Knowsley 
scarcely less astonishing than the menagerie. Its 
presiding genius was then Louis Fraser, who was the 
" Naturalist to the Niger Expedition," and for whom 
his patron (no doubt more with an eye to the collec- 
tions than the diplomatic service), afterwards got 
the appointment of " Vice-consul for the Kingdom of 
Dahomey." 

During Wolf's visit, his old friend Dr. Kaup 

indications of stripes on the sides, and more distinct dark stripes on out- 
sides of the hocks and knees. Tail bushy from the base like a Horse. 
Head hea^•y, mane brown and grey." 



KN OWSLEY MENAGERIE 87 

received an invitation to Knowsley, and the Doctor's 
attempts to express in polite English his admiration 
of what he found there, not only gave Thompson 
plenty to do, but more than once disturbed the dignity 
of the footman who wheeled the Bath chair. 

We find in The Proceedins^s of The Zoological 
Society for 1851 a communication from the Doctor in 
which he speaks enthusiastically of the " noble collec- 
tion " which contained more than 14,000 specimens 
of stuffed birds, besides unnumbered skins ; a 
"colossal library" in which no work of importance 
was wanting; and "aviaries of magnificent living 
birds from every zone of the world." 

It was in this " Eden," as the Doctor called it, 
that Wolf spent two months ; and with what profit 
may be imagined. Here he laid the foundation of 
his sound knowledge of the Antelopes, and laboured to 
increase the learning which was gradually making him 
familiar with the zoology, not only of Europe, but of 
every country. 

He had not long left Knowsley when its enthu- 
siastic owner was gathered to his fathers. Some of 
the drawings (which were half imperial), were still 
unfinished, but the successor to the title courteously 
permitted the completion of the commission ; and 
ultimately, I believe, the whole series found its way 
to the Liverpool Museum. 

Wolfs acquaintance with the noblemen I have 
named led to other visits to their country seats. He 



88 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

travelled, for instance, direct from Knowsley to 
Inveraray ; and another time he accompanied the 
present Duke of \yestminster (then Earl Grosvenor) 
into the west of Sutherlandshire, where he was much 
struck at first by two things, the magnificent scenery, 
and the complete indifference to rain among the 
natives — rain to the persistence of which the surfaces 
of some of his water-colour sketches bear witness to 
this day. It was on one of these occasions that he 
made a sketch, at the Earl's desire, for a laree char- 
coal drawing illustrating a strange penchant for 
salmon on the part of some cows. Two or three fish 
had been landed and laid in a clump of bracken 
behind a small bush in a meadow, where they were 
aiterwards sought for in vain. Gould, who was stay- 
ing there at the time, hinted that one of the keepers 
might be guilty ; but they laid the blame upon the 
cattle. It was resolved to test the correctness of this 
curious theory, and one afternoon a fresh salmon was 
brought from the larder and placed in the same field. 
The cows soon found it out and lost no time in 
feasting. 

In his boyhood, and long before he ever saw a 
book on ornithology. Wolf had dreamed a dream of 
small fur-footed birds which he encountered on the 
sides of a rugged mountain, but of which he knew not 
the name. It was while he was staying one Au'aist 
at Lord Grosvenor's place at Loch Stack, in the west 
of .Sutherlandshire, that the dream was fulfilled in 



PTARMIGAN 89 

detail. In quest of the Ptarmigan he went up the 
mountains of Foinaven and Arkle while the birds 
were still in grey plumage. Knowing the extra- 
ordinary effect of the weather on their habits he had 
chosen a fine, calm day for the climb ; so that, under 
the forester's guidance, he was able to shoot what 
specimens he required, after he had well studied what 
he saw, and proved the great difficulty of distinguish- 
ing the game from its surroundings.^ 

In many of Wolfs sketches, the Ptarmigan are 
crouching under rocks, or on the snow, while a 
Golden Eagle glides by without seeing them ; or, in 
other cases, snatches a victim from the pack. The 
episode occurs so often that it is evident he took an 
especial interest in the marvellous power of conceal- 
ment — in the contrast between the huge irresistible 
robber and the small quarry which cheat the hungry 
eye. Wolf says: — "It was a favourite subject. I 
loved the solitude of the grand surroundings." 



' Lord Walsingham, in his most interesting account of these birds, 
quotes from iVIr. E. T. Booth two notable instances of this difficulty : — 
" After a long' and futile search for the nest of the bird his dog, [Mr. 
" Booth's] moving less than a yard from where he had been lying, actually 
" resettled itself on the back of a sitting bird, which formed almost the 
" centre of a group of men and dogs which had been reclining around it 
" unawares for some length of time. . . . The same day another sitting 
" hen was discovered through one of the pannier straps falling on her 
" back between the legs of the pony as the lunch was being repacked, 
" after a protracted search for the nest everywhere except under the 
" pony." Badminton Library Shooting, pp. 38-41, vol. 2. The first of 
these instances would appear to be a good example of the way a sitting 
bird completely loses its scent. I think it is JNIr. Tegetmeier who, in 



90 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

It has always seemed to me that the Tetraonida are 
a family which was a great favourite with the artist. 
From the first, he enjoyed learning the habits of the 
species he knew ; and it is evident from the number 
of studies, more or less elaborate, of Ptarmigan, 
Grouse, Capercaillie and others, that he also enjoyed 
drawing them ; especially with such surroundings as 
the Scotch mountains or the Scandinavian forest. 
Capercaillie, especially, he has shown in many an 
interesting episode ; furiously fighting, stalked by the 
shooter while " playing" on the summit of a dead fir, 
or done to death by a Goshawk. 

The opportunity of studying at leisure the habits 
of the Golden Eagle, especially its nesting, was, even 
then, not common ; but through Professor Newton's 
kindness Wolf was able to pay a spring visit to Black 
Mount, on the estate of a nobleman near Glencoe. 
Here, under the guidance of an old keeper, he could 
watch a couple of eyries day after day. 

One result of these observations will be found in 
plates F and G of O'dtheca Wolleyana, edited by the 
Professor ; lithographs of exceptional interest, as 
showing the eyrie and the young birds with a back- 
ground of the wildest kind, whence the parents bring 
the result of their foraging. This book also contains 
a lithograph after a drawing of Wolf's which Pro- 
fessor Newton says was the only representation of the 

pointing out tlie reason for tliis singular fact, states that the bird is 
scentless until she has left the nest with her brood. 



GUISACHAN 91 

adult female Jerfalcon at that time published in 
England.^ 

It was at the late Lord Tweedmouth's (then Sir 
Dudley Marjoribanks), that Wolf was able to enlarge 
this experience of the Golden Eagle ; and while he 
was Sir Dudley's guest at Guisachanin Inverness-shire 
(a place bosomed in the kind of scenery he loved 
best), he watched one of the birds beating its 
preserves on the mountain side for several consecu- 
tive days. By this time the reader will know what 
Wolf's watching amounted to. 

It was at Guisachan too, that he was introduced to 
the Osprey's home and family, and made some careful 
studies, which bore abundant fruit. 

Sir Dudley gave his guest a commission, among 
others, to jjaint five upright oil panels nine feet high ;. 
the subjects being An Osprey's Nest ; Otter and 
Herons ; Greenland Falcon surveying the flight of 
some wild Swans overhead ; and a Snowy Owl dash- 
ing down on some Ptarmigan. 

It will be seen that Wolf was indebted to Scotland, 
not only for many of his best subjects, but for some 

' He writes as follows : — " I have here to express my thanks to 
" Mr. Wolf for a beautiful picture, which he was good enough to paint for 
" me from one of the birds to be mentioned hereafter. A reduced copy 
" of it executed by Mr. Jury under the artist's immediate superintendence, 
" embellishes this work (tab. C) and I think cannot fail to afford pleasure 
" to naturalists ; as, excepting Herr von Wright's figure in the Tidskrift 
'■'■ for Jagere ... it is the only representation of the adult female Gyr- 
" falcon that has been published. Of its accuracy I need say nothing, for 
" that is guaranteed by the painter's name." 



92 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

very interesting experiences denied to the ordinary 
traveller, and even to the ordinary sportsman. But 
his experiences were not always connected with 
natural history ; for at one time we find him hanging 
on for his life while he is driven about rugged 
Sutherlandshire roads by the young Marquis of 
Stafford, at a pace which threatens an effectual end 
to an artistic career ; or he complacently smokes his 
lordship's cigars, and defies the attempts to make him 
ill on a rough coasting voyage ; or, again, he shoulders 
his gun and takes his place on the moors. 

Although, at this time of his life, he had plenty of 
opportunities for sport, he cared very little for these 
brilliant shooting parties ; and his memory went back 
to old Baur, and the exciting days among his good 
friends the foresters. 

Nevertheless, if these visits to Scotland were not 
altogether to his mind they were very profitable 
indirectly. Little by little, he had acquired the power 
of seeing a vast amount that either altogether escapes 
the man untrained in observation, or leads him on an 
utterly false scent. He knew how and where to look ; 
and, above all, how to interpret truly what he saw. 
Thus he may be described as possessing senses quite 
different from those which the ordinary traveller 
brings to bear ; and so it was, that the lovely cloud 
effects over the Scotch scenery, besides the fauna, had 
a great influence on much of his subsequent work. 
Just as the grove of fantastic fir-trees at Darmstadt 




PlTHKCIA MOKACIIUS. 



"GRAND VISITS" 93 

left its mark on his compositions, so did the rugged 
outHnes, and the wreathing mists of the highland 
mountains. Here too he sometimes found his favourite 
grove reproduced on a larger scale. 

Now though Wolf was by no means a shy man, 
still less an unpolished one, he was essentially homely. 
His early life had been spent among the homeliest 
surroundings, in a district of independent people and 
peasant proprietorships. To his homeliness, the free 
life of a bachelor artist, and the career of a self-made 
man who owed no man anything, had added that 
almost inevitable Bohemianism and impatience of 
ceremony which, perhaps, flourish nowhere so luxu- 
riantly as in an atmosphere of turps and varnish. 
Moreover, a singularly unconventional mind that had 
been so independent of the aristocracy of art, and had 
obeyed its own laws alone, instinctively, I fear, grew 
to rebel against aristocracies in general. So, what 
with one thing and another. Wolf disliked these 
" grand visits " as he calls them. He thoroughly and 
heartily appreciated his hosts' kindness, and he 
respected their greatness ; but, by degrees, he got 
to resent the very crow of their Cock Grouse and 
Pheasants. 

Two or three summers ago we were sitting, the 
artist and I, in the cool of a June evening on the 
bank of a Surrey river. Birds innumerable were deep 
in their sunset chorus. Far and near, they filled our 
ears with a grateful melody, so softened that we 



94 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

-could hear every note of a Willow Wren's monotonous 
little chant in an alder-bush close by, and even the 
splash of a fat trout, busy with his supper. Suddenly, 
close by, there clanged out the strident crow of one 
of the squire's cock Pheasants. The charm was 
broken, all the associations conjured up in such a 
place were dispelled like a smoke-wreath, and Wolf 
burst out : — " I hate a Pheasant — so aristocratic you 
" know, so oriental. His call seems to say, ' I am a 
" ' Pheasant ; and I am under the protection of Lord 
" ' So-and-so ; and I may come into your garden and 
" ' scratch it all to pieces if I like, and you mustn't 
"'touch me.' Put that down." "You want a few 
Goshawks here," he continued, "to thin down those 
Hares and Pheasants over there." Accustomed in his 
youth to a neighbourhood where the Birds of Prey 
were comparatively abundant, he is somewhat given to 
amuse himself with the Idea of the sudden descent 
of a few Goshawks upon the coverts of our English 
squires. 

As to the chief of the works resulting from the 
industrious Scotch holidays, they abide, for the most 
part, in the collections of the noblemen who commis- 
sioned them ; and have not been seen by the public. 

Few more pleasant and profitable tasks could be 
undertaken by the lover of zoology than to have 
to search through The Proceedings of The Zoological 
Society of London, and few tasks more humbling. 



SCIENTIFIC WORK 95 

The papers will seize upon his attention one after the 
other in spite of himself; and in a range of no less 
than thirty-two years he will find these papers 
frequently illustrated by the hand of such a master, 
that there, at all events, he will see how the union of 
Science and Art can be happily brought about. The 
reader, as he takes down volume upon volume, will 
wonder, perhaps, how some of these great naturalists 
can, in the course of a natural life, have acquired such 
a wealth of accurate knowledge, together with the art 
of communicating it in a clear, attractive, yet perfectly 
unassuming way. Even if he has not already formed 
a pretty definite opinion as to the value of the labours 
of the popular purveyor of anecdotal natural history, 
he will probably feel less inclined to say with a certain 
ornithological writer who omits all mention of Gray, or 
Dresser, or Macgillivray's History of British Birds 
from his list of desirable books : — " Without our Rev. 
" F. O. Morris of Nunburnholm, we should be lost 
" indeed ! " 

If Joseph Wolf had done no other work in Eng- 
land than that which he did for The Zoological 
Society, he would have deserved a pre-eminent place 
in the history of that branch of art ; and from Science 
herself, no little gratitude. 

The greater part of this work consisted of what, 
for brevity's sake, I shall, as before, call auto-litho- 
graphs — lithographs, that is, from Wolf's own hand, 
though some of his drawings were lithographed 



96 LIFE OF JOSEPH 'WOLF 

(as they are always coloured), by other persons. 
Almost as soon as The Society decided to illustrate 
its Proceedings it had secured his help. After two 
plates by Richter and Waterhouse Hawkins, we find 
his first auto-lithograph,- Ptiloceiriis loioii, illustrating 
a paper by Mr. J. E. Gray on a new genus of insecti- 
vorous mammalia, which was read on the 8th of 
February 1848, with William Yarrell in the chair. I 
am bound to say that neither the animal nor the tree- 
trunk on which it stands is in any way worthy of 
the artist ; a criticism which has very seldom to be 
made. From this time to the middle of 1880, Wolfs 
work appears, more or less interspersed with the 
work of other artists. Sometimes, indeed, it is found 
side bv side with drawings, such as G. H. Ford's 

J o 

reptiles, which, as far as mere draughtsmanship goes, 
are faultless. 

Of Wolfs auto-lithographs in The Proceediiios 
there are between 330 and 340; no less than 282, 
or thereabouts, being executed from 1850 to 1865 

' This lithograph, hke many of Wolf's designs in The Proceedings, 
is very badly copied by wood-engraving in an edition of Brehm's 
Tierlebejt, published in 1S76, The woodcuts have recently reappeared 
in Lydekker's Royal Natural History. In a review of a volume of this 
book in T/ie Field of June i, 1895, '^^'e read (touching the eulogy of the 
"illustrations of G. Mutzel and others in the preface), "Two large wood- 
" cuts of the great ant-eater are given, one from the well-known deline- 
" ation of Mr. Wolf. This is remarkably accurate, and, at the same time 
" artistic. The other, which is signed ' G. M,,' is as absurd as can be 
" conceived. . . . The illustrations, which are mostly taken from Brehm's 
" Tierleben, may be artistic, but they do not even approach, much less 
" ri\al, those of Wolf and Keulemans ; and many of them are ludicrously 
" inaccurate." 




DACTVI.Oi'SILA Tkl\ 1 KG ATA. 



HIS AUTO-LITHOGRAPHS 



97 



inclusive. From about this time onwards they 
diminish in number, for other much more important 
work monopolized his time, and he most willingly 
relinquished the duty. Yet, even then, he did not 
refuse his help, upon the advent of any animal of 
exceptional rarity or interest. 

The lithographs were frequently preceded by 
careful water-colour sketches painted direct from life ; 
a series of which is still in the artist's possession. 
In one case there might be a beautiful mammal or 
bird to work from, in the perfection of health and 
condition ; in another, nothing but a dried skin 
which had lain for years unrecognised at The British 
Museum ; and in a third case, a specimen of some 
hideous rarity reeking from an unsavoury barrel of 
spirits. Moreover, at one time (notably in the year 
1867), a desire for retrenchment seems to have pos- 
sessed the Publishing Committee ; and Wolf's work 
suffers as severely as the rest from the coarse and 
mechanical colouring. 

Thanks to my friend's kindness, I am most fortunate 
in possessing, among many of his other auto-litho- 
graphs, a large series of uncoloured proofs from those 
in The Proceedings ; and in looking at the best of them, 
over and over again, I never fail to feel very great 
regret that they have not been more widely known, 
in this state, to the art-loving public who love also 
animal life. So perfect are some, that there is, as it 
were, a physical pleasure in looking at them, and they 

H 



98 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

convey so well the sense of colour that its absence is 
not noticed. 

These drawings are necessarily unequal in interest 
and execution ; and, as the artist points out, a few of the 
early ones are certainly " wooden " ; but the best show 
to perfection his literally unrivalled knowledge, and 
his unrivalled skill in applying that knowledge. 

Not only are the general forms, textures and 
surfaces rendered with perfect truth (with no further 
surrender of artistic " feeling" than followed as a matter 
of course in carrying out the behests of Science), but 
learned draughtsmanship and minute analytical know- 
ledge are found in minor details. The watchfulness of 
a Sundevall to detect specific character is found in 
conjunction with the artistic culture and high train- 
ing that, although they are severely curbed, are rarely 
led astray into mere map-making, and never into the 
choice of a common taxidermist's attitude. This is 
the more remarkable, because, as Wolf says, "You 
" have to put in the attitudes according to what you 
*' have to show." 

As instances of his thoroughly sound analytical 
knowledge, an accurate rendering of the feather 
tracts of the different species of birds may be men- 
tioned ; the little hands of the Leinuroida; ; the 
feet of the Falcons and Hawks ; and the expressions 
of the mammals. Indeed, one of the most astonish- 
ing points is the faithfulness and skill with which the 
exact expression of the face of each species, whether 



''THE EXPRESSION OF LIFE'' 99 

bird or beast, is caught, in a range embracing many 
utterly different orders. 

The resuh is the perfection of art as applied 
(under most difficult restrictions), to science ; and 
having said this I can say no more. Wolf himself 
sums up his opinion of this work in his usual simple 
way. " I did it as I saw it." It is at another time 
that he asks me to print upon the title-page of his 
biography a favourite truth of his, '" We see distinctly 
only what we knoiv thoroughly." Speaking gener- 
ally of his work, he said to me recently, "The great 
"thing I always aimed at was the expression of 
"Life. In animals the ear is the great organ of ex- 
" pression — but Life! Life! Life! — that is the 
" great thing ! " 

It must be remembered that these drawings have 
passed the ordeal of the most learned and exacting 
criticism, often calling forth expressions of approval 
from the Secretary, and the members whose papers 
they adorned. The care, a measure of the know- 
ledge, a measure of the power of drawing are, of 
course, not peculiar to Wolf but are to be found in 
the best work of some of his brother draughtsmen ; 
but these very men are the readiest to acknowledge 
the truth, that in the perfection of all these qualities, 
and in some qualities peculiarly their own, his works 
stand utterly alone. 

At a meeting held on December 12, 1865, a paper 
was read by Mr. J. H. Gurney, senior, on a species of 



100 ' LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

Harrier from New Caledonia. " I propose," said the 
ornithologist, " to assign to this new species the 
" name of my friend Mr. Wolf, to whose talented 
" pencil all students of zoology, and especially those 
" who study the Birds of Prey, are so greatly 
" indebted." The paper was illustrated by the artist's 
drawing of the species ; but, unfortunately, the name 
was incorrect. Mr. Dresser says, " Circus ivolfi, I am 
" sorry to say, must sink into a synonym of Circus 
" gonldi ; as it turned out not to be a new species." 
It is interesting to ascertain how long the artist 
took to do such drawings on the stone as these. This 
we can learn in his own words. " You have no idea," 
he says, " how quickly I did those things. I used to 
" wait till I had about a dozen illustrations for The 
" Pi-occcdiiigs accumulated, with the skins, etc., and 
" then I set myself to do a hard day's work, and spent 
" an hour on each drawing with my watch in front of 
" me." On one occasion he did no less than twelve 
complete drawings on the stone in one day ; the 
subjects, however, being single small birds. " This," 
he says, " was because I knew all the detail so well, 
" and if you know a thing you can do it quickly. I 
" would not rest till all the drawing-s were done in the 
"day, and then I went out for a walk, very tired, and 
" sometimes very giddy from the hard work. When 
" the proofs came home from the printer's, I had to 
" sit another day to do the patterns for the colours. 
" It was hard grinding, mind you." 



HIS BACKGROUNDS lor 

Perhaps it was at the time I have mentioned as 
being marked by a falhng off in the illustrations, 
the authorities had determined that, in future, the 
backgrounds shouki be plain, not coloured. Wolf 
attached very great importance to these backgrounds. 
They were well thought out and admirably drawn ; and 
he had often relied upon them to enhance the beauty 
of the animal, by means not only of the composition, 
but of the complementary colours. The prohibition 
was therefore unfortunate, if it was not rather short- 
sighted. He says, " The background is always of 
" the highest importance — the indefinite ; but there 
" are many people who think this quality laziness on 
" the part of the artist. They want everything made 
" out." What was really wanted was probably a well- 
executed and thoroughly correct elevation of the 
animal. As Wolf says, " The animal is 'figured.' 
That is the term." 

If any person thinks that Wolf's invariable solici- 
tude about his backgrounds is a mere fad, and that 
the authorities were right, let him read in the daily 
papers of March 14, 1895, the report of " The Living 

Pictures Case." Mr. Alma Tadema, R.A 

" asked if he seriously maintained that one person in fifty paid any 
"regard to the backgrounds thought that certainly every one must 
" have noticed the backgrounds along with the rest of the pictures." 

" Counsel tried to get Mr. Tadema to agree that a picture might 
" have more than one background without injuring its effect, but 
" Mr, Tadema refused to accept this theory. ' One picture — one 
" ' background ' was his view. ' I have often altered a background in 
" ' the course of painting a picture,' he said, ' in order to come nearer 



loi LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

" ' to the meaning of the idea I designed to convey, but once a back- 
" ' ground has been finally decided on you cannot alter or destroy it 
" ' without destroying the significance of the composition.'" 

The Transactions of The Zoological Society, 
unlike The Proceedings, were published at irregular 
intervals. They contained : — - 

" Such of the more important communications made to the scientific 
" meetings of the Society as, on account of the nature of the plates 
" required to illustrate them, were better adapted for publication in the 
" quarto form. The numerous and elaborate papers of Professor 
" Owen on the Anthropoid Apes, and on the various species of 
" Dinoi-nis, all form part of this series." ' 

Wolfs contributions to the illustrations of these 
notable volumes amount, as far as I have been able to 
ascertain from the British Museum copy, to twenty- 
seven ; only a dozen or so being lithographed by 
himself. 

To the eeneral reader, The Transactions will be 
less attractive than The Proceedings, as he will have 
neither the ability nor the inclination to study the 
more abstruse papers. Some, however, are of 
general interest. Among the drawings, those of the 
Gorilla, the remarkable Balceniceps, and the Aye Aye 
should be studied. This last, a weird-looking and 
most interesting animal, was stated to be " one of 
the greatest rarities ever possessed by The Society." 
It was chosen as the subject of an elaborate mono- 
graph by Professor Owen in The Transactions ; but I 
think the finest portrait out of several drawn by Wolf 
is that forming the central figure of a group of 

' Guide to The Society's Gardens. 



THE RHINOCEROSES 103 

Madagascar animals, an auto-lithograph illustrating 
an article by Mr. Sclater in the first volume of The 
Qiiarterly Journal of Science. A careful life-size 
chalk sketch of the Aye Aye after death, which the 
artist kindly gave me, is perhaps even more interest- 
ing than the other representations. 

The last of Wolfs drawings to be found in The 
Transaciiotis (lithographed by Mr. Smit), were from 
life, and are accompanied by a paper " On the 
" Rhinoceroses now or lately living in the Society's 
" Menagerie " by Mr. Sclater, who says, "The main 
" object of my remarks on the present occasion is to 
" illustrate the very beautiful drawings by Mr. Wolf 
" now before us." The first of these represents 
Rhinoceros unicornis : — 

" Of this huge animal the first specimen obtained by the Society 
"was a male purchased on the 28th of May, 1834, from Captain 
" Fergusson for the sum of ^1050. ... It died in November 1849 
"and was dissected by Professor Owen. . . . The second male was 
"got in exchange for an African elephant from the Jardin des Plantes 
" in 1865 and was the original of the water-colour drawing taken by 
"Mr. Wolf in 1872. He is of enormous size, and measures about 
"5' 3" in height at the shoulder and 10' 6" in length along the back 
" from the top of the nose to the root of the tail." 

Of his drawing of the Black Rhinoceros Wolf 
says, " I had secured one day's work ; and, on coming 
" next day, to my great astonishment I found the 
" animal really black. They had oiled him all over ! 
" Luckily I had got most of the colouring the previous 
"day." 

The last of the four drawings Is a portrait of one 



104 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

of the most interesting sitters which Wolf ever had — a 
female R. lasiotis; and it was executed in 1872, from 
the only specimen then known. Mr. Sclater quotes 
from a Calcutta newspaper an account of her capture. 
Found in a quicksand completely exhausted with her 
efforts to escape, she was dragged out by some two 
hundred men, by means of ropes made fast to her 
neck, and was then tied to a tree. Next morning the 
now vigorous Rhinoceros made such efforts to escape 
that her captors were frightened, and sent for help. 
Accordingly a Captain Hood and another started with 
eight Elephants, and after a march of sixteen hours 
came up with the animal. She proved to be rather 
more than four feet high, with a smooth skin like a 
pig, and two horns ; and she proved also to be a 
tartar. After a general stampede of the terrified 
Elephants, a rope was with difficulty made fast to the 
Rhinoceros's hind leg, and secured to one of them. 
At this juncture she roared, and the whole of the 
Elephants lied once more, the noose, fortunately, slip- 
ping. She was, however, eventually secured between 
them, and began her march to Chlttagong. Two 
large rivers had to be crossed, over which the Rhino- 
ceros was towed between Elephants, for she could 
not swim, and could only just keep her head above 
water by paddling like a pig. Thousands of na- 
ti\'es thronged the march in ; the temporary bamboo 
bridges invariably falling in with the crowds which 
collected upon them to watch the Rhinoceros crossing 



''THE IBIS" 105 

the stream below. Arrived at the end of her journey 
effectually tamed, the captive was freed in an en- 
closure ; soon fed from the hand, and might have 
been led about by a string. 

The Council of The Society, after some unsuccess- 
ful negotiations, purchased the animal on its arrival in 
England, for 1250/. ; and as it was ultimately found to 
be a distinct variety, it was named R. lasiotis, from 
the fringe of long hairs on the edges of its ears. 

It was not for many years that Wolf was asked to 
draw another Rhinoceros ; and then the request came 
from so eminent a hunter that there must have been a 
strong reason for declining. " I was asked," says the 
artist, "to draw an almost extinct animal, the White 
" African Rhinoceros. The man who asked me said 
" that the only difference between that species and 
" other Rhinoceroses was that it had a mouth like a 
" cow — a broad muzzle ; whilst the others had over- 
" hanging, pointed lips. But I was sure that the 
" animal must have had other distinctions in the body, 
" which were not noticed, and in which the difference 
" was more striking. I declined to do it because I 
" did not know enough about the animal." 

Similar in size and treatment to his auto-litho- 
graphs in The Proceedings, Wolf's contributions to 
The Ibis range from the first number in 1S59, to 
1869, and include some seventy-five drawings of new 
or rare species. 

Illustrating a paper by Messrs. A. and E. Newton 



io6 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

on the Birds of St. Croix, Wolf's first drawing re- 
presents a weird-looking, curious bird — the Bare- 
Legged Owl {Gymnoghmx nudipes) in the act of 
capturing a lizard. In the same volume is this note 
by Mr. J. H. Gurney on Pel's Owl (Scotopelia 
peli): — " Having lately been presented with a living 
" specimen of this extremely rare Owl by Col. 
" O'Connor, C.B., by whom it was recently brought 
" from the River Gambia, I have requested Mr. Wolf 
" to draw the bird from life." 

This was a somewhat sinister present, for it was 
believed by the natives that this was a bird of pecu- 
liarly evil omen, bringing dire disaster upon the heads 
of those who kept it in captivity. 

Among Wolf's drawings in The Ibis will be found 
some of the best examples of his Hawks and Falcons, 
including a very pretty family group of the Eastern 
Red-footed Hobby ^Erythropus amurensis) and other 
beautiful species drawn with that consummate skill, 
and taste, and accuracy, which, by common consent of 
ornithologists, had earned him so great a reputation in 
connection with the Birds of Prey. 

Mr. Dresser tells me that having, in 1869, secured 
the services of Mr. Keulemans in illustrating his Birds 
of Europe, that gentleman " took Wolfs place in The 
Ibis, Wolf being very glad to resign in his favour." 

At first sight it may seem singular that an artist 
capable of turning out such perfect work as that he 
had been engaged upon for this periodical, and for The 




THli liASTICKN RED-FOOTICD HoBBY . 



NATURALISTS AND ART 107 

Zoological Society, should have wished to relinquish 
it. How easily and rapidly he did it we have seen ; 
and it does not look like the workmanship of a 
man whose heart was elsewhere. Yet such was the 
case. The love of art — the desire to revel in its mys- 
teries and to grapple with its most alluring difficulties, 
which had drawn him away from the free, happy life 
at Darmstadt to the Antwerp Academy, were still 
burning. The consciousness that, for the most part, 
artistic refinements were entirely thrown away on the 
naturalists and perhaps resented by them as impairing 
the accuracy of the drawings, disturbed him still. He 
says: — "There have been very few among all my 
" acquaintances among naturalists who could appre- 
" ciate a drawing if it were ever so well done; and 
"sometimes the better it was done, the less they liked 
" it. . . . There are naturalists who think a stuffed 
" Falcon superior to the best picture which can be 
" painted. How can you expect respect as an artist 
" from a man like that ? The scientific work consists 
" merely of /fr/ra/w of single figures. I was never 
" satisfied with this, but tried to express action and 
"life — to make the animals do something by which 
" you could give the picture a name. . . . You know I 
" make a distinction between a picture in which there 
"is an idea, and the mere representation of a bird. 
" Before you are able to make mammals or birds do 
" what you like (which very few can manage), you have 
" to work hard. ... I did not enjoy the zoological 



io8 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

"work, and always wanted to get rid of it; but, of 
"course, I did my best, whatever I did. I even put 
"up a gallery in my studio in order that nobody who 
" called to see my pictures or drawings should catch 
" me at the other things." He goes on to tell me 
a significant little story. A friend of his was once 
praising his work to a museum official. " Ah ! " said 
the man of science, "Mr. Wolf is too much of an 
" artist to do drawings as we like them." " So among 
" the artists," he says, " I shall be called a ' naturalist,' 
" and among the naturalists, an ' artist.' But when my 
" friend told me that story I felt very proud." 

1 have heard him say more than once, with all 
the emphasis of his most firm convictions, "Some ot 
" the naturalists with regard to art are perfect babies ; 
" and that is why I did not like working for them." I 
must confess that I keenly regret this strong feeling 
on Wolfs part ; the more so as I know that it is by 
no means an imaginary grievance. The reality of it has 
in some cases been proved up to the hilt, and needs 
not the circumstantial evidence, the Inimitable little 
anecdotes which he occasionally repeats, to say 
nothing of the evidence gaily paraded in many a work 
on natural history, including the most recent. It is 
rare to meet with such sound criticism as that of 
Professor Newton, and correspondingly common to 
find indiscriminate praise lavished on illustrations of 
all degrees of merit or no merit whatever, in a way 
which approaches the ludicrous. 



''ZOOLOGICAL SKETCFIES" 109 

That the mutual hostility or indilTerence I have 
already alluded to should continue to intervene 
between Science and Art is sad ; and that the talent 
of such an artist as Wolf should be so curbed and 
fettered by the requirements of his scientific work that 
he keeps it rigidly distinct from that which, in the 
proper sense, is artistic, and finally does it, so to 
speak, in secret, is still more sad. When the man of 
science accords to the artist a small measure of that 
respect which he justly claims by reason of his own 
life -long study and devotion, a better day will dawn ; 
though it will have dawned too late for the one man 
who has united, as they have never before been 
joined, the best attributes of Science and Art. 

We learn from Mr. Sclater that : — 
" In the year 1852 the Council of The Zoological Society, impressed 
"with a sense of the great value of an accurate artistic record of the 
" living form and expression of the many rare species of animals 
" which exist from time to time in the menagerie, resolved to com- 
" mence the formation of a series of original water-colour drawings 
" to illustrate the most interesting of these subjects. For this purpose 
" the Council was fortunate enough to secure the services of Mr. 
" Joseph Wolf, who may be fairly said to stand alone in intimate 
" knowledge of the habits and forms of Mammals and Birds." ' 

Sometimes, in addition to these drawings, a study 

^ Preface to the Zoological Sketches. First Series. Graves 1861. 
Perhaps it may not be generally known to admirers of Wolfs designs that 
the stones of both series of Zoological Sketches are in existence, and that 
the separate coloured plates can be got at the publishers' at a cost of 7^-. bd. 
each. The following are fine e.xamples of this phase of the artist's work : 
First Series, The Bassaris ; The Greenland Falcon, The Horsfield 
Kaleege ; The Mantchurian Crane. Second Series, The Markhore ; 
The Saddle-backed Stork ; The Shoe-bill ; The Indian Wood Ibis. 



no LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

was made of some animal in the Gardens which had 
reached a high degree of perfection ; and of such 
animals Wolf says, " I delighted to do them more 
" than the others ; for sometimes, when they arrived, 
" they were in a miserable state, and I hardly knew 
" what to make of them. I used to do two or three of 
" these drawings in a day, if the material were good. 
"All these were vignettes only; but I took care to 
" get the true character of the animal. By that time I 
" had thorough confidence in my work. It is then you 
"do your best." 

The drawings referred to hang partly in the 
Picture Gallery at the Zoological Gardens, and partly 
in the Society's Lecture Room at Hanover Square. 
Some of the former have suffered severely by a too 
continuous exposure to bright light ; I should fear 
even to sunlight ; but many remain uninjured, from 
which it is possible to form an opinion. What this 
opinion is depends on the artistic training of the 
critic, and his power of detecting the unobtrusive 
touches of nature which give the vitality and individu- 
ality in which Wolf revels ; and partly on his love for 
natural history. What will be found in the best of 
these subjects is a series of some of the most rare or 
most beautiful animals in the world, brought before us 
so naturally, in the full perfection of their vigour and 
wild, unpersecuted life, that the art which brings them 
— which so deftly conceals the fact that they are cap- 
tives in London, is, for a time, forgotten. Fifty of 



"ZOOLOGICAL SKETCHES'' m 

these drawings were reproduced in hand-coloured 
Hthography, by other artists, and published in parts 
from 1856 to 1861. A second series followed from 
1 86 1 to 1867. The letterpress, begun by Mr. 
Mitchell, was continued, after his death in 1859, by 
Mr. Sclater, from whose preface I have quoted. Al- 
though, of course, losing much of their refinement by 
translation, the Zoological Sketches, as they are called, 
are striking even at first sight ; some of them, per- 
haps, a little too striking ; and, in default of the ori- 
ginal drawings, they are well worth much study. 

Touching a very curious sky introduced by the 
lithographic draughtsman. Wolf said, "And then 
" they did the clouds you see ; one — two — three — 
" four ! They weren't even asked for that." No one 
but an artist can realize what an artist suffers when a 
translation of some of his best work in colour is thus 
attempted. The first things that are sacrificed are 
those very qualities he values most highly. Having 
no means of putting himself right with the public he 
remains for ever in the wrong, and is praised or 
blamed for much with which he has had absolutely 
nothing to do. Probably many people thought that 
these coloured lithographs were the work of Wolf's 
own hand, clouds and all. In spite of their inferiority 
to the original drawings. Professor Newton writes of 
the Zoological Sketches as follows : — 

"Though a comparatively small number of species of birds are 
" figured in this magnificent work (seventeen only in the first series 



112 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

" and twenty-two in the second), it must be mentioned here, for 
"these likenesses are so admirably executed as to place it in regard 
"to ornithological portraiture, at the head of all others. There 
"is not a plate that is unworthy of the greatest of all animal 
" painters." ' 

In the same category as the Zoological Sketches 
must be placed the elaborate monographs of the 
Pheasants, the Birds of Paradise, and the Felidcs by 
Mr. Daniel Giraud Elliott. A Prospectus of the 
Phasianidce printed in The Ibis in 1869, runs as 

follows : — 

" Birds so showy and attractive should be worthily represented, 
" and the author has the satisfaction to announce that the plates 
" will be drawn from original paintings executed expressly for the 
" present work by Mr. Joseph Wolf, whose characteristic delineations 
" of Birds have justly earned for him a world-wide reputation. The 
" lithography will be entrusted to Mr. J. G. Keulemans, who is fast 
" establishing himself as a first-rate draughtsman of animal life ; thus 
" it will be seen that the author has spared no pains or expense to 
" secure the best available talent in the world," 

These volumes form an ddition de luxe ; that is to 
say they in every way promote the discomfort of the 
would-be reader ; who, in heaving them up upon the 
table, involuntarily wishes that the author's expenses 
had not been quite so liberally allowed. In the Birds 
of Paradise alone there are some 1 1 2 square feet 
of illustrations distributed among thirty-seven species, 
and in the Pheasants 246 feet, to say nothing of the 
Cats. It is a large superficies of zoological art, to 
say the least of it. The birds, for the most part, are 
life-size, and the tails are as deftly manoeuvred as the 

' Article " Ornithology," EncydopLTdia Britaniiica, ix, ed. 



ELLIOTT'S MONOGRAPHS 113 

ladies' trains at a Drawing-room. So many gorgeous 
plates of species that are often yet more gorgeous 
are somewhat overpowering. We turn them over 
with fear and trembling. 

Next to the Birds of Prey, Wolf is admitted to be 

facile princeps in delineating the Gallinaceous birds, 

and himself considers them one of his strongest 

points, n is easy to see from these volumes of 

Pheasants that this is the case.^ 

It is almost a relief to turn from the Pheasants and 
Birds of Paradise to the more sombre colouring of 
the Cats ; a most interesting tribe, whose varied 
expressions of cunning, intense ferocity, or well- 
simulated meekness are admirably rendered ; whose 
beautiful coats and mighty muscles bring into play the 
artist's rare power of modelling, of foreshortening, 
and placing in faultless perspective the various 
markings. 

Although it is as much to the illustrations as to 
the letterpress of these monographs that Mr. Elliott 
owed their subsequent reputation, a would-be student 
of Wolfs work should be warned against accepting 
them, any more than the Zoological Sketches, as 

' The dedication of the Pkasianidcerans as follows ; — " To my friend 
" Joseph Wolf, Esq., whose unrivalled talent has graced this work 
" with its chief attraction, and whose marvellous powers of delineating 
" animal life render him unequalled in our time." The author adds 
in his preface a somewhat similar eulogy, " and is sure that all 
" naturalists will join him in acknowledging that Mr. Wolf is the only 
" one who has succeeded in elevating to its proper position in art both 
" ornithological and mammalogical illustration." 

I 



114 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

thoroughly or even fairly representative ; because it is 
work which, under no circumstances, will bear transla- 
tion with impunity even by such skilled hands, to say 
nothing of the addition of colouring done at a low rate 
of remuneration. 

All possible care was certainly taken that the 
translations should be good ; and Mr. Elliott used 
frequently to take his friend in a cab to the residence 
of the lithographic draughtsman, that Wolf might 
correct, with his own hands, the drawings on the stone. 
A comparison with the original charcoal sketches, and 
that alone, will show why any attempt at translation 
must necessarily fail. I think it is doubtful whether 
the artist himself could have transferred to the stone 
all their refinement and vigour.^ They depend on 
subtleties which, in all probability, no other living 
man could fully understand, much less translate. 

The differentiating between the merits and peculi- 
arities of Wolf's own handiwork, in whatever material, 
and those of the work of his translators is, to one who 
has received the higher education of an artist, an easy 
matter ; but it seems to have been a stumbling-block 
to some persons not so qualified, in spite of undoubted 
scientific attainments. 

If it be a relief toturn from Mr. Elliott's Pheasants to 

> Wolf, on reading this paragraph in the proof, remarked, "You can't 
"transfer all the vigour. It ne\er comes back again. In the next 
" attempt you may get a different inspiration. Equally good, perhaps, 
"but not the same." He spoke thus touching all his own translations. 
He speaks yet more strongly of those by other hands. 




Reeves" Pheasant. 



DJiESSER'S "BIRDS OF EUROPE" 115 

the Cats, it is still more so to sink into a chair with a 
volume of Mr. H. E. Dresser's Birds of Europe ; one 
of the most fascinating, comfortable, and useful books 
a lover of birds can covet. It takes, of course, an 
ornithologist to appreciate the incalculable value of a 
work such as this,^ but we can all appreciate the interest 
of the descriptions and the vivacity and truthfulness of 
attitude in the fifteen designs which Wolf did for his old 
and intimate friend. The chief of these are to be found 
in the family Falconida; ; and the designs were boldly 
sketched on a large scale in Wolf's favourite " char- 
coal grey ; " being afterwards lithographed by the 
same artists who were responsible for the lithography 
of Elliott's monographs. Through Mr. Dresser's 
kindness, I am able to reproduce two of the originals. 
The designs for the title-pages are also Wolfs doing, 
and I regret that they are so. 

' " As a whole," writes Professor Newton, " European ornithologists 
" are all but unanimously grateful to Mr. Dresser for the way in which he 
" performed the enormous labour he had undertaken." 



I 2 



ii6 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 



CHAPTER IV 



IT is not clear how Joseph Wolf became generally 
recognised as anything more than an eminent 
specialist who had chiefly devoted himself to 
illustrating books on Falconry, and to zoological 
drawings. Yet the transition to the work which 

o 

followed was natural enough. At the beginning of the 
fifties he began to draw in earnest for some of the 
London publishers ; leading off, as far as I know, with 
four auto-lithographs for Mr. A. E. Knox's Game 
Birds and Wild Foivl : tlieir Friends and their 
Foes. This was one of the occasions on which he 
formed a firm friendship with an author, which was 
only ended by death. He travelled down with Mr. 
Van Voorst, the publisher of this charming book, on 
a visit to Knox at his fine old home near Midhurst ; 
and he describes him as "a tall, gentlemanly-looking 
" man, full of amusing stories — a sportsman but not 
" ostentatious about it." The visitors were taken by 
their host to see the pictures at Petworth House ; 
" He was a funny fellow," says Wolf, "who could 
" make all sorts of laces, and he imitated the old 
" housekeeper \\\\o guided us." 



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The Panthkk. 



CHROMO-LITHOGRAPHS 117 

Among his ornithological curiosities which Knox 
pointed out (such, perhaps, as his " Chelsea Hospital " 
of stuffed birds which had been maimed in various 
ways by shot), were some specimens which had been 
set up by Gould when he was a gardener's boy ; pro- 
bably at the time he stuffed for the boys at Eton. 

The illustrations to the Game Birds, although most 
interesting, will hardly compare favourably with the 
best of the artist's later work ; and one of them is 
certainly unfortunate in treatment. 

Reluctantly passing over the second edition of the 
same author's delightful Ornithological Rambles in 
Sussex, in which he avails himself of " the gifted pencil 
of Wolf," and not at all reluctantly omitting the 
distressing copies of our friend's work in Knox's 
Autumns on the Spey, we shall do well to study a 
most spirited design of a Goshawk striking a Gazelle 
in Burton's Falconry in the Valley of the Indus. 

In 1853-4, chromo-lithography claimed a victim 
in Wolf The Poets of the IVoods and Feathered 
Favoiirites (published by Bosworth) are a collection of 
quotations from the poets touching our British birds, 
each volume illustrated with twelve reproductions 
from small, circular, water-colour drawings. 

This is another case, and a notable one, where the 
attempt to reproduce Wolfs work in colour, amounted 
for the most part to a libel, or, as he calls it, "a 
fiasco " ; and, to those who do not know his original 



ii8 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

drawings, an emphatic warning is necessary to that 
effect. 

Mr. Dresser possesses some of the originals, 
which came into his hands in a singular way. The 
publisher entrusted them to an auctioneer to sell, 
who promptly failed ; and all trace of the man and 
the drawings was lost. Subsequently they appeared 
in one large frame at a city dealer's ; who, in selling 
them to Mr. Dresser for a nominal sum, and in 
ignorance of their authorship, informed him that he 
had bought them over the counter of his shop, loose 
in an envelope. 

Never did a more tasty plum fall into the mouth 
of a collector ; for the drawings are gems, glowing 
in the most delicately harmonious colouring, and full 
of refinement in draughtsmanship ; witness the little 
pictures of the Green Woodpecker and the Ring 
Doves. As for the chromo-lithographs, they are 
pretty, it is true ; a few are very pretty ; but they do 
not fairly represent Joseph Wolf; and the marvellous 
rococo borders that surround them would offend the 
taste of a fairly well-educated cheesemonger. 

Mr. Dresser has a few drawings uniform in size 
and treatment with those I have mentioned ; and the 
subject of one is parrakeets. Wolf says " I did them 
"because I liked them. At that time they were new. 
" I put them on a bunch of dark grapes, which I 
" believe they never touch." They appear to belong 
to another series of which I know nothing. 



"LAKE N GAMI" 119 

The only other instance I know of a series of 
circular chromo-lithographs from Wolf's drawings, is 
an edition of Cock Robin. In his portfolios other 
circular subjects sometimes occur, and he does not 
seem to have found himself hampered in any way by 
that rather unpleasant shape. The composition is 
always skilful enough to avoid any appearance of 
cutting down, or cramped work. He was also 
given at one time to rounding off the top corners 
of his subjects. On my objecting to this on one 
occasion, he naively admitted that he sometimes did 
it to escape the difficulty of filling them up ; but 
this, of course, was early in his career. He says, 
" Sometimes a subject is not fit to be done upright. 
" Then I do it round. What I hate most is a lozenge- 
" shape, or a round subject bursting out in one place 
" like a rotten egg." The American fashion of mixing 
up the design with the letterpress, he nauseates. 

Possibly the artist was dispirited by the mechanical 
translation of his work, for next on the list after 
Bosworth's volumes, we find one illustrated by no less 
than thirteen lithographs from his own hand — litho- 
graphs far superior to any in Knox's works. Lake 
N Garni by C. J. Andersson ^ was, as far as I know, 
the first book of adventure and sport with which 
Wolf was connected. He was given free scope, the 
text was interesting, and he got on well with the 

' Hurst & Blackett, 1856. The imprints of several of the litho- 
graphs, incorrectly ascribe them to Wolf, an error not found in the list 
of illustrations. 



120 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

author, so that he enjoyed the work. Indeed, so 
good were his opportunities, that on one occasion 
the traveller actually crawled upon the studio floor 
with his rifle, that some sketches might be made quite 
truthful in detafl, for his figure in " Unwelcome 
Hunting Companions." 

Among the most interesting illustrations are the 
furious charge of a Black Rhinoceros, a night scene ; 
and a perfect contrast to this is a group of browsing 
Koodoos.' But perhaps the best of these striking 
pictures ot African wild animals is that representing 
the approach of a herd of thirsty Elephants to a pool 
already thronged with other game : — 

" The accompanying plate," says the author, "represents one of 
" those numerous and exciting scenes that I have witnessed at night, 
" at the water, \Yhen lying in ambush for game. There is one fact 
" — a fact that has hitherto escaped the attention of the African 
" sportsman — connected with this illustration that makes it particu- 
" larly interesting, and which induced me to designate it ' The 
"Approach of Elephants.' The animals are just appearing above the 
" distant. hill. If the spring or pool, as the case may be, be of small 
"extent, all the animals present will in%"ariably retire from the water 
" as soon as they are aware of the presence of the elephants, of whom 
" they appear to have an instinctive dread, and will remain at a re- 
" spectful distance until the giants have quenched their thirst. Thus, 
"long before I have seen or even heard the elephants, I have been 
"Warned of heir approach by symptoms of uneasiness displayed by 

' Koodoos by a pool in the evening", with a few Zebras, form the subject 
of a charming composition painted in water-colour for one of the artist's 
many kindly and appreciative sportsman friends, who writes to him as 

follows : " ?\Ir. is \-ery much taken with the drawing and told me he 

'■ tried in vain to find faults, and congratulated me on being the happy 
"possessor of ' the only good picture of the most beautiful animal in the 
"world ;' \\'hich I cpiite endorse." 



NIGHT SHOOTING 121 

" such animals as happened to be drinking at the time. The giraffe, 
" for instance, begins to sway his long neck to and fro ; the zebra 
"utters subdued, plaintive cries ; the gnoo glides away with a noise- 
" less step ; and even the ponderous and quarrelsome black rhino- 
"ceros, when he has time for reflection, will pull up short in his 
" walk to listen ; then, turning round, he listens again, and if he feel 
"satisfied that his suspicions are correct, he invariably makes off, 
"usually giving vent to his fear or ire by one of his vicious and 
" peculiar snorts." 

The subject is one after Wolf's own heart ; who, 
always fond of night scenes or twilight, must have 
entered enthusiastically into the pleasure of depicting 
such a romantic episode. 

There is a passage or two in Tropical South 
Africa by Galton, Andersson's companion, dealing 
with nocturnal sport, which so happily and exactly 
suggest the kind of nocturnal subjects Wolf would 
have loved to design, had he come across them, that I 
will quote them : — 

" It is one of the most strangely exciting positions that a sports- 
" man can find himself in, to lie behind one of these screens or holes 
" by the side of a path leading to a watering place so thronged with 
" game as Tunobis. Herds of gnus glide along the neighbouring 
"paths in almost endless files : here standing out in bold relief 
" against the sky, there a moving line, just visible in the deep 
" shades ; and all as noiseless as a dream. Now and then a slight 
" pattering over the stones makes you start. It jars painfully on the 
" strained ear, and a troop of zebras pass frolicking by. All at once 
"you observe twenty or thirty yards off, two huge ears pricked up 
" among the brushwood ; another few seconds and a sharp solid horn 
"indicates the cautious and noiseless approach of the great 
" rhinoceros. Then the rifle or gun is pushed slowly over the 
" wall . . . and you keep a sharp and anxious look out through 
" some cranny in your screen. . . .'' 



122 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

" A rhinoceros is a sulky, morose brute, and it is very ridiculous 
" to watch a sedate herd of gnus bullied by one of them. He runs 
" among them and pokes about with his horn while they scamper 
" and scurry away from him in great alarm. He surely must often 
" kill them. 

" For my own taste I should like to spend nights perched up in 
" some tree with a powerful night glass watching these night frolics 
"and attacks. I really do not much care about shooting the 
"animals, though it makes a consummation to the night work, as 
" the death of the fox does to a fox hunt, but it is the least pleasur 
" able part of the whole. Great fun seems to go on among the dif- 
"ferent animals ; jackals are always seen and are always amusing ; 
" their impudence is intolerable ; they know that you do not want 
" to shoot them ; and will often sit in front of your screen and stare 
" you in the face. Sometimes, whilst straining your eyes at the 
" dimly seen bushes around you, the branched stem of one gradually 
" forms itself into the graceful head of some small antelope. The 
" change is like that of a dissolving view, the object being under 
" your notice for a minute, yet you could not tell when it ceased to 
" be a bush and became an animal. . . ." 

When I read these passages to Wolf he said, 
" Simply splendid ! I have had the same sensation 
" watching for deer just before the morning twihght. 
" You hear the click, click, click, of the hoofs, gradu- 
" ally approaching, or passing by, just as the case 
" may be, until the deer gets your wind and stands 
" still. It is curious how they will stand at night even 
"close to a road, perfectly still, and relying on not 
" being seen. They come very near before you see 
" well enough to shoot, and then you try to get the 
" broadside, and fire with your heart in your mouth, 
" for fear of missing." 

Wolf did not always find authors so pleasant and 




The Pallid Harrier. 



LIVINGSTONE'S ''TRAVELS'' 123 

appreciative as Andersson. On leaving a publisher's 
office with a gentleman whose book on hunting he 
was to illustrate, he ventured to ask a question about 
an animal he knew the other must have met with. 
He was answered thus. " That's nothing to do with 
" you. What you have to do is to get those right 
" which you have in hand." When he speaks of this 
kind of man Wolf repeats an old German saying, 
which, being interpreted, is this: "They go to work 
"with an artist like a swine with a beggar's bread- 
" bag." 

In 1857 appeared Livingstone's Missionary 
Travels in Sotith Africa ; a book defaced rather than 
illustrated by a number of Wood-cuts so atrociously 
engraved, and, for the most part, so utterly wanting in 
good qualities, that it is very small praise to pronounce 
the twelve by Wolf the best of them.^ He had ex- 
pected intellectual translation ; but he now learnt, for 
the first time, what an ill-paid British wood-engraver 
could achieve in that way. Thanks chiefly to that 
engraver, his version of the celebrated incident of the 
Lion's attack upon Livingstone is simply grotesque. 
If we did not know upon whom to lay the blame, it 
would seem incredible that the same artist could pro- 
duce " The Approach of Elephants," " The Koodoo," 
and " Unwelcome Hunting Companions " in Lake 

' There is no acknowledgment of their authorship, but they will be 
found facing pages 13, 26, 27, 56, 71, 140, 142, 210, 242, 498, 562, and 
588. 



124 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

N Gaiiii, and only a year afterwards, such coarse and 
unhappy work. 

Among the reasons why the Livingstone illustra- 
tions were a failure were, perhaps, firstly that the 
author was so ignorant of art that the subjects he pro- 
posed were the most impossible ; and, secondly, that 
he altogether lacked the power of vivid verbal 
description. Wolf says, " I used to go to see 
" Livingstone at Sloane Street ; and he would pro- 
" pose subjects ; but there was no kandle to what he 
" said. He had a thing in his mind that couldn't be 
" illustrated. I couldn't make pictures of what he 
" thought would be the best subjects. I didn't feel 
" the inspiration to work with Livingstone as I did 
" with Oswell." 

Livingstone had made a sketch of what he 
thought was a new species of monkey ; but it was so 
" aivfiil" as Wolf calls it, that nobody could tell 
from the sketch, for what it was intended. This the 
publisher was happily dissuaded from reproducing. 
The artist still has in his portfolios two or three of 
his original sketches which were submitted to Living- 
stone ; with questions as to particulars, and answers 
in the author's handwriting. 

Passing over sixteen illustrations by Wolf in an 
edition of ^Esop out of the hundred all ascribed to 
Tenniel on the title-page, we come to Captain Dray- 
son's Sporting Scenes amongst the Kajfirs ; published 
by Routledge in 1858. On the title-page of my copy 




The Marsh Harrier, 



BIS ACADEMY PICTURES 125 

it is said that this book is " Illustrated by Harrison 
Weir from designs by the Author." There are, how- 
ever, only eight illustrations, all of which are by 
Wolf ; and they had nothing whatever to do with the 
author's designs. '' Elephant-hunting in the Bush," 
" Sharp Practice," and " The Red Buck and the 
Sporting Leopard" are the best. In the last of 
these, the engraver (as we shall often find in parallel 
cases) has carefully cut a light halo round the fore- 
most Buck, that there may be no mistake about the 
outline. It is curious how often this pernicious 
officiousness in clearing up everything that the artist 
has intentionally left doubtful, or in non-relief, or sub- 
dued occurs in wood-engraving. The determination 
to cut away the wood round dark or middle-tint forms 
— to sharpen everything up, seems to be a kind of 
irresistible mania which seizes the engraver, just as 
the opposite mania to obscure, and besmirch, by 
means of his fatal retrotissage, rages within the mind 
of a printer of modern etchings. 

As I have now reached the close of the first decade 
of Wolfs residence in England, I will postpone, for 
the present, the account of his further successes as an 
illustrator. 

There should be included in this ten years' work 
eight oil pictures,^ which were exhibited at the Royal 
Academy after the "Woodcocks seeking shelter." 

' These were as follows. 1850. " Autumn " [Wounded Woodcock]. 
" Wild Boar " [Kitcat, landscape way. A moonlight landscape, strikingly 



126 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

One or two of these pictures are still in the artist's 
possession ; and in spite of most careful drawing and 
good composition they have possibly helped to give 
an impression to others besides myself, that oil is not 
the material in which he most excels, although it is as 
an oil-painter that he prefers to be known. The best 
of his works in water-colour, and particularly those in 
charcoal, chalk, or charcoal grey have, in fact, com- 
pletely spoilt some people for his oil pictures ; and the 
change of material seems to me to be followed, in 
some instances, by a palpable change of style. There 
are, however, numbers of his best works in oil which 
I have never seen. 

" The Proud Bird of the Mountain" bears a quota- 
tion from Grahame's Birds of Scotland, where Wolf 
found descriptions of his favourite birds and favourite 
scenery. From his well-worn copy he has taken 
many a subject ; and in The Poets of the Woods, 
already mentioned, there are eight quotations from 
Grahame. Some exceedingly careful studies were 
made for the Eagle's plumage ruffled by the storm. 

A large picture called "Jerfalcons striking a 

poetic]. "Winter" [A dying partridge. Upright about 24" high]. 1851. 
" The Falcon's Nest " [Upright and 3 or 4 feet high. Purchased by the 
Duke of Argyll and afterwards burnt at Inveraray]. 1853. " The Happy 
Mother." "The Mourner" [A Dove with destroyed nest. Circular and 
18" in diameter]. " The Proud Bird of the Mountain " [Golden Eagle in 
a snow-storm. A quotation from Grahame's Birds of Scotland. Upright. 
Purchased by the Duke of Westminster]. 1856. "Jerfalcons striking a 
Kite." As only one more oil picture was ever exhibited at the Academy, 
I will include it, to make the list complete. 1863. "Wapiti Deer and 
Scenery at Powerscourt Park." 



HIS FALCON PICTURES 127 

Kite " failed to sell at the Academy. It was after- 
wards bought by a well-to-do gentleman-farmer, and 
finally found its way into the collection of Lord 
Lilford. The picture was reproduced in The Field 
of January 10, 1890, and was exhibited at the Sports 
and Arts Exhibition in the same year, under the 
title " Kite Hawking with Northern Falcons on a 
Suffolk Heath." Wolf says, however, " I never 
thought of a Suffolk Heath at all." The birds are 
all life-size, and the actions of the Falcons are very 
vigorous. Mr. Harting, in his interesting article in 
The Field describing this glorious sport, speaks of this 
work as " one of the finest bird pictures ever painted 
by Joseph Wolf" This may be the opinion of 
a falconer and naturalist, but it is not one in which 
every artist would coincide. The picture has points 
of affinity with a group of Wolfs works which he says 
were purposely treated ornithologically, and it does 
not show the full strength of his power of composition. 
A few of them, representing Falcons, appeared in the 
Sports and Arts Exhibition ; but he was very sorry 
to see them exhibited, and describes them as " The 
hardest things I have ever done." I have always 
feared that some people have known him chiefly by 
such works as these ; by his hard, semi-scientific 
pictures. If this is the case, if they have lacked 
the knowledge necessary in order to appreciate the 
draughtsmanship, the truth and vivacity of attitude, and 
the skill with which the markings obey the perspective 



128 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

and modelling — merits which, by common consent of 
the best judges, place Wolf at the very head of 
draughtsmen of the Birds of Prey-— they will have 
formed a totally false conclusion. They will not suspect 
that the same painter who has produced these hard 
and rather severely treated pictures of birds, naturally 
revels in artistic qualities and subtleties which are very 
different. 

It is indeed unfortunate that while many of his less 
successful achievements are widely known, and trans- 
lations or parodies of others in which all the qualities 
he most valued are wanting, his best and really re- 
presentative works are known only to the purchasers 
and their friends, and to the few who were privileged 
to see them on the easel. 

He holds that the hardness of some of the sub- 
jects I have alluded to is chiefly due to the unpic- 
turesque nature of Falcons, and says that the Eagles 
are far more picturesque and consequently easier to 
paint. 

" Look at a Falcon's feather, and look at an 
" Eagle's feather," he says. " An Eagle's feather is a 
"beautiful honest brown, light grey and white at the 
" base ; whilst the Falcon's has a certain number of 
" cross markings to its entire length, which have to be 
"given, in order to make it a Falcon's feather. Then 
" the spottiness throughout the bird does not admit of 
" broad handling. This is what misled you once into 
" saying that some of my Falcon subjects were hard 




GOI-PKN Eagi.e. 
A SkL-tchfora Fktiir;.) 



FEATHERS 129 

" and tight.' It is easy to paint an Eagle soft and 
"feathery. None of the spotted Falcons, Peregrine, 
" Norwegian, or Iceland, are picturesque birds. One 
"can't handle them broadly. A Goshawk is more 
" picturesque than the Falcons, and the Sparrow-hawk 
" than the Peregrine." 

" Then people say, ' He knows how to paint 
" feathers.' - There is no sense whatever in this — 
" none whatever. They have no idea of the differ- 
" ence in feathers. For instance, an Owl's feather is 
" a soft, fluffy thing, whilst a Falcon's is hard. One 
" floats in the air, and another falls to the ground so 
" that you can hear it. The tail of a Woodpecker is 
" as stiff as a piece of whalebone. The feather of an 
" Owl is a ghost — you can hear nothing. But when 
" an Eagle or a Lammergeyer folds up its wings, they 
" rattle like cardboard." 

" When I came to the smaller birds like Jays and 
" Bullfinches I enjoyed doing their feathers. They 
" are split feathers, and they almost dissolve them- 
" selves into hairs. You do not see any outline to 
" them. In the Owls they would not appear so very 
" soft if the feathers were plain ; but the markings 
" are zig-zag and zig-zag, and dots, and all sorts of 
" small marks, which make the whole bird look beau- 
" tifuUy blended and soft in appearance." Speaking 

> He forgets that he himself has made the admission of a certain 
hardness in a few pictures. 

^ At the end of this volume will be found Professor Newton's testi- 
mony as to Wolfs skill in " pter5'losis." 

K 



130 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

of another artist Wolf continued : — " His feathers 
" used to be too wide. That amounts to something, 
" if you only get six in when you ought to have a 
" dozen. When I began to study, I used to measure 
" the feathers with a pair of compasses, and I had no 
" difficulty then in getting the right number into their 
" place. After you have been doing it in this way, 
" carefiilly, for a time, it comes quite natural to you. 
" For instance, in drawing an Eagle's tail spread, I 
" had no occasion to count the twelve feathers. They 
" came right by themselves." 

From feathers it is an easy transition to flight, and 
the representation of motion in birds. Here, also, 
every word Wolf has to tell us carries the greatest 
weight, if only by reason of the immense study he has 
given to the question. He says ; — " In the flight of 
"birds you cannot give the relative rapidity of the 
" movement of their wings. They always look soar- 
" ing with the wings open. This Is right with Eagles 
" and Falcons and soaring species ; but with Par- 
" tridges and others in which the wings flutter, it looks 
" wrong if they are drawn in a hard way. It can only 
•' be clone in the way the spokes of a moving wheel 
" are indicated." Now it does not take the student of 
his work long to discover that whatever species of 
bird he represents in the act of flying, seems to fly, 
and further, that it flies in its absolutely natural 
manner. The V^ultures in " Morning " (the dead Lion 
subject), do not approach in the same manner as the 



FLIGHT 



131 



Hooded Grows in '' Hunted Down"; and the Ptar- 
migan dashing up before the Alpine bhzzard are 
perfectly distinct from the Wild Geese which scurry 
overhead in the wildest terror and confusion at the 
report of the fatal shot. In nature we have rarely 
a doubt about the species which flies rapidly by 
us. The outlines of the head, the tail feathers, and 
primaries are clear cut against the sky ; and, if the bird 
is near enough, we scarcely need the characteristics of 
the flight to help us. How Wolf transfers all this to 
his canvas, how he secures the sense of various kinds 
of motion so successfully, the soaring, the fluttering, 
the laborious, the easy, it is hard to say ; but that he 
does secure it, can, I think, be proved. 

There are certain artists who treat their birds so 
" artistically " that it is sometimes an effort, if not an 
impossibility, to distinguish the species (which to me is 
the most objectionable form of artistic affectation ; the 
affectation which is more repulsive, and sickening than 
any other in the world), and pterylography is utterly 
unknown to them. The feathers, indeed, look as 
if they had purposely been brushed the wrong way to 
o-ive " breadth." There are others whose elaborate 
drawings leave no more doubt as to the identity of 
the species than the well-wired, well-smoothed, staring 
specimens in the second-rate naturalists' shops. It 
seems to me that Wolf has hit the happy and intenselv 
difficult middle course, completely avoiding these two 
errors. That is to say he gives the impression of 

K 2 



fc> 



132 



LIFE OF JOSEPH ]VOLF 



life (as he has always striven to do), and with the loci-: 
of life, the look of motion. How has he done it ? 
"/ cannot tell you how I did it, at all," he replies. 
" It is so subtle that you cannot explain. Of course 
" a laborious flier would have his head forward and 
" down like the Gallinaceous birds. Then they work 
" heavily with their wings, and their hind quarters 




Lahokious Flight 

" seem heavy and down a little — not a horizontal line. 
" For instance the flight of an Osprey rising from 
" the water with a weight would appear laborious. 
" Without the weight he would fly in a more hori- 
" zontal position." 

My sketch of the ten years' work, imperfect as it 
is, would be deficient if it did not include a series of 



O SWELL 



133 



eleven or more designs in clialk/ done for the great 
hunter, Mr. William C. Oswell, to illustrate his African 
adventures. Wolf thoroughly enjoyed this work, 
and about two years ago he spoke to me of Oswell as 
follows : — " He could describe to you scenes so pictu- 
" resquely that you could draw them at once. I 
" never heard anybody describe more clearly, or who 







■■ 1; 




^^^^ 


^^r^ 




p^ 


feS^ 


■ "*-., 


^-K /. 






^^ 






w ,-.-' 





Easy Flight 



' was more capable ot explaining a situation. You 
' could see that it was all truth, and you could see 
' picture after picture. He did not mind telling you 
' if he missed clean. As he was telling the story, I 
' composed it in my mind, as I thought it would come 



■ They have been reproduced in the Badminton Library Big Game 
Shootins:. 



134 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

" best, and he generally said 'Capital ! ' He ^paid me 
" a visit about six years ago. He zuas a nice fellow, 
" upon my word ! The nicest of all that kind of 
"fellows I have met, and a most gentlemanly man. 
"He was very much astonished when he saw me at 
" work ; but Livingstone was too ignorant of art to 
" be astonished at anything. Oswell saw I was inte- 
" rested in guns, and he lent me his lo-bore Purcley, 
" with the stock all scratched with wait-a-bit thorns. 
" I had it in my studio for some time." 

If the reader refers to the Badminton volumes on 
Big Game Shooting, he will find a piece of testimony 
touching Oswell's descriptive powers similar to that 
I have quoted. Preceding his intensely interesting 
chapters on South Africa, is a short notice of the 
hunter ; and, in his own introduction to his narrative, 
he pays a warm tribute to Wolf's genius. 
In the former. Sir Samuel Baker says : — 

" One man alone was left who could describe from personal experi- 
" ence the vast tracts of Southern Africa and the countless multitudes 
" of wild animals which existed fifty years ago. . . . This man, thus 
" solitary in this generation, was William Cotton Oswell. . . . No 
" one could describe a scene more graphically, or with greater vigour ; 
" he could tell his stories with so vivid a descriptive power that the 
" effect was mentally pictorial ; and his listeners could feel thoroughly 
" assured that not one word of his description contained a particle of 
" exaggeration. 

"... . He was accepted at that time as the Nimrod of 
" South Africa. ' par excellence,' and although his retiring nature 
" tended to self-effacement, all those who knew him, either by name 
" or personal acquaintance, regarded him as without a rival ; . . . 



OS WELL 135 

" the greatest hunter ever known in modern times, the truest friend, 
" and the most thorough example of an English gentleman." 

This magnificent man writes as follows : — 
" I have often been asked to write the stories of the illustrations 
" given in the chapters on South Africa, but I have hitherto declined, 
" on the plea that the British public had had quite enough of Africa. 
"... As I now stand mid-way between seventj' and eighty, I 
" trusted that I might, in the ordinary course of nature, escape 
"such an undertaking ; but in the end of '91, the best shot, sports- 
" man and writer that ever made Africa his field — I refer to my good 
" friend Sir Samuel Baker — urged me to put my experiences on 
" paper. . . . 

" The illustrations are taken from a set of drawings in my pos- 
" session by the best artist of wild animal life I have ever known — 
" Joseph Wolf After describing the scene, I stood by him as he 
" drew, occasionally offering a suggestion or venturing on two or 
" three scrawling lines of my own, and the wonderful talent of the 
"man produced pictures so like the reality in all essential points, 
" that I marvel still at his power, and feel that I owe him most grate- 
" ful thanks for daily pleasure. . . . Many of the scenes it would have 
" been impossible to depict at the moment of their occurrence, so 
" that even if the chief human actor had been a draughtsman he 
" must have trusted to his memory. Happily I was able to give my 
" impressions into the hands of a genius who let them run out at the 
" ends of his fingers. They are rather startling, I know, when looked 
" at in the space of five minutes, but it must be remembered that they 
" have to be spread over five years and that these are the few acci- 
" dents among numberless uneventful days. I was once asked to bring 
" these sketches to a house where I was dining. During dinner the 
" servants placed them round the drawing-room and on coming 
" upstairs I found two young men examining them intently. 
" ' What's all this ? ' one asked. ' I don't know,' the other replied. 
" ' Oh, I see now,' the first continued, 'a second Baron Munchausen ; 
" ' don't you think so ? ' he inquired, appealing to me. We were 
" strangers to -each other, so I corroborated his bright and certainly 
" pardonable solution ; but they are true nevertheless. I have 



136 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

"kept them down to the truth. Indeed, two of them fall short 
" of it." 

Whatever their artistic merit may be, or the rank 
they hold among Wolf's works, the sketches which 
were at once so life-like and deliberately true as to 
give such a man as Oswell daily pleasure for many 
years — which were done under his eye and under the 
direct inspiration of his marvellous descriptive powers, 
are (even in the little process blocks) of great interest. 
Such a hunter and such an artist will never again 
work in conjunction. 

Gordon Gumming was a sportsman of a different 
stamp, and Wolf severely censures the slaughter 
which made the reputation of such hunters. He did 
not illustrate Gumming's books ; but drew, neverthe- 
less, a series of larq-e desio-ns for his lectures. But so 
much did he revolt ao-ainst the bloodshed described 
by Gumming, that one day, when he telt particularly 
angry, he caught up a bit of charcoal and made the 
sketch a reproduction of which the reader will see. 
It was intended as a kind ot counterblast or protest 
against the popular notion ot sport, and the general 
tendency of Gumming's anecdotes. These are the 
words in which Wolf imagines that writer would have 
described the incident : — " On comino; into the neigh- 
" bourhood of our waggons, our dogs gave tongue in 
" a clump of bushes. I walked on, and there was a 
" savage Lioness ! I knocked her over with my first 
'' barrel ; and then I found that she had cubs, which 



SPORTING SUBJECTS 137 

" were instantly torn to pieces and greedily devoured 
" by our hungry dogs." 

Sport, in its aspect of needless butchery, Wolf 
loathed at all times, and even for sport as prac- 
tised by Oswell and Sir Samuel Baker (whose for- 
bearance so disgusted his American hunters), he grew 
to have less and less toleration. As years went 
on, and he became more familiar with the life-history, 
the beauty, and the languages of wild animals, his 
love for them increased, till the time came when he 
hung up his guns and rifles, and would kill no 
longer. 

Like most men of strong character he can hate 
most vehemently, and there are few things that he 
hates more intensely than the sporting picture pure 
and simple. He says : — " I hate sporting subjects. 
" The ordinary sporting things, where the proper cut 
" of a shooting-coat seems the chief object, are dctcst- 
" able. Whenever wild animals come into contact 
" with man they are in fear of death, and appear ill at 
" ease. How would an unarmed man look, painted 
"with a Tiger confronting him?" 

In the artist's own sporting subjects (in which, I 
must confess, I take great delight), the sportsman is 
distant and the game is close — so close, in most 
instances, as to appeal to our sympathy by the pathos 
of death and mutilation. As a further protest, he 
drew a pair of subjects suggested by a passage in 
Grahame's Birds of Scotland. In the first of these a 



138 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

large covey revel in the early sunshine of a fine first 
of September, in all the plenitude of their vigour 
and beauty. The sequel shows a few survivors at 
twilight, calling in vain for their dead brethren, while 
the eyes of one wounded bird are closing for the last 
time. 

Wolf not only thinks our innate craving for sport 
and the insatiable desire to kill, a relic of a savage 
condition, out of keeping with the exalted culture and 
civilization we claim, but he girds at the superficial 
character of the average sportsman's knowledge of 
animals, and in this he keeps step with Knox. He 
says, " They have no desire to know about a thing. 
Their only desire is to kill it." 

He fairly boils over (as he can do, now and then, 
to some purpose) at the accounts of indiscriminate 
big-game shooting, either to feed the enormous 
retinue of the wealthy sportsman, or, worse still, 
when hundreds of magnificent beasts are left to rot, 
and still shot down, till species after species is exter- 
minated. The man who " sports " in this way he 
compares unfavourably with a Marten-cat in a hen- 
house, which kills on till there is nothing left alive. 
Touching a young man who was about to betake him- 
self on a "shooting trip" to Africa, he growled, when 
he was gone, " I hope that when they have to go 
" somewhere by boat, a Hippopotamus will upset 
" them, and that they will have to swim ashore, 
" leaving all their rifles at the bottom of the Zambesi. 



AIATERNAL AFFECTION 139 

-'-'It has become a recognised thing even in novels, 
" that when a fellow is disappointed in love, he goes 
" out to America or Africa to shoot big game." He 
goes even further than detestation of sport, and refuses 
to believe many of the stories touching the innate 
ferocity of certain species, and of their unprovoked 
attacks. Of man's unprovoked attacks on certain 
species he learnt a notable instance from Mr. Bartlett, 
who told him that sailors have been known to land 
on islands densely peopled with Penguins ; to kill 
or stun a sufficient quantity with sticks ; and then to 
set fire to their oily bodies, "for a lark." He says, 
" When a schoolboy sees an unfortunate Owl in his 
" power, turning its eyes upon him in fear of death, 
" he takes it for ferocity and stones the bird." 

He admits, of course, that maternal affection 
entirely alters a pacific disposition. There is a 
reason, he says, for the occasional ferocity of some 
animals. "You are too near the nest." He tells 
how a mother Partridge will attack a Crow, and 
a farm-yard hen beat off a Kite, in defence of 
their respective chickens ; both of which incidents 
he has sketched with others of the kind. "It is a 
" grand law in nature, parental affection. It is princi- 
" pally maternal affection which keeps the world 
" together, you know.^ If anybody has a mind to 
" think {or you may say the heart to think), he will 

' Of Wolf's keen appreciation and reciprocation of his mother's affec- 
tion for him, and of her great influence over him, an old friend of his has 
told me. 



I40 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

" never interfere with a mother when she is defend-' 
" ing her young." 

In fact to sum it all up Wolf adds, " Then comes 
"man, the most destructive and carnivorous animal 
" in the world. Look at the Tiger. He is nothing 
" compared with man.^ Wild animals are more in 
" fear than ferocious." Knowing also the dire severity 
of the struggle for very existence among them, he 
sees nothing so cruel in the depredations of the 
Tiger, and for that matter nothing more ridiculous in 
the strut of a Turkey-cock, than he can see, any day, 
in the actions of his fellow-men. 

Even among wild animals themselves, he depre- 
cates the inevitable aggression of the strong upon 
the weak. He repeats both by word and by brush, 
"The aggressor s/ia// not succeed" ; and he delights 
to frustrate him in his pictures. He has loved wild 
animals since he toddled about his mother's afarden. 
He deeply sympathizes with them and their perse- 
cuted lives ; and though, to a certain extent, he once 
gave way to the all-powerful instinct of sport in the 
single form of shooting, he has completely changed. 
He still cherishes his guns, and keeps them always in 
his sight ; but he loves his wild friends better, and it 

' " A young terrier or kitten," writes Francis Galton in his book on 
South Africa, " seems the most harmless and mildest of creatures, until he 
"has been brought into contact with rats and learnt the luxury and taste 
" of blood, and many an instance may be found along- the distant coasts 
" of this wide world where a year or two has converted the Saxon youth, 
" who left his mother all innocence and trust, into as diabolical and reck- 
" less a character as e\'er stabbed with a bowie-knife.'' 



HE LEAVES ROWLAND STREET 



141 



has come to this, at last, that if he sees a shooter at 
work, he exuks if he misses. 



It is not always easy to discern any well-marked 
eras in a life which, in the ordinary sense, is quite 
uneventful. It runs on its course, in outward appear- 



\. ■ '■,'■;. 




^ Pwi 


iml^l 


r ^^1 




■ ,^^^ 


. .^T ~"J.'^^^^f^-^ : 




%'■■: ■''U 'l 


1^ --^'j^m 









Joseph Wolf in the Fifties 

ance, like a slow, sober river ; the reaches varied with 
sun and shade, but never tumultuous and never stag- 
nant. The ripples of its shallows are evident enough, 
but the strength and direction of the deeper current 
are hidden. Nevertheless, in the case of an artist, 



142 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

a removal from quarters where he has made a great 
reputation forms a kind of era in his life. As the 
studies on the walls are taken down, one by one, the 
place seems to shrink to half its size. The cob- 
webbed corners yield up treasures long since forgot- 
ten ; and thrifty old spiders, who have outlived an 
occasional "spring cleaning," sidle away to pastures 
new. It is melancholy work ; but the painful effort 
by which the poor Bohemian evolves some semblance 
of order in his new home diverts his mind from the 
dusty comforts he had got to love so well. 

When Joseph Wolf was introduced by his solitary 
English acquaintance into his first Rowland Street 
lodgings, probably few besides the ornithologists and 
falconers had ever heard of him. In the more 
abstruse branches of art, and in men, he was compara- 
tively inexperienced ; and his fingers were only 
familiar (but not too familiar) with the thaler of the 
Fatherland. 

When Joseph Wolf, in iS6o, lit his first pipe in 
his new studio at 59 Berners Street, he had friends 
enough for a prodigious house-warming. Besides 
being looked up to as absolutely "unrivalled" — as 
" the best available talent in Europe," by the most 
distinguished men in Science, he was known to many 
other people of great influence and taste, just as he 
most wished to be known ; as an accomplished and 
learned artist in oil and water-colour ; and so the 
seductive crackle of the British bank-note (with which 



HIS CAGE BIRDS 143 

dulcet sound William Hunt was sometimes to be 
beguiled when all other arguments had failed), was 
familiar music. 

His new home was much more convenient than 
the old one, and he found himself master of three 
comfortable rooms with the offices thereto. There 
was a large north window, but no skylight ; and he 
thinks it was due to this moderation in the lighting 
of his studio, that his Berners Street works generally 
gained by the light of exhibitions. 

One of his first cares was to provide his favourite 
hobby with suitable stabling. At that time it was 
cage-birds, and so he gradually surrounded himself 
with aviaries. 

From the very first, and long before he had defied 
the whole school in defence of the nestlings, he had so 
peculiar a love of birds that it apparently led to reci- 
procation. There is nothing at all extraordinary in 
this ; for, over and over again, it has been proved not 
only that animals will respond in a remarkable degree 
to the kind treatment of a man who has learnt their 
language and taught them his,^ but that wild birds 

I I was talking to a well-known authoress (whose sympathy with 
animals and eagerness to respond to their advances somewhat resembles 
Wolf's) on the subject of this responsiveness. She said it was singular 
that in the case of such wild birds as Sparrows, their familiarity and con- 
fidence never got beyond a certain point. They would crowd round for 
their accustomed meal day after day, but any incautious mov-ement 
scattered them. But these birds, it must be remembered, were birds of 
experience, and already accustomed to the fierce fight for existence. 
Had they never known hunger and thirst, or danger, they would probably 
have behaved differently. Wolf himself says, " A single sparrow you 



144 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

intelligently treated, will even rival in tameness those 
reared from the nest. 

After he had set up his aviaries, he soon got to 
be on the best of terms with the inhabitants. The 
Whitethroats would take their meal-worms from his 
hand ; and in time they got to associate it with their 
dinner. When he was painting in oil they used to fly 
down upon his palette, hop upon the brush-handles, 
and peer between his fingers for the insects they were 
used to find there. But his greatest triumph was in 
the management of his Nightingales. When they were 
let out they would crowd upon the meal-worm box, so 
that their big master had to push his hand among 
them to lift up the rags in which the larvae were bred. 
He says, "They were no more afraid of my hand 
"than a kitten was. ... I have had a Nightingale 
" sitting on my boot and singing, so tame they 
"get." 

At this time the artist did some drawings for a 
professor of Dublin University, who called one day 
when a Nightingale was singing magnificently in its 
closely papered cage. Never having heard the song 
before, the learned man asked what bird it was, and 
when Wolf told him, he said he was disappointed. He 
had gathered from what he had read that it was much 
more wonderful ! "If ninety-nine people out of a 
" hundred," says Wolf, " hear a Nightingale singing in 

" might get tame enough, but when there are so many of them there are 
" too many eyes." 



HIS CAGE BIRDS 145 

" the day-time, they don't know it. They think a 
" Nightingale's song must be at night." ^ 

He had in his studio a big bath for his birds, and 
describes the morning squabbles to get sole possession 
of it as most amusing. First a Chaffinch (who was the 
tyrant of the aviary), flew down and bathed in solitary 
pomp. Then followed, perhaps, a Bullfinch or a Gold- 
finch ; and afterwards a couple of Nightingales, 
sparring together. By and bye, when the bathers were 
all wet and draggled, they would flutter across the 
carpet, and dry themselves by twos and threes on the 
fender-rail before the fire. 

Having once to draw some Redstarts, Wolf put 
upon the table two or three stuflfed specimens from a 
museum, set upon small wooden stands. This threw 
a tame Robin into a fluster ; and, on being released 
from his cage, he first flew down and sang to them, 
but finding out his mistake, he got very angry, and 
began to knock the impostors over. 

It is not often that an artist's studio rings with the 
songs of Nightingales and Blackcaps ; and it is still less 

1 It is singular that a song which is the quintessence of joyousness 
should have been so often described as melancholy, plaintive, and even 
doleful. " A melancholy Bird ? Oh, idle thought ! " 

" It is curious," writes Mr. Harting in his Summer Migrants, " how 
" wide-spread is the belief that the Nightingale warbles only at eve. The 
"reason, no doubt, is that amidst the general chorus by day its song is 
" less noticed or attended to." • 

This author does not include among our nocturnal songsters the 
Hedge Sparrow and the Blackbird. Few things are more impressive than 
a chorus (near and distant) of two or three of these last magnificent singers 
at a still, warm midniglit, as I have heard it. 

L 



146 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

often that he consults them on matters artistic ; but 
on one occasion Wolf found them rather flattering 
critics. He had finished, and finished very highly, 
an oil picture of a Peregrine. He says, " I had a 
" large cagefuU of birds at that time, and when the 
"picture was done I thought I would try its effect 
" upon them. So I showed it to them, and at 
" first only one took any notice. Then all of them 
" saw it, and there was quite a commotion among 
"them. The Serin Finch lay all along the perch, 
" and the Chaffinch hid himself down by the board 
" at the bottom." 

On another occasion he had an exceedingly 
realistic life-size study of an Alpine Hare standing on 
the floor at the foot of an easel, when a friend came in 
with a couple of Bassett Hounds. Both of them 
made a rush at the Hare, and were grievously puzzled 
when they discovered their mistake. Wolf says " It 
" is not as difficult a thino- to astonish animals with a 
" picture as people suppose, if it is tolerably well 
" done." Whether he tried any experiments of this 
kind on a lovely Silver Marmoset which came on a 
visit from the Zoological Gardens I do not know. 
His drawing of this little animal is one of the best in 
The Proceedings. 

Year by year he had assiduously kept up his com- 
munication with his kindred, although there was not 
very much in common between them, and they knew 
next to nothing of his work and its success. Nearly 




Siy^/^/ot 



The Silver Marmoset. 



HIS HOLIDA YS 147 

every summer he travelled, formerly by a Rhine 
steamer and then by rail, to visit his native village. 
There, everything was somewhat modernized, but still 
sleepy and peaceful, in spite of the advent of the iron 
road, here and there. " One of my brothers," says Wolf 
"only once got into a railway train, to go from one 
" village to another, and was astonished to find how 
"quickly he got there." 

The old people of the place were glad enough to see 
the young man from London, with outward and visible 
signs upon him of great prosperity ; and how many 
men would have yielded to the temptation to boast of 
that prosperity ! Wolf took exactly the opposite 
course. Simple at heart, he relapsed quite naturally 
into simple village ways ; and wandered about with 
his butterfly net or opera-glasses. As for his work in 
England, he kept very quiet about it ; for he says that 
he knew nobody in the whole neighbourhood, from 
the parson to the labourer, would understand it. His 
brothers had a hazy sort of notion that it was Joseph's 
bird-painting that had worked such wonders ; and 
when they approached him on the subject of building 
a second house, close to the old one, and found him 
quite willing to advance the money without security, 
there, at all events, was a pretty convincing bit of 
evidence that whatever trade he made his money by 
he was a substantial tradesman. 

The big cousin had long since departed to happier 
hunting grounds ; and the old farmer had also been 

L 2 



148 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

gathered to his fathers, full of years. Jacob, one of his 
sons, had married, and was settled in a remote farm- 
house on the hill-tops south of the Moselle, over- 
looking a splendid woodland prospect. It was here 
that the artist preferred spending the greater part of 
his hard-earned holidays at harvest-time. He says, 
" You don't see the beauty of the landscape In your 
" native place till you have been away from it. But 
" when you come back, you say, ' Oh ! how beautiful ! I 
" never saw that before ! ' Nevertheless, I had ahvays 
" dreamed, when I was a lad, of much wilder scenery 
"than that of Moerz." 

He used to get up at sunrise, and go out with his 
glasses to watch the birds. He says, " I saw the 
■' broods of Carrion Crows, Magpies, and Kestrils 
" actually playing — enjoying the moment. You could 
"see that it was pure enjoyment, as if they felt the 
"poetry of the scene." 

No bird detective can doubt the truth of this ; and 
no one who has turned his telescope upon the throngs 
of Jackdaws and Gulls on the sands of a remote 
estuary on a hot September day, or upon a party of 
Magpies in the South Devon hedges, can have failed 
to be struck with the signs of exuberant joy. They 
are thoroughly at ease and at peace ; replete, but not 
too lazy for some burst of birdy horseplay, accom- 
panied by a sudden babel of the wildest and quaintest 
notes you can Imagine. This is very different, as 
our friend is so fond of showing, from the terrified 




A Storm in the Alps. 



SNOW SUBJECTS 149 

dash of the sportsman's game ; a race for life before 
the muzzle of the gun. 

Those familiar with Wolf's works will easily call to 
mind a number in which snow is represented. A pair 
of Goldfinches sit in "Adversity," with the flakes 
falling thickly around them ; or a couple of sour old 
Boars flounder past one another in the forest, too 
equal in prowess to adventure a midnight duel ; or, 
again, a group of Chamois huddle under the thick 
mantle of dwarf firs, while the Alpine storm rages, 
and the Ptarmigan dash up to the same shelter. The 
snow is often rendered with a true poet's feeling. 
Sometimes it faintly blushes at the sun's kiss, thou- 
sands of feet above the sea ; or sparkles in the moon- 
light which dances among the mysterious, tangled 
shadows of a forest ; and sometimes it hides itself 
coldly in the cloud and mist of a dreary, Scandinavian 
solitude. It will be noticed, too, that the snow has 
nearly always the tracks of animals upon it ; not 
aimless tracks, but as significant as they are in nature. 
" I was always very fond of footmarks in snow," says 
Wolf " They tell a story. . . . Then I always saw so 
" much more brilliance and light with the sun on the 
" snow, and it made me feel cheerful. Then, too, there 
" is the beautiful rounding of the animals by the 
" reflection up from beneath of the snow. Altogether 
" they look so well, and it does not interfere with the 
" colouring." 

The material for all this, and the much more 



ISO LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

important knowledge without which all mere material 
is useless, the artist has accumulated slowly ; and it 
need scarcely be said that it was not accumulated in 
London. I have told of his delight in the wildest 
highlands of Scotland ; and it is probable that, as he 
toiled up the mountains, he had as keen an eye to 
the snow, and cloud, and mist — their contrasts and 
affinities, as he had to the Ptarmigan or Eagles. 
Some of the most careful of his snow studies were 
made in Switzerland, where he spent a month for the 
purpose ; and they were chiefly intended to record 
" the relative tones of warm and cold." 

Wolf also loves a perfectly undisturbed surface of 
snow, because he says that upon it " there is always 
a mystery." As I shall perhaps have occasion to 
reiterate, this is a quality in art, as in nature, which 
strongly appeals to him. Complaining that the 
employer for whom he had to do some drawings of 
birds on wood had said that they must be "plainly 
seen," he adds in disgust, "There are a great many 
" artists now who do not understand the value of 
" mystery in art." We shall find this quality realized 
very perfectly in numbers of his works, especially in 
some of his northern landscapes. These, for some 
inscrutable reason, carry the mind far away to those 
more awful solitudes where the White Bear sniffs 
round the bones of many a valiant mariner ; or 
the frozen dead lie under their shroud, hidden for 
ever. 



HANDA 151 

In addition to his visits to his kindred and other 
occasional journeyings, Wolf kept up his acquaintance 
with Sutherlandshire. At the Duke of Westminster's 
desire he spent three days on the Island of Handa 
(being fetched off at night), for the purpose of making 
sketches as material for one of a series of drawings. 
The Island is known to ornithologists as the rugged 
nursery of many species of sea-birds, and the haunt of 
a pair or two of Peregrines. Wolf was delighted with 
what he saw ; and how much he contrived to see in 
that short time (in spite of a dense sea-fog which 
caught him unawares), we should hardly be able to 
credit. 

I asked him if he took his Sfun, and he said " No. 
" I had found out that if you take a gun with you you 
" don't work. Your mind is occupied with watching 
" for something to shoot." Although unarmed, he had 
a constant companion which was invaluable to him ; a 
pair of powerful Ross opera-glasses. These, as an 
aid to a keen vision which little escaped, and the 
careful habits of the habitual stalker of living animals, 
revealed, as it were, a new fauna. ^ 

' The value of a small pair of really first-rate twelve-lens opera- 
glasses of great magnifying power, carried ready focussed for insta?7t 
use, no lover of nature can over-estimate. Such an instrument should 
not exceed six or seven ounces in weight in brass, and is somewhat 
rare. I have found it in absolute perfection at the great optician's 
Dallmeyer's. If furnished with a lanyard and a small curb-hook, it 
can be carried in the pocket, or be suspended instantaneously from 
the armhole of the waistcoat, where it will be out of the way and out 
of danger. As Francis Gallon points out, " opera-glasses are invaluable 
" as night glasses ; for, by their aid, the sight of man is raised nearly 



152 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

The drawings commissioned by the Duke were 
in charcoal, about six feet high, and comprised the 
following subjects. "The Island of Handa." "Sea- 
gulls." "Herons and Otter." "Young Ospreys 
feeding." "Ptarmigan on Foinaven " ; and "The 
Peregrine's nest." This last is a particularly spirited 
and original composition. The hungry scramble of 
the young birds towards their mother above shows to 
perfection the immature plumage, which is In the state 
just before the time when the eyesses are removed 
from the nest. 

There were sundry other journeys made for a 
certain definite purpose ; one, for instance, to the 
breeding haunts of the Gannets on the Bass Rock. 
The result of this trip was a good crop of sketches, 
besides the last of the drawings just mentioned, \\o\i 
went with a brother artist, and for a week or so 
worked diligently, being greatly pleased to find the 
Peregrines on the Rock besides the rightful owners, 
some marked specimens of which (we read in Tlie 
Ibis^) had been known to breed there for forty years. 
A visit to Lord Powerscourt's wild estate in Ireland 
should be included in the special journeys ; a visit 
made in order to secure studies from the Wapiti 
living in the Park, from which the picture was painted 
which was exhibited in 1863. It was in London that 



" to a par with that of night-robing animals." Let those who doubt 
this, try the yiasses I have named upon a Barn Owl after dusk. 
' 1S66. "Dr. R. O. Cunningham on the .Solan Goose." 



BOOK ILLUSTRATIONS 153 

a sketch was made of his Lordship's gigantic and 
notorious Red Deer head, well known (says Wolf) to 
be spurious even then. 

Returning for a while to the subject of Wolf's book 
illustrations, we find that he always refers to his 
relations with the Brothers Dalziel as satisfactory; and 
their name will be seen on many wood-cuts after his 
work which are as successful as we could expect any 
translations to be of such very difficult originals. By 
a good rate of remuneration (when they had the 
power to control it) and, like the Whympers, by pains- 
taking translation, they encouraged him when en- 
couragement was useful, and rarely if ever drove him 
to despair like some of the rank and file of the wood 
engravers who attempted his work. 

In 1858, and before he had left Rowland Street, 
he had taken part in illustrating a very pleasing 
edition of Thomson's Seasons. He also contri- 
buted rather more than forty designs to a series of 
modern poets published by Routledge, which appeared 
in the next decade ; namely, Wordsworth, Mont- 
gomery, Eliza Cook, Sacred Poetry, and Robert 
Buchanan's North Coast. There may, however, be 
others of which I am not aware. These volumes are 
distinguished by their singularly ugly exteriors, and by 
the tasteful care with which the text and the wood-cuts 
are printed and engraved — wood-cuts after the best 
known artists of the day. In Wolfs case, indeed, the 
engraving is sometimes as careful as any I have seen 



154 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

applied to his work, and some delicacies of tone and 
drawing have survived. 

Taking these volumes in the order I have named, 
we shall find in The Seasons three designs worthy of 
especial attention ; a Tiger stalking some Antelope ; 
a covey of Partridges ; and a horseman attacked by 
Wolves in a dreary pass of the Apennines or 
Pyrenees ; a weird, moonlight tragedy full of imagina- 
tion. The Wordsworth designs are less satisfactory, 
and contain two (the Hares and gambolling Lambs), 
which I can never bring myself even to tolerate. 
To me it is a relief to turn from these to the Kite's 
Eyrie in " The Deserted Cottage." Here, again, 
we get a glimpse of the artist's favourite mountain- 
ous landscape, with a few old firs clinging in 
despair to the precipice which gave them a wretched 
birth. 

In the Montgomery, our friend divides his atten- 
tion between such subjects as browsing Giraffes, or the 
slaughter of a Zebu by a Tiger, and simple English 
themes such as the nesting of our common birds. In 
the pretty illustration of " The Wild Pink," where, in 
the poem, the " blythe Swallow " builds on "yonder 
ledge of quarried stone," Wolf plants the "pert 
Sparrows" thereupon, but boldly substitutes a House 
Martin clinging to its nest beneath ; evidently being 
pretty confident that the general reader of poetry will 
be none the wiser. His love for butterflies (which 
sometimes crops up in unexpected places) is shown by 



BOOK ILLUSTRATIONS 155 

the introduction of a fine Peacock, basking on the wall 
close to the nest.' 

Passing over the Sacred Poetry (but commending 
it to the reader), we find in Eliza Cook's Poems a fine 
design illustrating the lines on the Ruins of Babylon, 
where an Eagle Owl screams at a couple of sleeping 
Jackals and arouses them. In the next we have 
the artist at his best. This represents a rookery in a 
fierce March gale. The birds (with which we are on 
a level), are rudely interrupted in their nesting, and 
balance themselves, swinging and swaying to and 
fro, while their plumage is roughened by the wind 
which drowns their " loud caw caw." 

This is not Wolf's only rookery, for (not to men- 
tion the little one in Johns' British Birds), he 
contributed a very pleasing version under the title of 
" Rebuildine," to The lihistrated London N'ews for 
April 8, 1871 ; the operations, both in the mansion 
below and trees above, going on as peacefully as in 
the other version they are disturbed. 

One other book. Lyrics of Ancient Palestine, must 
be added to the short list I have given, for the sake 



1 If we wish for a foil to the illustrations I have named we may 
find a ver^- perfect one in the Montgomery, by W. Har\ey ; a good 
example of a kind of illustration once common enough and probably 
admired enough, and not extinct even now. It is one of the illustra- 
tions of " Greenland " and gives the impression of some thirty badly 
stuffed and \ery doubtful made-up specimens of birds ha\ing been pinned 
quite indiscriminately to a sheet. The apostle of this school of bird 
caricaturists (we cannot call them ornithologists, or artists) is perhaps 
Giacomelli. 



156 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

of a solitary design of singular originality, " Sam- 
son's Riddle." The Lion's skeleton lies on its side 
beneath some bushes ; grim, and terrible, and perfect. 
The swarm of bees boils up through the staring ribs 
with such truth to nature that we can hear the loud 
hum with which they laboured the livelong day, till 
" out of the eater came forth meat." 

While admiring the foliage with which Wolf sur- 
rounds his animals, as we find it in these and other 
volumes, and the skill with which it is at once 
subordinated, and yet made essential to the principal 
object, we may not notice the occasional occurrence 
of the flowers or leaves of the large white con- 
volvulus. They appear like the butterfly, the spray 
of ivy, the bending reeds, and the acuminate 
or lanceolate foliage, because they are an especial 
favourite. Over and over again we meet with the 
white convolvulus among the studies in Wolfs port- 
folios ; and wherever he has settled down in London, 
plants of this or some other variety have been found 
climbing aloft. 

In 1861 Vix. P. H. Gosse hxoM^loxAVx's, Romance 
of Natural History. Now Wolf says this : — " People 
" have a fantastical belief in natural history — in any- 
" thing that is fantastical and marvellous. If you tell 
'• them the real truth they are not interested. If you 
" explain what appears marvellous to them, they no 
"longer care tor it. Hence the origin of books like 
" Du Chaillu's. ... I wish I had not given way to 



TRUTH AND PHANTASM 157 

" some authors by doing things as they wanted them 
" — untrue, hke the Gorilla throttling a negro with his 
" hind foot ; dragging him up a tree and strangling 
"him. Such untruth is awful! ... In the case of 
" animal life far in the world where I have never been, 
" to a certain extent I have been obliged to believe 
" what I have been told. I believed it if what I knew 
" and what I could see at the different Zoological 
" Gardens, did not contradict it. But, as I have said 
" before, there are very few people who can interpret 
''truly what they see in nature." 

The Gorilla subject is an illustration in The Ro- 
mance, and happens to be one of those in which, 
perhaps, the. prima, facie improbability does not offend 
Wolfs love of truth more than what he considers to be 
an exaggerated estimate of a wild animal's ferocity. 
In spite of this, and in spite of what he says, I think 
it is in accordance with the fitness of things that he 
should have been the author of most of the illustra- 
tions of this work. While despising the chimerical 
and fantastic side of natural history, and rebelling 
vigorously against its untruthfulness, he, once again, 
shows the nice balance of his mind and at the same 
time reveals his nature by revelling in the romance 
that is so real, in the poetry and glamour so unspeak- 
ably beautiful in Nature and her children. We 
should know little of his best, work if we failed to see 
its poetry ; and when was true poetry far distant from 
romance ? 



158 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

As has so often been the case with large-hearted 
and large-minded men, Wolfs mind is swayed not 
only by his intellect but by his affections. Simply 
altering the name, I cannot do better than apply to 
him the words I wrote of another artist. " Unless we 
" can believe that a man's mind may be divided into 
"two sharply-defined kingdoms or polities, the one 
"ruled by his impulses, aff"ections, and imagination, 
" the other by his intellect and reasoning power ; each 
" kingdom being distinct, and sometimes able to act 
" independently of the other, it is impossible to recon- 
" cile all we meet with " in studying Joseph Wolf and 
his work. 

For instance. In Winwood Reade's Savage 
Africa Wolf gives us a design the primd facie im- 
probability of which is quite as great as that of the 
Gorilla and Negro. Speaking of " A Flood in Sene- 
" gambia ' (the title of the wood-cut), Reade mentions 
that he had the story second-hand, and that : — 

" On this island [a few feet square] there were lying, huddled to- 
" gather, two Lions, a Leopard, some Monkeys and Hyeenas, two 
"Antelopes and a Wild Boar. All of these they killed without difficulty. 
" None of them took to the water. The Leopard only made an effort 
"to escape by running up a tree. This is certainly an improbable 
" story ; but to those who know how danger will stifle ferocity in wild 
" beasts, it will not appear impossible." 

This is a typical case. The one subject, an 
improbable and hearsay version of the ferocity and 
malice of a wild animal. Wolf detests. The other, 
also hearsay, and also improbable, he loves, because 



TRUTH AND PHANTASM 159 

the animals are in pitiful straits, and their natural 
ferocity is extinguished by their peril, so that they 
appeal to our sympathy. 

While he has never wilfully turned away from 
what he believes to be true (except when compelled 
to do so by the exigencies of illustrating). Wolf 
knows, full well, the rashness of asserting anything to 
be impossible ; and he is not so little-minded as to 
allow his innate reverence for truth to hobble him in 
the narrow paddock of possibility as fenced in by 
ignorance. 

His reason and his affections have kept one 
another within bounds ; with the result that his art is 
neither dull, prosaic, and matter-of-fact ; nor, contrari- 
wise, fantastical and mendacious. It is trite, and yet 
often, in the highest degree, poetic and romantic. 

Gosse mentioned three ways of studying natural 
history, " Dr. Dryasdust's," the Field Observer's, 
and the Poet's, but omits Joseph Wolfs, though more 
excellent than all. This is possible only in the excep- 
tional man ; for it unites a poet's imagination, keen 
susceptibility, and mental culture, with a naturalist's 
powers of close observation, and his sound inductive 
knowledge, leading up to the discovery of those 
immutable laws to which the strange, microscopic 
antics of a Rotifer anchored to an atom of pond- weed, 
are no less obedient than the body of the microscopist 
himself. 

In Sir James Emerson Tennent's Sketches of the 



i6o 



LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 



Natural History of Ceylon, published in 1861, will be 
found a good many of Wolf's designs. They can 
easily be distinguished ; and among the best of them 
are those representing newly-captured wild Elephants 
and their behaviour. The original sketches in ink 
outline are far superior to the wood-cuts, and are 
good examples of the vigorous artistic shorthand of a 




Mode of Tyixg an Elephant 

man whose knowledge of his subject is thoroughly 
sound. This is a work which every lover of natural 
history should try not only to place upon his shelves 
but to read carefully. 

In this and the preceding year, Wolf also illus- 
trated, either wholly or in part, some half-dozen books 
of sport, adventure and other subjects, none of which 
call tor any particular comment. 



JOHNS' "BRITISH BIRDS' 



i6i 



In 1862 another excellent work illustrated by 
Wolf was published, of quite a different kind. The 
Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge, by keep- 
ing Johns' British Birds in their Haunts in print for 
thirty-three years, have done their best to make it 
known to the public ; and it deserves to be known. 
The descriptive matter is free from wearisome 




His Struggles for Freedom 

facetiousness such as that of Morris, and is pleasant 
reading ; while it suffices for purposes of identifi- 
cation. 

The whole of the 190 illustrations were drawn on 
the wood by Wolf He says, " Some of them I took 
"a liking to, and took pains with ; but many were 
" done merely for the money." More than once I have 

M 



i62 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

heard him regret that the meagre price forced him 
to do the drawings rapidly (even as rapidly as half a 
dozen in a day), and secondly that many of them 
were simply " murdered " in the engraving. "In that 
" way," he complains, "having to do a thing cheaply, 
"many a work is spoilt. The artist has not got his 
" heart in it then. If you know that the employer not 
"only knows nothing, but cares nothing for the kind 
" of thing you are doing, it influences you very much." 

It needs but a glance, or, at the most, a com- 
parison with a few of Wolfs auto-lithographs of birds, 
to show how these drawings must have suffered ; but 
we shall find, nevertheless, that, in early copies,' the 
result is often very good. Probably with ample 
time, ample payment, and the best possible engraving, 
the wood-cuts would have been little miniatures fully 
equal in truth and minuteness of finish and more than 
equal in artistic beauty, to those which were painted 
many years ago at Moerz. The illustrations of the 
Birds of Prey and the Wildfowl seem to me par- 
ticularly happy ; and while the latter have been 
editorially alluded to in The Field as the best extant, 
the former speak for themselves as the work of a 
master of the scientific detail and the characters of the 
order. 

It has been my good fortune to go carefully 
through this book with the artist ; and some of his 
remarks may be of interest to the reader. To begin 

' The latest editions are worthless. 



JOHNS' ''BRITISH BIRDS'' 163 

with, he himself is satisfied, for various reasons, with 
the representations of the Birds of Prey, the Crested 
Tit, Tree Sparrow, Linnet, Bullfinch, Carrion Crow, 
Magpie, Lesser Spotted Woodpecker, Wryneck, 
Wren, Ptarmigan, Bustard, Woodcock, Coot, White- 
fronted Goose, Mallard, Lesser Tern, and a few 
others. He says one of his faults then was that he 
sometimes made the heads too big ; and he points out 
this defect in the Goldfinch, Yellow Hammer ("eye 
too far behind "), Woodlark, Spotted Flycatcher and 
Jay. The Song Thrush, he says, looks as if he were 
going to break a blood-vessel, and the Starling as if 
he were going to be sick. Of the Cuckoo he remarks 
that it never utters its note with an open beak as he, 
and half a hundred others have represented it, but 
produces it from the crop, like the Pigeons and 
Hoopoes. The Blackbird is not good because the 
beak is too far away from the eye. Of the Pied 
Wagtail, "The cows are bad. I did not brace myself 
" up. That might have been the third or fourth I had 
" done that day." The Long-eared Owl he likes, 
because it is a portrait of a pet bird he used to keep. 
Among the actions he explains, is the crouching 
attitude of the Skylark, which sees the bird of prey 
behind ; while the Pheasants are disturbed by poachers 
below. Always a friend to the friendless, he says he 
likes the Greenfinch because it is generally so de- 
spised ; but points out that to show its full beauty it 
ought to be painted in a copper beech. 



i64 LIFE OF JOSEPH. WOLF 

On my asking him why the Ducks appeared to be 
more finished than some of the other species, he 
replied that it is owing to the smoothness of their 
feathers. He merely had to put in the markings as 
he would on a bit of paper. 

If the Kite in Wordsworth's "Deserted Cottage" 
be compared with the Common Kite in Johns' British 
Birds, it will be seen that, save for the heads, the 
attitudes are nearly the same. It is obvious that, as 
the latter design had to be done hurriedly, there 
was a considerable temptation to make it more 
or less a replica of its predecessor. Yet we find 
that no two feathers are alike. Each bird is 
full of individuality and character of its own. Any 
touch of conventionality would have destroyed these 
(|ualities, and brought about a suspicious similarity 
between the two. This is a point which should be 
borne in mind in the study of this painter's works. 
" It was far easier," says Wolf " not to look at any- 
" thing else, not to think of anything else. That is the 
" only way in which you can keep that kind of thing 
"original." Even in those drawings which were done 
for T/ic Proceedings of the Zoological Society, where 
similar species recur, there is always sufficient, besides 
the mere markings, to keep them distinct. There is 
so strong an individuality as to amount to a portrait 
of the specimen ; and this in spite of the fact that, 
in some cases the only available model was a dried 
skin. 



BALDWIN'S ''AFRICAN HUNTING'' 165 

So completely are Wolf's bird designs creations as 
opposed to compilations, that in no single instance has 
he resorted to the expedient of propping up or suspend- 
ing a specimen in the given attitude, to draw from. 

No epitome of Wolfs work as an illustrator should 
omit three auto-lithographs out of the six by him 
in W. C. Baldwin's African H2t.nting} "An African 
Serenade " is imaginative to a degree which is diffi- 
cult to describe, because it deals, like several of the 
other illustrations, with that romantic side of nature, 
that thrills the mind, but is quite indescribable. On 
the far side of a wide pool the fires of a kraal flare 
and crackle in the midst of the black darkness — dark- 
ness which seems almost tangible. Round the fires 
the scared oxen are huddled ; for in the foreground a 
troop of hungry lions, indistinctly seen, pour out roar 
after roar which seem to make the air quiver and 
the water ripple. On the distant margin of the pool, 
and just discernible in the fire-light, a few curs im- 
potently defy the awful voices. All else (and herein 
lies the subtlety) is left to darkness, for the reader 
to fill up as he will. This design was chosen for one 
of the most impudent pieces of piracy among the 
many perpetrated on Wolfs work. It is the frontis- 
piece of a book published in 1868 under the title 
of Cats and Doe's, and has been altered so little 



' Bentley 1863. In the first edition of this book all mention of Wolf s 
work is omitted from the List of Illustrations ; and, on the title-page both 
his names are wrongly given. 



i66 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

that I have known a child of nine greet it as the 
original. 

Partaking in some degree of the same qualities as 
those of" An African Serenade," and thrilling as well 
as delighting the mind, "Night Shooting" takes its 
place among the smallest and the best of Wolf's auto- 
lithographs. A Rhinoceros has already dropped in 
its tracks to the hunter's rifle on the margin of the 
pool ; besides one or two other dimly seen animals. 
A huge Lion comes prowling round them, and, shot 
through the heart, vaults, with a great roar, high into 
the air, where he is seen against a faintly luminous 
sky. I have had this little lithograph hanging up, 
amongst works of other veteran artists, for several 
years ; and it seems to me (like all Wolf's works on 
my walls), to gam in beauty and suggestiveness 
literally every day. Some people who have seen it 
have remarked on the improbability of the greatness of 
the leap (forgetting the very low horizon), and a few- 
have been touched by the singular poetry of the subject. 

In the two designs I have just described (and in 
many others), the artist proves himself as notable a 
master of the Indefinite, and the glamour that lurks in 
the Indefinite, as, in other works, he shows an equal 
power over the Definite, even to the verge of photo- 
graphic minuteness. A third design is noteworthy as 
being the idealization of an African river-scene and as 
showing how Wolf will sometimes give his imagina- 
tion plenty of rein. The myriads of Flamingoes which 



WOOD'S ''NATURAL HISTORY" 167 

rise on the horizon in a dense cloud, and stand in 
pretty groups under the tangled reeds, emphasize the 
solid, repulsive hideousness of the Crocodiles and 
Hippopotami, which are drawn with great realism 
and care. 

We must pass by Wolfs illustrations in Mr. H. W. 
Bates' Nahtralist on the River Amazons with a mere 
glance ; but it was one of those works where artist and 
author were in harmony. Bates, in those wild regions 
which he described with such manly and self-denying 
accuracy, was keenly alive to the romantic splendour 
of nature and to the stupendous interest of nature's 
laws. Never shedding unnecessary blood, his unpre- 
tentiousness and humility were just such as would 
appeal to Wolf. 

The Rev. J. G. Wood's larger Nahtral History 
was in every way so well adapted to appeal to the 
dabblers in popular science, and the lovers of mar- 
vellous anecdotes of animals, that it has, I think, 
remained in print to the present time ; and belongs to 
that large class of books upon whose title-pages certain 
publishers prefer not to print the date. In early 
copies, thanks to the Dalziels' wisdom and liberality, 
will be found some excellent translations of our friend's 
designs — happy designs, because (knowing nothing 
of the anecdotes) he was allowed to unite scientific 
accuracy with artistic qualities in his own way. 

If a concise piece of evidence were wanted of Wolf's 
all-round ability in zoological art, as a draughtsman of 



i68 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

mammals, birds, and reptiles ; and as a skilled artist 
capable of facing great difficulties of composition, it 
would be found in the frontispieces of the first and 
second volumes of this book, and in the capital 
design in the third of " African Crocodiles at home." 
Although the species which are represented are so 
widely different, there are no signs of greater facility 
in drawing one order of animals than another. In 
the first volume (Mammalia) there are twenty-eight 
of Wolf's designs, besides the frontispiece, and 
in the second, twenty. At first sight the frontis- 
piece of the third suggests his handiwork ; but, 
like many more illustrations in this book and others 
in which they worked together, it was done by his 
friend Mr. J. B. Zwecker. At this time they lived in 
the same house ; and though ten years Wolf's senior, 
Zwecker (a native of Frankfort) was glad to avail 
himself of his countryman's help, and of several intro- 
ductions to publishers. It is said that his early studies 
had been devoted chiefly to the Horse, and that a 
certain " horsiness " may be discovered in his Ante- 
lopes. Nevertheless, his work appears to me clever, 
conscientious, and often both spirited and original. 

A friend who knows, perhaps, as much as any man 
of Wolf's large-heartedness and kindliness of disposi- 
tion has told me how Zwecker, when he was dying 
was indebted to his countryman's help and sympathy. 
He died, and was buried with the money Wolf gave 
lor that purpose. 



CAMPBELVS ''INDIAN JOURNAL'' 169 

Some of the Birds of Prey in the Nahiral History 
were done in Wolf's studio by Mr. J. Browne, a 
regular pupil of his. 

Among the books to which he contributed illustra- 
tions at this period (including Mr. A. R. Wallace's 
most notable Malay Archipelago), Col. Campbell's 
Indian Journal must certainly be included, if only 
for the sake of the frontispiece, which, in my opinion, 
is Wolf's finest Tiger. The great, supple brute 
crouches in dense shade beneath a rock, covered with 
tangled, flaunting creepers. He stares out fixedly into 
the sunshine with contracted pupils, and save for the 
tip of the tail which wags gently and so betrays his 
excitement, he bides his time. I speak of the tail as 
actually moving, and it does appear to move. The 
sleekness and beauty of marking are so happily super- 
imposed upon the tremendous muscular development ; 
the modelling and perspective are so faultless, that 
this auto-lithograph must always stand alone among 
the artist's work. Touching the other subjects. 
Col. Campbell says : — 

" I think much credit is due to the talented artist Wolf, for 
" having, with no other materials to work upon than my rough 
"sketches, aided by my descriptions, managed to produce such ad- 
" mirable portraits of the Sanibur, Bison, and Ibex, three animals 
"with which he was previously unacquainted, but which any Indian 
" sportsman will at once recognise. The Tiger, being an old friend, 
"he has treated as such, and, I think, done him ample justice." 

Of Wolf's connection with the illustrated periodicals 
I have no inclination to say much. It was a good 



lyo LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

sign that his work often appeared in them ; but how 
his drawings were engraved years ago, long before 
the days of any "mechanical process" save the most 
mechanical of any, the process of the cheap engraver, 
it is well not to enquire. I have seen many wood-cuts 
from The Illustrated London N^eivs, Once a Week, and 
other papers, that have little besides his initials to 
associate them with Wolf's work. This is another 
instance in which he appeared before the public at a 
great disadvantage. How great, we can see in an 
instant by comparing with the engravings any black 
and white drawing of his, or even an auto-lithograph 
done at that time. 

It can hardly be imagined that the "J. W." which 
appears in the corner of a glaring chromo-lithograph, 
or some sickly, vapid piece of colour-printing can be 
the hall-mark we are accustomed to find on the purest 
metal. 

There were, of course, some exceptions. For 
instance, it was in The Illustrated London Nezvs that 
one of the artist's most vigorous African subjects 
appeared. A magnificent Lion has seized a mon- 
grel from a caravan which has halted for the 
night : and as he is fired at from the waggon over 
a pool, he launches himself with a few enormous leaps 
towards the spectator and into the darkness. Some 
curs, with their tails between their legs, bewail their 
comrade ; and, by the glare of a flash of lightning 
added to the glint of fire-light, the whole picture — the 



ILLUSTRATED PERIODLCALS \ii 

plunging oxen, and the confusion of the camp — is 
clearly but momentarily seen. 

The sequel to this grim episode of African travel 
might have been doubtful if the artist had never 
drawn the companion subject which the reader will 
see. The hurried snap-shot told ; and in the beautiful 
morning twilight, far away from the scene of his last 
foray, the Lion lies, while the Vultures glide up one 
by one from the horizon, and settle cautiously round 
him, till they are sure that his sleep has no 
waking. 

A search among old numbers of The Ilhtstrated 
London News, Once a Week, The Leisure LLour, The 
Stcnday at Llome, and other periodicals will bring to 
light a good many engravings after Wolf all more 
or less wanting in the chief beauties of his workman- 
ship ; and some of them, such as Pheasant Shooting, 
in The Lllustrated, parodies so egregious that they 
can hardly have failed to do him actual harm. Under 
these circumstances, it is not extraordinary that when 
the victim saw an engraving after his work in a shop- 
window, he crossed over the road to avoid it. 

In The Sunday at Llome there appeared under 
the title of " A Tropical Bathing Place," the identical 
engraving, line for line, which afterwards took its 
place in an important and beautiful work to be 
presently noticed. Its first appearance was distin- 
guished by colour-printing of the most alarming kind ; 
a gratuitous stab at the artist's reputation among 



172 



LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 



those who knew not his unspeakable loathing and 



disgust at such crudities. 



A large proportion of the engravings after Wolf in 
TIic Illustrated represented the new or rare animals 
which were added, from time to time, to the Gardens 
of The Zoological Society. 




A Wii.u Cat 



HIS CHARCOAL DRAWINGS jy- 



CHAPTER V 



IN the two preceding chapters I have briefly re- 
viewed the scientific and illustrative sides of 
Joseph Wolf's work; which was done on wood 
or stone as the case might be, either by himself or 
translated by engravers and lithographic draughts- 
men in a way which he rarely found very satisfactory. 
Even the scientific work of this kind that he did 
himself was done, it seems, against the grain. He 
would not stake his reputation as an artist (a reputa- 
tion which he cherishes), on this phase of his art ; 
though, as a conscientious endeavour after truth, he is 
quite ready to "swear to it." As for his illustrations, 
though he regards them with more toleration, I think 
he is rather indifferent. He rarely, if ever, found 
men like Oswell, with whom he could work in perfect 
harmony, and he could never brook the insulting 
manner which a few authors thought fit to assume 
towards him. 

It is far otherwise with his large drawings in 
charcoal, charcoal-grey, or chalk (a considerable number 
of which were produced within the period we shall now 



174 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

have to consider), together with his more important 
achievements in water-colour and oil. It is unfortunate 
that the finest of these have not been seen and are not 
likely to be seen by the public, for it is on them that 
his fame as an artist should indisputably rest. Upon 
the best of them, any competent critic would doubtless 
agree that it would rest securely for all time. 

He says of his scientific work for The Proceedings 
and The Ibis, " I did it as I saw it." — as he saw it, that 
is, with the bodily eye. He might with equal truth 
say the same of the designs some of which I shall 
describe or allude to ; for before the charcoal touched 
the paper, they presented themselves clearly to that 
inner vision which is so distinct and so real in the 
imaginative man. 

Some of the most striking of his work, because 
of its complete freedom from restraint, and because of 
the use of his favourite material, charcoal, was done 
in connection with The German Athenseum. This 
Society was founded about 1869, and had a very 
unambitious origin. The members, numbering perhaps 
a dozen or a dozen and a half, included Wolf and 
others, who used to meet together in a quiet way in 
Hanway Street. There was a Scientific evening, a 
Lecture evening, a " Composition " evening, and a 
Musical evening ; the science and music and art being 
washed down with wine and beer in moderation, 
amidst clouds of tobacco-smoke. Owing to the advent 
of several good musicians, their special evening soon 



THE GERMAN ATHENjEUM 175 

assumed grand proportions, and the others were not 
far behind. At last the subject given out for the next 
"composition" was "Farewell to Hanway Street," 
and Wolf's version represented one of the members, 
Dr. Strlibing, grave and spectacled, with a fine large 
umbrella under his arm, turning out the gas for the 
last time. 

Having thus outgrown the old room, the Society 
migrated to permanent quarters in Mortimer Street, 
where the monthly " Composition " evenings soon 
rivalled those devoted to music. The subjects were 
often suggested by a lover of antithesis, which in 
some cases appears to have presented no difficulties to 
Wolf, though in others it forced him to design two 
separate subjects, as in the case of " Prosperity and 
Adversity." To bring these into contrast, he painted 
companion water-colours. In the first, two Goldfinches 
are shown in the midst of an abundance of hemp-seed, 
vigorously quarrelling. In the second, hunger and 
cold have settled their grievances, and they sit close to- 
gether on a dead thistle, while the snow falls around 
them. Sometimes, says Wolf, the subjects were so 
foggy that the artists could make nothing of them. 
It was otherwise with " Strength and Weakness,", 
which he brings into striking contrast by a playful fight 
between two huge Rhinoceroses in the jungle, close 
to an Indian Axis Deer, and two tiny fawns in the 
foreground. "Tame and Wild" shows a fight in 
earnest. A bull Buffalo, roaming across the prairie 



T76 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

with the herd, meets near a farmstead an unexpected 
adversary in a powerful domestic bull, who leaves his 
harem and dashes into a shallow pool to drive off the 
stranger. Touching this subject the artist says, " To 
" please the public it is necessary to show sympathy 
"with domestic animals, but I would rather show it 
" the other way — with wild animals, and I prefer to 
"represent them unpersecuted by man. . . . Man 
" has no business to be near wild animals." 

In " Repose and Restlessness," a few fat, lazy Sheep 
are dozing in the sun, while, in a thicket of tall thistles, 
a large flock of Goldfinches flutter, and hop, and spar, 
with restless small-bird energy, to the evident astonish- 
ment of an inquisitive lamb. The criticism has been 
made in my hearing by one of those artists who cannot 
look at a work of art without throwing back their 
locks and gesticulating with their right thumb, that 
there are too many Goldfinches ; that the subject would 
be improved by cutting down, and so on. To this it may 
be answered that Wolfs object has been exactly ful- 
filled through enhancing the feeling of repose, and 
conveying the idea of extreme restlessness to the eye, 
by the flutter of a large flock of little birds, although a 
flock of Goldfinches of such numbers may, in certain 
districts, be rare. 

One of the best of this series is " Surprise," where 
two Hares, foraging over the snow, encounter a wild- 
looking scare-crow, which seems to be solemnly warn- 
ing them with uplifted arms. It is a still, frosty night. 




Surprise. 



"■THE FIDDLER AND THE WOLVES'' 177 

yet some snow is dropping from these arms ; for 
crouched against the stake that supports the figure is 
a Fox, quivering with hungry excitement. 

"Joy and Sorrow" is another of the Athenaeum 
sketches. A group of Cranes are disporting themselves 
after their manner beneath the cloudy skies of Lap- 
land. Some of them caper in an ungainly dance 
among the cotton-grass, while others hail, noisily, an 
approaching detachment of their friends. One solitary 
bird, plunged into sorrow, mourns over his dead mate 
lying on her nest. 

"Youth and Age" shows us an old Red Deer 
stag teased with impunity by some calves, and butted 
at because his horns are in velvet. " Old Age," said 
the artist as I turned over the drawing, " didn't want 
to be worried ; and quite right too." 

"The Fiddler and the Wolves" is a striking 
moonlight subject, though a grim one. A poor 
musician, trudging through the forest from town to 
town, finds himself belated and surrounded. Despair 
suggests the old experiment of the effect of music on 
wild beasts. Never was such music ! The wails of 
the tortured fiddle are answered by a dreary, dreadful, 
long-drawn howl. One of the brutes puts up his 
hackles viciously, and another sits down fairly puzzled 
by the strange sounds. The fiddler's hat blows off, 
and then, suddenly, a string cracks. Still the wretched 
man plays on, till but one string is left. This is the 
time chosen by the artist. Another moment and the 

N 



lyS LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

last string may break ; the Wolves be choking over 
the clothes and licking the blood from the snow. 
The realism of the draughtsmanship of the animals' 
expressions and actions gives a painful excitement ; and 
our attention rapidly changes to and fro between the 
disabled fiddle and the menacing eyes upon which it 
is ill to look. 

A contrast to this episode is "Grave and Gay," 
in which a Long-eared Owl dozes in shadow, while 
some butterflies frisk about near him in the sunshine. 
That he might study the living insects. Wolf got some 
Swallow-tail chrysalids ; and he found the transforma- 
tion so interesting that his old enthusiasm revived 
after a forty years' interval, and set him to work in 
earnest. He has now a considerable collection of 
European butterflies, many of which he has bred ; and 
he has taken great delight in studying their combina- 
tions of colours. Like all he has done, this collecting 
has been done as well as possible. The insects are 
pinned and set quite up to an entomologist's standard. 
Mr. Charles Whymper tells me that not content with 
taking his net with him on his annual visit to the Con- 
tinent, and " like a boy chasing with ardour the Swal- 
" low-tail and Camberwell beauty, Wolf made his 
"own rearing-boxes with carefully arranged lamp and 
" thermometer, to keep all at the right temperature, 
" and was most successful in getting perfect specimens 
" from Indian and American chrysalids." 

The war of 1870 brought anxiety and sorrow, as 




Peacf, and War. 



'PEACE AND WAR' 



179 



well as exultation, to the members of The German 
Athensum. Wolf became the treasurer of a fund in 
aid of the German widows and orphans, and was 
rewarded for his hearty labours in the cause by being 
able to send out about 2,000/. 

Soon after the war was over he spent a fortnight 
in Paris with his friend Mr. D. G. Elliott, and they 
paid a visit to one of the battle-fields. As a result, he 
added to the series of antithetical designs, on his 
return, "Peace and War," an upright subject shaped 
like a grave-stone. A Turtle Dove mopes on a branch, 
mourning sore over her shattered nest. Just below 
her, and embedded in a clump of forget-me-nots and 
bluebells, lies a soldier's helmet illuminated by a ray 
of sunlight in which some butterflies take their plea- 
sure. The mourning of some bird over a destroyed 
nest is a favourite subject, and there are other versions. 

The butterflies are intended to typify a bright 
future beyond the grave, and were suggested by a cir- 
cumstance which happened some years before. I am 
indebted to Mr. A. Thorburn for the anecdote. Wolf 
had not been able to attend his father's funeral, but 
when he next went to Moerz he, of course, visited 
the grave. While he was there, a Red Admiral 
butterfly suddenly settled on the grave-stone and 
sunned itself The incident struck him much ; for the 
butterfly seemed, he said, like an emblem of the resur- 
rection. 

The only other design of W^olf's connected with the 



iSo LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

war of which I am aware was commissioned by The 
Graphic, and shows a trained Peregrine Falcon 
striking a Homer Pigeon which is carrying messages 
from Paris. It is one of those incidents touching which 
the artist is entirely sceptical. 

A good many examples of the humorous side of 
Wolfs art were from time to time exhibited at The 
German Athenaeum. Apart from their quiet fun, there 
is sometimes a touch of well-directed satire to be found 
here and there. These subjects of his are never silly 
and never broad or vulgar ; for of vulgarity in any 
form Wolf and his art are the antipodes — antipodes 
so absolute that if I were to try my hardest to recall a 
single instance of vulgarity I should try utterly in 
vain. 

Among many such subjects, I have chosen for repro- 
duction "A Lecture on Embryology," which bears for 
its inscription an old saying, " Highly learned makes a 
fool." In this design \A'olf girds gently at certain 
men of science he has met ; " Dry sticks," as a great 
ornithologist calls them, " who work with their noses 
a few inches from their desk." The Owl is supposed 
to be propounding to his audience the vital question 
" Came the first Egg from an Owl, or came the first 
Owl from an Egg ? " — a question Wolf himself is 
perhaps not prepared to answer offhand. Innumerable 
little embryos dangle in spirits behind the lecturer. 

Other instances of Wolf's humorous designs 
include a version of the Easle and Tortoise fable 




A Lecture on Embryology. 



"REYNARD THE FOX 



(where the reptile is not beyond the suspicion of 
taking the visage and the form of a corpulent fellow- 
member of The Athenaeum), and various versions of 
" Using a Donkey to catch a Goose." Here, the Fox, 



^ij^oMi 




,^-^^^^^teaS' 




^T^^uMffl^r 




I m^^^M 




ft/ m^^mA 






\ 


VKMMBBmSSSff^iBK 










i 







First Sketch for "A Lecture on Embryology" 

whose vast cunning Wolf never tires in illustrating, 
stalks a flock of Geese on a common behind a phleg- 
matic Ass, wrapped up in his own reflections. 

In this phase of Wolfs art should be included his 
designs to Reynm-d the Fox, which were etched by 



i82 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

other hands. It may not strike us at first, in looking 
at the original sketches, that they are a most notable 
example of the artist's power of making animals "do 
what he likes," as he expresses it. Regarded in this 
light they become a most interesting study ; and even 
if we prefer to see wild animals in a state of nature, 
and unhumanized, we shall have our admiration filched 
from us by some of the attitudes and expressions. 

There is even another point. The essential 
essence of Wolf's representations of wild animals, 
that which distinguishes them pre-eminently, is the 
total absence of the human element — the human ex- 
pression. " Men," he says, " have no business to be 
near wild animals" ; a simple observation on the face 
of it, but weighty if applied to his art. Here, in these 
sketches (to say nothing of certain other works of his), 
is a positive, unanswerable piece of evidence that, 
when he chooses, he can humanize his animals in 
expression, in action, in feeling, and every other way, 
to the greatest degree ; his skill enabling him to pre- 
serve, at the same time, the animal characteristics so 
perfectly, that the Hare, the Fox, Wolf, Lion, or 
Badger (as the case may be), are full of individuality. 
The question naturally arises, has any other animal 
painter ever existed who could simultaneously touch 
these points ? 

It is obvious that in a great deal of his scientific 
work, such as his drawings for The Procecdinzsoi The 
Zoological Society, The Ibis, and Elliott's Monographs, 



THE ZOOLOGICAL GAIiDENS 1S3 

besides certain of his book illustrations, Wolf had 
found the Society's Menagerie indispensable. "When 
" I first began," he says, " I had no ideas except 
" of European animals, but when I came to see the 
" splendid species in the different Zoological Gardens, 
" I changed my opinion."^ The Gardens in Regent's 
Park soon became his studio and recreation-ground. 
But there were many dangers lurking in the study 
of animals kept in confinement, to say nothing of 
the constant distractions. It takes a man some 
practice to be able to concentrate his attention on 
such difficult points as the anatomy and actions of half 
a dozen active Ratels, trotting round and round and 
round again, or climbing up the wire ; and to catch 
the unamiable expression of a misanthropic cat, when 
he is jostled by a crowd to whom an " artist chap " is 
a perennial wonder, always worth an extra shove or 
two. 

As a delicate hint to these people he tried the 
simple plan of stopping short, and drawing a Donkey's 
head or a Goose on the margin of his paper. He had 
found that a Monkey's head was too amusing, and 
defeated his object ; but a Donkey never failed to make 
the people retire " after they had digested the meaning 
of it " ; not all at once, he says, but gradually. 

As to the dangers which threatened him, his chief 

' " When I came over," he says, " there were perhaps only one or two 
" artists studying the animals at The Zoological Gardens. Now the whole 
" place is crammed with them." 



t84 life of JOSEPH WOLF 

protection lay in the following maxims, various versions 
of which he reiterates to this day : — 

"We only see distinctly what we know thor- 
oughly." 

" You must be able to interpret trttly what you 
see, and that only comes of intimate knowledge." 

" Not everything in nature is fit to be done. Only 
" a very small percentage. People make a mistake in 
"supposing that what is done from nature must be 
" right. A figure-painter would not take the first man 
" or woman he met in the street as a model. Only 
" very few are suitable." 

" All nature consists of individualities, and only the 
most perfect are fit to use." 

These opinions have no less an authority than 
Lord Byron to back them, who wrote : — 

"The poetry of nature alone, exactly as she appears, is not 
"sufficient to Ijear him [the great artist] out. The very sky of his 
" painting is not the portrait of the slcy of nature ; it is a composition 
" of different skies, observed at different times, and not the whole 
"copied from Miy particular day. And why? Because nature is 
" not lavish of her beauties ; they are widely scattered, and occa- 
" sionally displayed, to be selected with care, and gathered with 
" difficulty." ' 

In addition to those useful convictions of his I have 
quoted, Wolf was aware that even the finest menagerie 
animals are not always to be depended on as correctly 
representing the same species in a wild state. In 
close confinement the muscles are comparatively 
undeveloped ; while, sometimes, parts of the coat, 

' Pamphlet on Pope. 



THE ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS 185 

such as the Lion's mane, grow to an unnatural 
length/ 

" First of all you have to study when a bird is in a 
" fit and perfect condition to be drawn from properly. 
" That you must learn first, or else you will get into all 
" sorts of messes, and you will get Zoological-Gardens 
"birds. . . . To find all the real arrangement of the 
" feathers (which you very rarely see at The Zoological 
" Gardens), you must see a wild bird. When you once 
"learn it you can do it rapidly." A good deal, of 
course, is involved in what Wolf means by " seeing " 
a wild bird and "learning" the " real arrangement." 
What he actually did, long before he ever heard of the 
labours of Nitzsch '' or Sundevall, was to spend years 
in the closest study of the external characters ot birds, 
besides mastering their habits. Consequently, he says, 
when at last he read Sundevall's writings, he found in 
them nothing that was new to him. 

His labours in The Gardens were carried on at all 
times and seasons, and were not confined to summer, 
or even to daylight. At one time he was to be seen 
standing in the snow, elaborating with frozen fingers 
and his favourite split brush a Vulture's head. At 
another, he was patiently watching, by candle-light, the 
movements of strictly nocturnal animals, such as the 
Galagos, and Lemurs, and the Aye Aye. Then you 

' See Sir Samuel Bakers Wild Beasts and their Ways. 

^ I am indebted to Professor Newton's kindness for an explanation of 
the meaning and great import of " Pterylosis." Of Nitzsch we may read 
in the article on Ornithology in The Encyclopcedia Britannica. 



i86 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

found him vis-a-vis with a small South American 
monkey whose intensely human face is troubled, and 
hastily averted when the artist glances at it. Much 
finesse is required to secure that monkey's expression 
(the expression of a man of business whose affairs are 
not prospering) ; and finally, in deep disgust and dis- 
pleasure it creeps into a corner, and hides its head, fur- 
tively peeping when its persecutor's eyes are turned 
down upon his paper. 

For the most part Wolf has rarely troubled himself 
to sketch animals in motion ; and in looking over his 
innumerable studies from life, even the most rapid, it 
will at once strike us that the greater part of the animals 
are either in quiet action or in repose. If we call to 
mind Mr. Dresser's most interesting anecdote of the 
first interview with Professor Schlegel, we shall see 
the reason for this. 

With a phenomenal power of observation and 
memory for detail, it has sufficed for Wolf to watch 
moving animals closely without distracting his atten- 
tion by pencil and paper. Speaking of the Lemurs he 
said to me recently, " Those things are in action only 
" at night, and you can't draw them while they are 
" moving about. The fact is, you must know \kyftstrtu- 
" turc of the animal, and then you must learn to make 
"it do what you like. That is hard work. You 
" must not see the animal when you want to do him 
"in action. You must become an ' Impressionist' 
" then, and do your work from the impression you 




THF. liASHKUI. MO.N'KKV. 



THE ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS 187 

' formed when you saw the animal in motion, and 
' from knowledge, for you can't have a right im- 
' pression unless you know.. Then, by your knowledge 
' of its structure, you ought to be able to do rapidly 
• what you saw. Then you come again to what I 
' want you to put on our title-page. ' You only see 
' what you know.' I recollect I told another zoological 
' artist that, and he kept repeating it. ' Very true ! ' 
' he said. You look at things with the intention of 
' remembering. When the things are flying about 
' your ears, how can you sketch ? You look at them. 
' The artists who only study in academies (first from 
' the Antique, and then from the Life), have not the 
' slightest idea how / had to study. They have always 
' said to me, ' How did you manage to do that ? ' " 

Again, " When I go to The Zoological Gardens, I 
' can look at the animals like other people ; but if it 
' occurs to me that I should like to draw them, they 
' appear to me entirely different. The artist does not 
' see the animals as other people see them. The more 
' you know the things the better you see them." 

Wolf paid frequent visits (not altogether of a dis- 
interested nature), to certain fine animals with whom 
he was accustomed to have a chat, and who knew him 
well ; and he did not forget a friendly shake of the paw 
with a young Lion whose portrait is one of the most 
successful water-colour studies he has done. But, 
usually, he has found the little Monkey no exception to 
the rule that animals dislike being continuously looked 



i88 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

at. Once, for example, forgetful of all else, he was 
studying a Tiger's stripes, when the owner, equally for- 
getful of the bars, charged at him with an indignant 
roar. " He let the other people pass," says Wolf, " but 
" my constantly looking at him he didn't like. It must 
" be a kind of mesmeric power which irritates the 
" animal." 

Wolfs labours were not confined to living or healthy 
specimens ; and many a dying or dead rarity has been 
restored to vigorous life by his pencil, before it was 
further immortalized by the Prosector. 

He possesses among his relics a copy of Professor 
Owen's monograph of the Gorilla (for The Transac- 
tions), thus inscribed, "To the 'Artist' from the 
" ' Author.' " " I was glad," says the latter, " to receive 
" the aid of the graphic skill of Mr. Joseph Wolf in 
" securing the characteristic outline views given in 
"Plate XLVi." The "outline views," unlike the two 
fine drawings of the adults, are rather ghastly ; being 
made from a hideous baby Gorilla exhumed from a 
cask of spirits with his " external characters " in a 
somewhat dilapidated condition. 

These drawings were made in 1864, at a time when 
everything connected with the great ape was still 
shrouded in mystery and romance. " The first 
" authentic information which I received of its exist- 
" ence," writes the Professor, "was by a letter from 
" Dr. Sharpe, dated Gaboon River, West Africa, 
"April 24, 1847, enclosing a sketch of the cranium. 



THE ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS 189 

" ... In December 1847 I received from Bristol 
" two skulls of the full-grown male. . . ." 

In The Proceedings, thirteen years later (1877), 
we read that " Mr. Sclater " exhibited " the very beau- 
tiful chalk drawing by Mr. Wolf" from a photograph 
of another baby Gorilla. The drawing is a large one 
in charcoal, and hangs at Hanover Square. 

Wolf has not much faith in travellers' adventures 
unless they are men of the stamp of Andersson and 
Oswell, who were not ashamed to confess to a clean 
miss ; and he laughs quietly to himself over the marvel- 
lous shooting, and the marvellous ferocity of the beasts 
which are always killed by " a well-planted shot." Few 
things please him better than to read such remarks as 
those of Winwood Reade in Savage Africa, on Du 
Chaillu's stories ; or to tell you of the singular circum- 
stance that most of the skins of the Gorilla killed in 
the fearful breast-beating charge, have the wounds in 
the back.' 

His long-standing friendship with the Staff, and with 
Mr. Bartlett (besides the fact that he is a Fellow of 
the Society), gave him advantages in his work at the 
Gardens. He witnessed or heard all about many excit- 
ing incidents of which the public knew nothing. Now 
and then, too, an experiment could be tried to prove 
or disprove some doubtful habit. For example. Wolf 

1 In The Royal Natural History we read that these wounds were 
caused not by Du Chaillu, but by the weighted spears which the natives 
set for the animal. 



igo LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

was once of opinion that all animals laid back their ears 
before biting. To test this, he and a friend, hardening 
their hearts, took a live Rabbit in a bag, and paid a visit 
to the Common Fox. On the release of the prey, the 
Fox made a quick snap at the hind quarters as it 
rushed by. " Then he worked forwards towards the 
" neck by a series of bites, but the whole time kept his 
" ears well forward. He looked Satanic — beastly, you 
" know ! " 

Possibly the difference in the position of the ears 
depends on the dangerous or harmless character of the 
prey or enemy. In biting the Rabbit, the Fox knew 
that there was no clanger of any kind, and further- 
more, his attention was no doubt distracted a little by 
the spectators in front of him. In biting a Dog, on 
the other hand, the ears might be laid back out of 
harm's way, as Darwin says is the case with all ani- 
mals which fight with their teeth. ^ 

" A Deer," says Wolf, " in defending itself will lay 
" back its ears. Even Roe Deer, the most harmless 
" and sott-looking creatures, look furious when they 
" do this — a caricature of themselves. When you put 
" it on canvas, where it perpetually stares at you, it 
" gets unbearable. Altogether, you have to take care 
" not to introduce extreme expressions, which in 
" reality only last a moment." 

While the incident of the Fox and Rabbit was still 
iresh in his memorv, Wolf made a large charcoal 

^ Exp7'ession of the Emotions^ chap, iv., p. iii. 



THE ZOOLOGICAL GARDENS 191 

sketch, exactly embodying what he had seen ; but 
with a different bacl<ground. It is characteristic that, 
on my finding this sketch one day, and asl-:ing his 
leave to reproduce it, he should have demurred. All 
animal suffering is so repugnant to him, and he so 
keenly sympathizes with the sufferer, that the incident 
has haunted him. He has drawn the animals of prey 
at their work times out of number, though always with 
the keenest sympathy for the victim ; but this particu- 
larly realistic and careful sketch was rolled up and 
hidden away, till, years afterwards, I accidentally dis- 
covered it. 

For the melancholy effects of the London atmo- 
sphere on the plumage and coats of the outdoor 
captives in the Gardens, it needed not Wolf's know- 
ledge to allow. He said to me once, " There is a 
'■ White-headed Eagle at the Gardens now ; but, 
"would you believe it! there is no real white about 
" him. All London soot, and quite dark." 

It was not only for the sake of the animals that 
he loved to haunt The Zoological Gardens, but largely 
for the sake of the flowers. Of late years, when the 
gardening became more elaborate, he might often be 
seen, placidly smoking, while he chatted with the men 
at their work, or dwelt with loving eyes on some 
clump of convolvulus or evening primrose, or mag- 
nificent gigantic hemlock. The Lions might roar 
their loudest without diverting his attention from a 
study of a fine piece of foliage. Indeed his sketch- 



192 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

books contain occasional gleanings from trees in the 
Park outside. 

Another never-faihng attraction was that fascinat- 
ing Insect House, where the hfe-history of so many 
splendid species may be studied. Of this place he 
has, to this day, never tired ; and of its surplus riches 
in the shape of pupae he has sometimes availed him- 
self, breeding the huge tropical moths as enthusi- 
astically as a schoolboy. 

Another favourite and very profitable place of 
resort for our friend was Kew Gardens ; and there, as 
i« proved by his sketches, he accumulated much of the 
material which he used in the foliage of his foreign 
compositions. 

To what extent his imagination came into play in 
the use he made of this material it is scarcely neces- 
sary to refer. He quaintly observes, " If you have 
" two twigs, you know, you have enough for the rest 
"of your life." An observation of great significance, 
if rightly understood. 

To have been in any way associated with Charles 
Darwin is an event in a man's life. Early in 1871 
Darwin was preparing the materials for his Expres-- 
sions of the Emotions in Man and Animals (published 
in the following year), and mentioned to Mr. Bartlett 
his wish to have some work done at The Gardens 
which required unusual care. The Superintendent 
spoke of Wolf's accuracy and closeness of observation 
in high terms, and in due course introduced the two 




MONTEJRO'S CiA.:.AGO. 



THE LAUGHING MONKEY 



'93 



men to each other. Darwin, with a view to that 
section of his fifth chapter deahng with "Astonish- 
ment" and "Terror" in Monkeys, caused a Hving 
fresh-water Turtle to be placed in one of the cages. 
Wolf's account of the incident is this : — " One of the 
" Turtles was put into a covered basket, and the 
"keeper was asked to place it carefully under a heap 
" of straw which was in the cage. Whilst that was 
" being done, the Monkeys suspected something and 
" kept looking down from on high. Clever fellows ! I 
"shall never forget that. The keeper then retired, 
" and presently the heap of straw began to move. 
" The Turtle came out, and instead of showine fear 
" the Monkeys crept nearer. Then the Black Crested 
" Ape [Cynopithecii.s niger\ came and looked at it, 
"and walked in front of the Turtle as it crept after 
" him. Finally he went and sat on the Turde." 
Darwin was much amused, and asked for a drawing 
of the incident. 

At this time, Wolf began to suffer from the chronic 
rheumatism which has troubled his later years ; and 
therefore he was delayed in completing Darwin's 
commissions. After a while he received the following 
letter : — 

Down, Beckenham, Kent: March 3, 1S71. 

Dear Sir, — You said that you would be so kind as to en- 
deavour to make a sketch for a wood-cut of a monkey's face when 
laughing, as the keepers express it. The Barbary ape would have 
been incomparably the best, but is dead. I found, however, in the 
Zoological Gardens a species that does fairly well, viz. the Cyno- 

O 



194 



LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 



pithicus )iiireroi Celebes, though it unfortunately has permanent trans- 
verse wrinkles on the face. It can be easily caught, and Mr. Bartlett 
said could be put in a separate cage to be drawn. There ought to 
be a drawing of the face when tranquil and the mouth closed ; and 
another of the same size and in the same position, whilst laughing. 
When Sutton the keeper allows this monkey to play with his hair, it 
chuckles or laughs, and keeps moderately still. The face then 
becomes a good deal wrinkled, and as far as I could see under dis- 
advantageous circumstances, the skin is especially raised and wrinkled 
under the lower eyelids. When I asked Mr. Bartlett whether he 
thought you could possibly draw the laughter of so restless an 
animal, he answered that " Mr. AVolf has got an eye like photo- 
graphic paper, it will seize on anything ! " 

I enclose the size of my page for any figures. 

Also a drawing of a leopard which (excepting that the mouth is 
here more widely opened) shows fairly well the appearance of a cat 
when savage, and not at all frightened, as I have occasionally though 
rarely seen. 

I hope to get a photograph of Herring's picture of a savage 
horse and another of a pleased one. Your willingness to assist me 
as far as lies in your power has relieved me from much difficulty. 
— Dear Sir, Yours very faithfully, Ch. Darwin. 

Wolf afterwards received other letters referring, in 
Darwin's habitually courteous terms, to eleven sketches 
of Dogs, Cats, and Monkeys he had sent him. Two of 
the latter were rather badly engraved in The Expres- 
sions ; both being heads of Cynopitheciis niger. I have 
reproduced one of the series of sketches (made from the 
living animal) which was retained by the artist, repre- 
senting the " Laughing Monkey." 

" I have already had occasion to remark," says Darwin, " on the 
" curious manner in which two or three species of Macacus and the 
" Cyiiopithecus niger draw back their ears and utter a slight jabbering 
" noise, when they are pleased by being caressed. With the Cyno- 
"pithecus (fig. 17), the corners of the mouth are at the same time 



THE LAUGHING MONKEY 



I9S 



"drawn backwards and upwards, so that the teeth are exposed. 
" Hence this expression would never be recognised by a stranger 
" as one of pleasure. The crest of long hairs on the forehead is 
" depressed, and apparently the whole skin of the head drawn back- 
" wards. The eyebrows are then raised a little, and the eyes assume 




The Laughikg Monkey 



"a staring appearance. The lower eyehds also become slightly 
" wrinkled ; but this wrinkling is not conspicuous, owing to the 
" permanent transverse furrows on the face." 

On showing the reproduction of his sketch of this 
Monkey to Wolf, he said, " I never beheved that that 
" fellow was laughing, although Darwin said he was. I 



O 2 



196 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

"am not one of those who place absolute behef in all 
" authority." This I have no doubt the reader will 
have discovered for himself Wolfs mind, so to speak, 
is to some extent rationalistic ; and, as I have pointed 
out, not only are there many incidents in natural history 
he has had to depict which he scouts as unreliable (such 
as a cat suckling a mouse),' but he would not allow the 
opinion even of a great naturalist to convince him, 
simply because it was so. It might be said of him 
what has been said of Freeman the historian, "... 
"he is sometimes surprised to find how entirely he had 
"thought things out for himself and that he could not 
" attribute his opinions to the direct infiuence of any 
" one man, however eminent." It is the old story of 
the self-made man who has spent a laborious life in the 
making ; whose slowly-acquired knowledge may be 
compared with the pure metal produced first of all 
by the miner's patient toil, and then by careful refining, 
rather than with the current coin smoothed by a 
thousand hands and still handed on. This strortg inde- 
pendence of thought and belief is a great characteristic 
of Wolf In times of old it might have made him 
a leader of men, as, in his own day, it enabled 
him to fight his way upwards from the farm-yard, to 
inaugurate with his own hands and mind the greatest 
renaissance in zoological art that has ever been known. 
He says, " I haven't got that sense of excessive 
" veneration for great men. I don't believe in it. 

> Once a Week. 



ON HERO-WORSHIP 197 

" When you get to know them you find that they are 
" faUible. Some of the great scientific men have been 
" very unhappy creatures ; soured, if they were ever so 
" successful. Some are haughty and unapproachable, 
" and those I never went near." 

He is fond of a certain story bearing on hero- 
worship, which I will repeat in his own words. "A 
" young student ivalked from a distant university to 
"Weimar to see Goethe ; who, thinking it a nuisance 
" to be interviewed, stood upright for the front view, 
"and when he had taken in that, for the side and the 
" back. ' Well done, Herr Geheimerrath ! How 
" much will that be ? ' said the student, putting his 
"fingers into his waistcoat pocket. Goethe saw that 
" he had made a mistake." 

Darwin occasionally called upon Wolf in Berners 
Street, who says that his visitor " was not like many 
"great men who would put you down with a look or a 
" sentence. A child might have talked to that man. 
" He was wonderful in that respect." 

Now amoncr the artist's birds at that time was a 
particularly tame piping Bullfinch, which had learned, 
among many accomplishments, to distinguish the note 
of his master's bell from the others. At the first tinkle, 
he would fly to a chair-back near the door of the studio, 
where he would sit and bow and pipe to a favourite 
visitor, but would attack any person he mistrusted. 
One day Darwin called ; and the Bullfinch, not liking 
the look of his long white beard, flew straight at it. 



198 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

"pulling with all his little might, while the old man 
laughed and chuckled." 

We have now reached a time when, by means of 
the reviews of what is called a "gift-book," Joseph 
Wolf was brought suddenly and prominently before 
the public ; but in some of these reviews, just as if 
he were making his di^but as an artist ! 

Mr. Edward Whymper says that, years before, 
when he first turned over his friend's portfolios, he had 
been as much "astonished and delighted by the origi- 
" nality of his conceptions, as by the profound know- 
" ledge which was displayed in his studies of almost 
" every branch of animal life ; and but a short time 
" elapsed before I endeavoured to induce him to execute 
" a series of designs which should give some idea of 
" the wealth of his stores and the range of his pencil." 

Mr. D. G. Elliott, cordially admiring Wolf's work 
not merely from a scientific point of view, but on ac- 
count of its artistic beauty, was delighted to undertake 
the descriptive letter-press. The descriptions were 
written after the desigfns were made, and the artist 
had nothing whatever to do with them, but took his 
own time and followed his own bent ; retaining the 
originals. 

At the end of 1873 the book was published by 
Macmillan, under the title of The Life and Habits of 
Wild Animals, and it met with a perfect ovation from 
the press. Indeed, there cannot have been far short 
of fifty highly eulogistic notices. A score or so that I 




TlIK \'AHIEf;.\IKI) Sl'lDKK MuNKEV. 



WILD ANIMALS" 



199 



have read are unanimously enthusiastic ; a few are 
exceptionally discriminating and appreciative, and 
several are somewhat ludicrous. The authorship of 
The Genera of Birds, for instance, is attributed to Asa 
Gray by one reviewer ; who, since he rejoiced exceed- 
ingly over Giocomelli's illustrations to Michelet'si?m/, 
has seen nothing else to compare with Wolf's designs ! 
Another alludes to a wounded Hare and Hooded 
Crows as a subject where " a Rabbit becomes the prey 
of half-a-dozen Hawks " ; an Eagle Owl and Rabbit 
are described as "a Hare bolting into its hole under- 
" neath a tree-root to escape from the impending talons 
"of an Eagle" ; and a Lynx in ambush above some 
Goats is " ready to drop clown from a tree on to the 
Deer below " ! 

One of the best of the other class of critiques is 
that in The Field, which runs as follows : — 

" On perusing some of the notices which have already appeared 
" of this work, we have been struck with nothing so much as the way 
"in which the respective reviewers have introduced Mr. Wolf to the 
" public, as if he were a new aspirant for academic honours, 
" apparently overlooking the fact that he has been working in our 
" midst for the last thirty years, during which time, in depicting 
"animal life, his pencil has been one of the busiest. 

" At a time when the hearts of Englishmen are still mourning the 
" loss of their great painter, it may seem invidious to draw com- 
" parisons between Landseer and Joseph Wolf ; but from a careful 
" study of their respective works we have long since been of opinion 
"that, of the two, iVIr. AVolf has proved himself immeasurably 
" superior. Not only has he worked in a much larger field, depict- 
"ing by turns the animals and birds of all countries, but his ac- 
"quaintance with the habits and actions of wild animals, from 



200 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

" personal observation, has enabled him to trace their forms upon 
" canvas with a fidelity to nature which, in our opinion, has never 
" been excelled. In artistic and scientific circles this has long been 
" admitted ; and if, as it would seem, Mr. AVolf is not so well known 
" to the general public as he deserves to be, we can only surmise that 
" it is because he has never had time to exhibit. . . . Lest we may 
"be thought to be according undue praise, we shall invite the 
"attention of the reader to some of the numerous productions of his 
" pencil, which, viewed with the critical eye of the naturalist, must 
" always be regarded with favour. . . . ^^'e have said nothing about 
" the many large works which have passed from the easel to the private 
"cabinets of those who know well how to appreciate them, because, 
" although we have had the privilege of seeing many of them, the 
"public have had no opportunity, as with the exhibited works of 
"other artists, to judge of their merits. . . ." ' 

We have here a view of Wolf's work as expressed 
by a skilled hand writing for naturalists and country 
gentlemen. I will add a few words written by the 
critic of The Art Journal- for another class of 
readers : — 

" Rarely, if ever, have we seen animal life more forcibly and 
"beautifully depicted than in this really splendid volume. As a 
" painter of the untamed beasts of the forest and the wild feathered 
" tribes of the air, Mr. A\'olf has long made himself conspicuously 
"known in this country, and in this scries of illustrations he seems 
" to have put forth all the power of his art to produce a variety of 
" pictures of the most attractive kind. They are far more than the 
" mere representations of certain phases of natural history ; they are 
" highly picturesque scenes in which the animal or the bird [sic] 
"is a principal actor." 

In The Times ^ we read : — 
"These drawings well exhibit the marvellous skill with which be 
" [^\'olf] depicts not only the outward forms, the fur and hair and 



Jan. 3, 1S74. -■ Jan. iS, 1S74. 

■' December, 1873. 



" WILD ANIMALS" 201 

" feathers of the animal kingdom, but the very soul and character of 
" the wild creatures which inhabit them. [' That,' said Wolf as I 
"read him this passage, 'is what I have always been striving to do.' 
"Anybody can say 'This is a Tiger,' 'This is a Dove.'] The 
" subjects of his pictures are chosen with artistic skill, and each one 
" of them testifies to a close study and accurate knowledge of the 
" habits of birds and beasts. ... As we close this exquisite volume, 
" we cannot help thinking what pleasure it would have given to Sir 
" Edwin Landseer to turn over its pages." 

It was thus, without an exception, that Wolf's 
workmanship in the IVild Animals was received by 
the Press. Also without an exception, the share the 
Whympers had in the result is spoken of with the 
highest praise, and not unjustly. T/ie Art Journal 
says : — 

" To Messrs. Whympers' engravings, too high praise cannot be 
"given. Long as our experience has been of wood engraving as 
" practised both in England and on the Continent, we remember 
" never to have seen work surpassing these examples for tone and 
" colour, softness and briUiancy. Solid, but without the hardness of 
" some of the best modern French wood-cuts, . . . they combine free- 
" dom of handling with the greatest delicacy of execution. There is 
" scarcely one of the whole number which is not a fine example of 
" the art." 

The engravings, in fact, certainly go as far towards 
the faithful rendering of the artist's work as was then 
possible under the best conditions. How far this is, 
can only be gauged by a careful comparison of the 
original drawings (still in the artist's possession), with 
the wood-cuts ; and in making this comparison many 
times, I have not been blind to the exquisite technical 
qualities and the skill shown in the latter. 

I have pointed out that the quality of mystery 



20? LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

which forms so important a factor in the romance of 
nature exists in many of Wolf's works, and in some of 
the originals of the Wild Animals it is particularly 
attractive. Here, of course, lay a good, substantial 
stone of stumbling for the engravers. As we look at 
the drawings, we gradually forget the existence of the 
paper, and the chalk, and even the great manipulative 
skill. We have donned an invisible coat, and we are 
alone in the ancient forest, or the moonlight (or now 
and then in the sultry tropical glare), with nature's wild- 
est children. Our eyes, as it were, get gradually ac- 
customed to the conditions and surroundings. The 
romance, or the terror, or the splendour of the scenes 
grows upon us little by little, and intensifies slowly. 

Now, speaking of the engravings, one reviewer 
praises their "marvellous distinctness," another is de- 
lighted with their " clearness," and a third complacently 
observes, '"Every plate tells its story luithoitt any 
obscurity y Here, neatly expressed in eight words, 
we have the chief cause of the difference between the 
best of the drawings and the engravings, and of the 
unmistakable inferiority of some of the latter. One or 
two are undoubtedly superior to the originals, as 
Wolf points out ; but, in a certain proportion, the 
beautiful semi-obscurity of nature — the atmosphere 
which intervenes between the near and the distant, 
giving to each its relative value and reality, have been 
injured. Whatever the artist intentionally left as 
doubt or suggestion (in moonlight, for instance, or the 




Allen's Galago. 



ENGRAVERS AND MYSTERY 203 

gloom of the forest), has become unequivocal fact, and 
every fact is, to a certain degree, emphasized. It is, 
as it were, an absolutely faultless recital on a faultless 
piano, compared with the notes of some siren or mer- 
maiden of old, so remote that the mariner's imagination 
strove almost painfully to link together the fragments 
of the uncertain melody. 

In Wolf's own words, " Engravers cut out all the 
" mystery — that which makes the picture. I assure 
*' you that when I received the first proofs of the Wild 
''Animals, though I had done the drawings on the 
" wood myself, I found that the original scheme of light 
" and shade was gone altogether, and I had to concoct 
"a different arrangement. I had put in work which 
" was not understood." 

It is much to be regretted that in doing these 
drawings on the wood, and all else destined for the 
engravers (even such engravers as the Whympers), 
Wolf did not study the kind of manipulation best 
suited to translation, and settle in his mind before he 
took up his pencil how many of those mental and 
technical refinements he revelled in would ine\'itably 
have to be sacrificed by any process of reproduction. 
He made the then common mistake of supposing the 
existence of some of his own peculiar knowledge in 
the engraver ; and of imagining that the engraver's 
tools could render faithfully, even in the most highly- 
skilled hands, his delicate gradations, melodious light 
and shade, and extraordinary niceties of modelling 



204 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

and draughtsmanship. For all the suffering brought 
about by this want of experience in adapting his work, 
he had no consolation. 

I am not so ignorant and presumptuous as to dare 
to depreciate the beautiful art of wood-engraving ; 
or so blind as to do otherwise than most cordially 
admire much of the exquisite handiwork of the 
Whympers, and some of the elite of the engravers. 
Nor am I blind to the sparkle, richness, and vigour 
which, except in the old-fashioned etching, is found 
nowhere so captivating as in the best wood-cuts by the 
best hands. Still the fact remains that, partly through 
the want of calculation and forethought on the part 
of the painter in adapting his work, and through the 
engraver's inevitable want of training in the more 
abstruse refinements of original art (sometimes from his 
persistence in tradition, and to a certain extent from 
the nature of the tools he employs, not to mention 
other causes), wood-engraving, as applied to such work 
as the best of Wolf's and its kind, has failed on the 
whole to render it truthfully. It has not failed in a 
slight degree. It has failed so signally that, again and 
again the artist has suffered torture. 

In spite of the violent denial often fiung at like 
statements, and the hap-hazard railing of many a pre- 
judiced painter, it may, nevertheless, be safely main- 
tained that first-rate " process " work, judiciously follow- 
ing equally first-rate photography by artistic and skilful 
men, has succeeded and succeeds every day just where 



FJiOCESS WORK 205 

wood-engraving has been found, over and over again, 
to fail. I do not deny that it often fails where engrav- 
ing succeeds. 

Process work has the misfortune to be cheap, and 
it also has the misfortune to be (to a certain extent) 
mechanical. Therefore, according to the words of the 
prophets, it Is unspeakably vile. They shut their eyes 
to all that even the best wood-engraving has failed to 
do, and to that which the worst has done execrably — 
to all that the best process has achieved ; and, with 
praiseworthy logic, compare the workmanship of the 
finest and costliest wood-engraving in the world, with 
a third-rate process block made from a fourth-rate 
photograph, at a shilling or so a square inch. 

Copies of the original edition of the Wild Animals 
are rather scarce ; but with few of Wolfs illustrations 
have publishers made more free. The copyright 
has passed from hand to hand, and I am told that the 
designs have been reproduced in Germany, France, 
Russia, and Switzerland. The whole twenty have 
been republished side by side with another artist's 
compositions, under the curious title of VP^iId Animals 
and Birds} Not only have Elliott's descriptions of 
Wolf's designs been excluded from this volume ; but 
others have been substituted which are ludicrously 
malapropos. For example, in " The Hairbreadth 

^ Cassell, 1882. In this \olume will also be found reprints from the 
engravings of the Polar Bear and Snowy Owls, and the Wild Cat and Ring 
Dove alluded to presently; besides "The Home of the Herons,' and 
Wolfs favourite subject, A Golden Eagle and Ptarmigan. 



2o6 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

Escape," the Rabbit striving its utmost to reach 
shelter is described as a Hare ; while " the companion 
Hare flies into its burrow " ! The original titles of 
some of the designs have also been altered. Thus 
the lazy Jaguar, dozing in the midday heat as close to 
the cool water as he can get — so close that the tip of 
his tail occasionally touches it in his sleep, is no longer 
enjoying " The Siesta," but is " The Jaguar on the 
Watch " ; a manifest absurdity stultifying the whole 
gist and essence of the design. 

"Rival Monarchs" I have met with in a School 
Board " Reader." Others of the series have been cut 
down to fit the pages of a new Natural History ; and I 
think Wolf would not be surprised to find any of these 
subjects (as he did one of his Tigers) ornamenting a 
biscuit-tin on a friend's breakfast-table. 

Twelve of the designs illustrate the dangers to 
which animals are naturally exposed by duels and per- 
secutions among themselves ; and in six of these the 
aggressor palpably fails in his purpose, or is understood 
to do so. Save in one instance, the common phase of 
wild animal illustration, the phase of sport, is entirely 
omitted ; and in that instance the sportsman is shown 
in helpless peril. ^ Throughout all, the romantic side 
of natural history is agreeably prominent ; a fact by no 
means lost sight of in the letterpress. 

I think that three out of the twenty subjects stand 

' The incident \\-ill be found in Lloyd's Field Sports of Northern 
Kiircpe. 



THE ''WILD ANIMALS'' SUBJECTS 207 

apart from the others from their interest, admirable 
execution or pathos ; namely, " A Hairbreadth 
Escape," " Maternal Courage," and " Hunted Down." 
In the first of these a magnificent Eagle Owl has struck 
at one of the Rabbits which have been gambolling on 
the moonlit snow, but merely succeeds in grasping 
beneath a root which forms part of the entrance to the 
burrow, the skin of the hind quarters. The squealing 
quarry struggles for safety, as a frightened Rabbit can 
struggle, but the bird, with outstretched wings, main- 
tains its hold. Contrary to the description, says the 
artist, it would have succeeded after all, but for the 
sudden appearance of a Fox, which has been attracted 
by the Rabbit's cry, and diverts the Owl's attention. 

In "Maternal Courage" the attack of a hungry 
Lammergeyer upon a Chamois kid is defeated by the 
brave mother, The robber has been severely handled. 
His feathers garnish her horns, and float away over 
the precipice, while he clings for a moment to a rock, 
and then sails off to smooth his torn plumage and seek 
a less risky meal. 

" Hunted Down " is full of the quiet pathos so 
characteristic of the artist's best work. A dreary, snow- 
covered plain meets, in a solitary gleam of light on the 
horizon, a leaden sky ; while the wind sweeps across 
the waste, spitefully flinging the snow against every 
obstruction. A Hare, hard hit earlier in the day by 
some reckless shot, has limped on more and more 
painfully, till she crouches down by a few dead weeds 



2o8 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

to wait for the end. There is death already in the eyes 
and the staring coat, and the end will soon come. By 
evil chance there crosses her track a foraging party 
of Hooded Crows ; and the foremost, with famished, 
vigilant eyes, shout out a bloodthirsty view-halloo. 

In turninof over these desio-ns with their author, 
once or twice, I have found that the stories he intended 
to tell are not always correctly interpreted in Mr. 
Elliott's letterpress. For instance, in " The Shadow 
Dance" it is not the moon, but the early morning sun 
that throws the tempting images of the Rabbits on the 
bank. The Fox, says the artist, far too clever to take 
any shadow for the substance, looks round the furze- 
bush at the animals themselves ; but the result is very 
doubtful. Again, though it seems a certainty that 
the Lynx in " The Ambuscade " will dine off a tender 
kid, the artist is of a different opinion. He said with 
a smile, " He has not succeeded yet. ' There's many 
a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip.' " 

His present opinion of the preceding subject, 
" The King of Beasts," is, I am glad to say, one of 
thorough disapproval. He sees well enough now that 
it is theatrical, and he says also that the engraved 
lines are too close together. This design, and " The 
Gleaners of the Sea," are the least satisfactory of 
a series otherwise in every way notable. ''Catching 
a Tartar" is very different. It is not only full of 
poetic feeling, but represents a most interesting incident 
in natural history. A Barn Owl, more hungry than 




The White-Cheeked Sapajou. 



THE NIGHT ATTACK 209 

discreet, falls a victim to a Weasel which he has carried 
off. The subject is based, says Wolf, on an anecdote 
he heard in Germany, and a version of it is to be 
found also in Bell's British Quadrupeds} 

In the volume already alluded to ( Wild Animals 
and Birds), the Weasel is described as a Polecat which 
has ventured " to attack the peaceful Owl." This 
bird, "roused from its monotony by the fangs of the 
" carnivore, flies into the night, bearing with it . . . its 
" assailant." ^ 

There are two other subjects (originally published 
elsewhere) which, from their uniformity in size and 
shape with the series just described, may be classed 
with them ; and the original drawings are too good 
to be passed over. In the first, a huge White Bear, 
sated by a hearty meal, sleeps heavily upon a ledge of 
ice. Some hungry Snowy Owls, anxious to pick up 
the fragments, screw up their courage till they are 
almost within range of the mighty paws. 

The second design is called "The Night Attack," 
and is one of those rare instances where moonlight 
has been represented by art with some truth to nature ; 
that is, with regard to the amount of detail which is 
shown. There is not too much shown, and a natural 



' First edition, p. 145. 

- It is hardly necessary to point out that any person who knows the 
relative sizes of the Barn Owl and Polecat and those of the Polecat and 
Weasel (to say nothing of other points), but does not know how Wolfs 
designs have been handled in this book, will be puzzled at the singular 
description. 

P 



2IO LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

result is that what we do see gains enormously in 
poetry and truth ; giving a protracted pleasure which 
can never be derived from detective art that reveals 
every mystery and ransacks every shade. A maraud- 
ing Wild Cat, in the perfection of fur and ot vigour, 
roaming about by the light of the full moon to seek his 
supper, has sighted a Ring Dove's nest aloft in a pine ; 
and reasoning by deduction, he thinks it worth while to 
see whether the maker of the nest is at home. He 
climbs silently, and makes a sudden but vain attack 
upon the intended victim. She, flying off her eggs in 
terror, leaves one of her tail-feathers behind her, and 
once again the aggressor is foiled ; lashing his bushy 
tail with rage. This is one of those subjects which 
depend upon the "lost and found " for their charm. 
The Ring Dove's outline, like the Cat's, merges im- 
perceptibly into the background, and we discover such 
portion of the detail as the artist wishes to reveal, only 
by looking for it. Look as we will, we cannot discover 
it all, "Because," says Wolf " it is not there." The 
subject was also drawn with a Pine Marten in the place 
of the Cat. 

In addition to these two admirable designs, there 
is an early version of " The Struggle " (a tussle between 
a Tiger and a Crocodile), which always seems to me to 
be a fine bit of work, though very slight. A pair of 
Jaguars and their cubs have come down to the water to 
slake their thirst, and the paw of the male has been 
seized by a huge Alligator. It is a case of " pull devil, 

































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FAMILIES OF LIONS 211 

pull baker," and every fibre of the Jaguar's enormous 
muscles quivers in a contest which is still uncertain. 

Touching this subject, and some others in which 
he has represented certain species of the Felida: as 
associating together in complete families, Wolf holds 
that he was wrong. He says, " Why don't people 
" think ? Why must they still believe in families of 
"Lions? ... I do not know any quadruped where the 
" male has anything to do with bringing up the offspring. 
" This is one great fact in natural history. In nature 
" everything goes to utility. What fools a lot of Tom 
" Cats would look if every one of them were to bring 
" a mouse to the kittens. Of what use is the buck 
" Hare to bring up the leverets, the bull to bring up 
" the calf, or the stallion the foal ? It will be found 
" that as long as the Lioness is suckling her cubs the 
" Lion keeps away ; the Lioness, in fact, would not 
" allow him to come near them ; but afterwards, she is 
" not faithful to one Lion, and consequently several are 
" after her. Hence the troups of Lions one hears about. 
" Men are too much inclined to think that there must 
" be fathers, mothers and children." 

He is quick to point out any inaccuracy in his work, 
such as he imagines the representation of the Jaguar's 
family to be, and other subjects of the kind, and tells 
you that he did so and so because he knew no better 
at that time. In this case, however, the point seems to 
be open to doubt, for we have the authority of Sir 
Samuel Baker that Tigers, at all events, are to be met 

p 2 



212 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

with in families.' Oswell, too, speaking of the dis- 
inclination of Lions to attack men, savs : — " When the 
' cubs are very small the male will show fight, to give 
' the Lioness a chance of makinp- off with them, but 

o 

'this is rather a demonstration than real business." -' 
'The Lioness," says Wolf "has several mates, and 
' the young are not the offspring of one father. The 
' old Lions will sometimes play with the half-grown 
' cubs, but it has nothing to do with parental 
' affection." 

The willingness to admit error or ignorance is, as 
I have already remarked, one of Wolf's character- 
istics. Touching an illustration of his to Montgomery's 
Pelican Island he said, " Poor little chicks ! I have 
"never seen Pelican chicks, you know, but I suppose 
" they are something like them." 

Again, he blames himself for having fallen into the 
error in some of his drawings of Gorillas, of represent- 
ing them as pot-bellied. 

In the Lecture-room of The Zoological Society at 
Hanover Square, among the other works of the artist 
is a very careful chalk drawing of an adult Chimpanzee, 

' " It is frequently the custom of tigers to remain together in a family, 
" the male, female, and a couple of half or three parts grown young ones. 
"We cannot positively determine whether the male always remains with 
"his family under such circumstances or whether he merely visits them 
"periodically ; I am inclined to the latter opinion, as I think the female 
"may be attractive during her season, which induces the male to prolong 
"his visit, although at other periods he may be leading an independent 
"life.' ]\'ild Jieasis and Their IVaj's, vol. i. p. 174. 

- Badminton B/\-- Game Shooiiiii;, \o\. i. p. 94. 



COMMISSIONS 213 

executed in 1883 from a specimen living in The 
Gardens. On my remarking that the drawing was 
rather stiff (a very unusual fault with his work), Wolf 
said: "The drawing was done in exact profile, and 
" exactly natural size, in order to record the correct 
" measures. For years and years I had never seen an 
"old Chimpanzee — only young ones. I knew that 
" young children have big stomachs which they after- 
" wards lose. I forgot that it is the same with apes, 
" and in my early drawings I made the mistake of 
" representing the adults with large stomachs. Then 
" I saw this adult Chimpanzee, with full development 
" of limb and quite slim and elegant in shape." 

An artist's calibre and sympathies cannot always be 
gauged by the subjects he paints as commissions, but 
when he settles down to work con amore, to work that he 
can brood over, the case is different. Our friend would 
be content to stand or fall by such drawings as the 
originals of the IVi/d Anhnais, but of the other class 
of work he says this ; — " Whenever you work at a 
" commission you are always haunted by the thought, 
" ' What will the man say to it.-* Will he like this or 
" that .'' ' He has composed the subject in his own 
" mind, and it is a thousand to one that it is different 
" from one's own way." 

" While I am labouring at an eye or a feather, 
" to get it quite true to nature, I suddenly think, 
" ' Perhaps he would like it much better it it were 



214 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

" done in an off-hand, dashing way ' ; and I am sure 
" that if I paint beyond his comprehension, he will not 
" like the picture at all." Again, touching the indefinite 
or blurred appearance indicating the rapid movement 
of a bird's wings which I asked him about in a certain 
work, he said, " I tried hard to get it, but nobody would 
care for it." 

This is not the first instance to be found in Joseph 
Wolfs sayings of a melancholy cni bono. He asks 
what is the use of labour, and knowledge, and years of 
study, if nobody — publisher, critic, or public, under- 
stands the result ; and having asked it, he redoubles 
his care, and adds every possible item to his knowledge, 
with a great deal more than the humility of most stu- 
dents. He looks round him and sees that the greatest 
fame in zoological art and the highest prices have 
not always followed upon that fidelity to nature which 
concerns itself about the absolute correctness of an eye 
or a feather. Day after day he has faced the direct 
temptation to adapt his work to popular comprehension ; 
to hide his knowledge under a bushel, and thus 
instantly to make himself master of the popular purse. 
He has faced it as his bitterest enemy, and has 
conquered. 

The words of his I have quoted above deserve a 
litde consideration, for they are a commentary on the 
unhappy fact that the manly struggle involved in honest 
workmanship goes for nothing against the popular 
delight in a sort of slapdash, sprawling sleight of hand. 



HIS FJilME 3 15 

with an impudent signature as an important feature 
of it. 

Joseph Wolf, at the time he drew the Wild Am - 
vials series, may be said to have reached his prime ; 
and he had reached it so quietly that neither himself 
nor anybody else knew when he did so. It was like 
the prime of some great oak ; for, as far as I can ascer- 
tain, he has been singularly free from that rapid falling 
off which has marked some artists' work ; due of course 
to failure of judgment, as well as perversion and failure 
of sight. 

At the present time, in his seventy-fifth year, he 
says, " I think that with regard to sight I could paint 
" a better picture now than I could at forty. I saw too 
" much, you know. As Landseer said to a young 
" artist, ' You young fellows will never paint a decent 
" picture till your eye-sight begins to fail.'" 

In spite of this opinion he has had the rare wisdom 
to hold his hand. Though, physically, full ot vigour still 
— keen of sight, and hearing, and perception, he shows 
no touch of the unhappy infatuation which has tempted 
many a veteran artist steadily to paint away the reputa- 
tion of his prime, in order, as it really seems, that he 
may be complimented upon being able to paint at all. 

Wolf's position at his zenith was thus summed up 
by Mr. Edward Whymper in his preface to the Wild 
Animals : — 

"As a painter, Mr. Wolf is highly esteemed among artists, but 
" his works are seldom exhibited, as they generally pass directly 



2i6 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

" from his studio into the hands of the best judges and largest 
" collectors in the kingdom. Upon this account he is, as a painter, not 
" so generally known as many artists of less eminence ; but the 
" sohdity of the position he has attained is sufficiently evidenced by 
" the eagerness with which his pictures are secured for the most 
" princely collections in the country, and his success is the more 
" remarkable since he owes nothing to notoriety." 

The year after this was written, namely in 1S74, 
Wolf became a Member of The Institute of Painters 
in Water Colours, ^ and exhibited there " Broken 
Fetters," an upright subject representing a Golden 
Eagle escaping from captivity to his snow-capped 
mountains, with the fragment of the chain still attached 
to his leg.-' The drawing was done in a week, and 
the Eagle was most carefully painted. In the review 
of The Institute exhibition The Observer r^xmxXs.'s,: — 

"There are no less than seven new Members, who have not, as 
" usual, been selected from a list of candidates, but have been 
" specially invited to exhibit their works. Of these works, however, 
"a good drawing by Mr. Wolf, the well-known animal painter, . . . 
" is the only contribution we observe which makes much mark." 
" Another remarkable drawing in The Institute," writes the critic of 
The Times, " is a magnificent Golden Eagle soaring aloft, with the 
"broken chain dangling from his strong talons, by J. Wolf, the most 
" vigorous living painter of wild animal life." 
The Athenceuvi says this : — 

" Mr. J. Wolf has long ago recommended himself to admiring 
"eyes ; his Broken Fetters (148), an eagle soaring near a mountain 
" top, which is surrounded by mists and denser vapours, while the 
" bird's feet are trammelled by the ropes which formerly kept it 
" captive, shows at once his great powers and the unfavourable cir- 
" cumstances under which he practises his art, for he must needs 

' He has lately resigned. 

' This drawing was purchased by Lord Eldon. 



HE PREFERS OIL-FAINTING 217 

" make a subject where, but for popular notions, none would he 
" wanted. The result of making a subject here is to injure the in- 
" spiration of the picture. But the bird, apart from this, is a most 
" vigorous piece of design ; one can hardly think of anything more 
"intense than the action of the wings, the eager thrusting of the 
" neck, as the creature hovers above its home." 

The melancholy sequel to " Broken Fetters " was 
drawn in charcoal soine time afterwards. The Eagle 
has reached his old haunts, and settles for a moment, 
that he may gaze down into the ravine which still 
shelters, perhaps, the beloved eyrie. He spreads his 
wings again ; but the chain has caught in a fork of the 
tree, and after the fierce death struggle, he hangs head 
downwards, swaying in the wind. 

Wolf's election as a Member of The Institute did 
not tend, as might have been supposed, to his becoming 
a prolific exhibitor. It is one of those points on which 
I must venture to differ with my friend that he prefers 
his oil pictures to his water-colours. He says, " I wish 
" I had stuck to oil as I began, and never listened to 
" some friends in the Water-Colour Society and joined 
" them." His sympathy is certainly more with oil- 
painting than with water-colour. " Water-colour is 
" thin and weak compared with oil." Nevertheless, I 
have seen water-colours of his so strong that at the first 
glance I actually mistook them for oil, but I have never 
seen one which struck me as weak. 

Another deterrent was this. When he told one 
of his employers that he should like to exhibit such and 
such a work at The Institute, the gentleman would 



2i8 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

probably say, " And what is ' The Institute ' ?" If he 
went there to see how his purchase looked, he found it, 
perhaps, conspicuous for singularity of subject, among 
" heaps of coast scenes and landscapes piled up to the 
skies." Speaking at another time of the fewness of the 
works which he has exhibited anywhere, Wolf gives the 
chief reason. " The prejudice of artists against natural 
"history has stood in my way more than anything in 
" England. It was before a committee of that class 
"of men, that I should have had to appear with my 
" works if I had exhibited. I couldn't do it, and I 
" didn't do it." I look upon this feeling of Wolf s with 
the same regret that troubles me when he states his 
case against the naturalists, and for the same reason ; 
that the grievance is not imaginary. It is based upon 
actual incidents and actual statements which have come 
to his knowledge. It is of little avail to go into the 
question. Suffice it to say that the artists among whom 
Wolf is accounted a mere " naturalist," have never seen 
many of his finest works. Had they seen them, I 
cannot help thinking they would have changed their 
opinion. The subject has an amusing side. " I had 
" a world of trouble," says our friend, " to get the very 
" printers and lithographers to pay cominon respect to 
" my things. Because they were ' natural history,' 
" they looked upon them as if they were for children's 
" picture-books." 

I have not been able to give more than the land- 
marks of the history of Wolfs work during the four- 



FOURTEEN YEARS' WORK 219 

teen years of his residence in Berners Street. He has 
kept no journal or record in any shape, and has for- 
gotten much that was worthy to be remembered. He 
may say, as he does, "What a record it would be!" 
but, nevertheless, I regret the want of it deeply. An 
artist's works are the children of his imagination, if 
they have any definite parentage at all. They reflect 
the conscious and often the unconscious bent of his 
mind, and the depth of his mind. Naturally, he himself 
can see more in them than the critic, however learned 
and discriminating ; and the artist alone can recall the 
incidents of their birth and growth. Then too, they 
are often the outcome of a strugfcrle more or less intense 
to realize some ideal ; to touch, or enthral, or to teach — 
to tell some story, the incidents of which are naturally 
best known to the teller. It always strikes me as sad 
that so many works are exhibited, collected, dispersed 
by the hammer, and forgotten, without an inkling 
beyond the critic's technical description (often given 
in terms only intelligible to artists), or the auctioneer's 
hap-hazard puff, of what they represented in the painter's 
own mind. What does the astute dealer know or 
care about the emotions and struggles, sleepless nights, 
and miserable days ? Even the title sometimes changes 
with the ownership of the picture ; and the very point 
of the story it was intended to indicate (if it is told 
unobtrusively) is often completely stultified. 

It may be imagined, from what I have told of this 
fourteen years of Wolf's life, that a man who some- 



220 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

times went on working till he was giddy, whose natural 
industry forbade all waste of time, whose every touch 
was the result of knowledge and thought — it may be 
imagined what he would accomplish, and how he would 
ripen and mature. 

A sort of migratory impulse seizes us sometimes, 
as irresistible as that which drives the Swallow and 
Nightingale from our shores. In 1874 Joseph Wolf 
determined to leave Berners Street, and he chose The 
Avenue, Fulham Road, as his next head-quarters, 
where a small colony of artists was established, with 
everything adapted to their habits and liking. 

Visitors to his studio, soon after he took possession, 
would have found him, pliers and wire in hand, sitting 
before a pile of little bones and a charcoal sketch. 
He had another Ring Do\'e subject in progress, and 
was carefully setting up a complete skeleton of the 
bird in the chosen action. "You have no idea," he 
says, " how it explains the attitudes if the legs and feet 
are in the right place." The title of this drawing- 
is " Inquisitive Neighbours." Two Squirrels, frolick- 
ing round and round the stem of a pine, pop suddenly 
on a Ring Dove sitting on her eggs. She is indignant 
at the invasion of her particular tree, and loosens her 
wings in order to give full effect to a good buffet.^ 

' To country people, a boxing match between a couple of Ring Doves 
in the spring is doubtless familiar ; but some have no idea of the force and 
vigour of the blows they shower on one another with their wings, or of 
the noise thus occasioned. I ha\e seen a fight of this kind last a long time. 




Inquisitive NiuoiiiajuKS. 



FIRST SKETCHES 221 

The first sketch of this subject hangs, through the 
artist's kindness, on my walls ; and I have often seen 
the third version (a water-colour), which lacks, I think, 
some of the vigour of the sketch. The bird is as fine 
a piece of colour and drawing as one could wish to see ; 
but perhaps it is the elaboration of the surrounding 
foliage that gives the impression of a redundancy of 
minute finish. I have reproduced the second version, 
a careful charcoal drawing. 

In preferring the first sketch, I must plead guilty 
to doing so in many other instances, particularly in 
Wolfs case. The first sketches are dashed off with an 
impulse, and are the first-fruits of the imagination. As 
the impulse is often a kind of inspiration, they are done 
with enthusiasm. They may contain many faults, but, 
nevertheless, often represent the artist's ripest powers, 
for he is on his mettle, and they do not show the 
reserve or forbearance brought about by considering 
whether they will sell, or be severely criticised, or be 
hung beyond human ken. Sketches, in fact, though 
they are often the amateur's most effectual offensive 
weapon, are the true artist's shorthand. Every scratch, 
or dot, or smudge has its own peculiar significance, and 
is essential to the coherency and sense of the whole 
composition. 

At the Academy exhibitions of iS76and 1877 Wolf 
was represented by casts from three little models ; a 
Wild Boar ; a Bear licking his lips over a honeycomb ; 
and " Suspicion," a Lioness with two cubs, alarmed by 



222 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

some clanger in front of them. Although he was not 
altogether unpractised in the art of modelling (for he 
had found out its value in solving problems of light and 
shade, and cast shadows), one would hardly expect to 
find such a complete mastery over means and material 
as is represented by these three miniature animals. 
Not only are the anatomy and actions first-rate, but the 
texture of the different coats is admirably given. " It 
is very difficult," says Wolf, " for anybody who has 
begun modelling to leave it. It is so fascinating to 
'A painter, simply because it is far more simple than 
painting. You have no local colour, or light and shade 
— no perspective, no atmosphere, and so on. In fact, 
comparing the painter with the sculptor, the painter 
must know all that the sculptor knows (or ought to 
know), and a great deal more." 

I believe that very few casts from these models 
were disposed of but it seems a pity that the moulds 
should have been idle for so many years. Casts in 
bronze shown in some good gallery would surely 
have commanded a great sale. It also seems a pity 
that, with the exception of an Owl which was never 
exhibited and another Wild Boar's head. Wolf should 
have done so little finished work in clay. The Owl is 
four times life-size, and a very careful piece of work. 
I once ventured to suggest that the eyes were too big. 
" Yes," said Wolf, " when you know that the eye is big 
you are apt to make it too big." The temptation to 
exaggerate is very seductive in art, and literature, and 




o 

11 



THE QUEEN'S BULLFINCH 223 

conversation ; but it is very rarely that Wolf yields to 
it in any form, though no one is keener in seizing the 
point of view which brings characteristics sufficiently 
into prominence. I have noticed his love of truth crop 
up in many ways ; and have myself often been brought 
clown from some too enthusiastic description of animals 
or insects to the regions of actual fact, by a smile or 
a question. 

The 24th of May 1878 was likely, to have made an 
impression on our friend's memory, for he was com- 
missioned by The Marquis of Lome and The Princess 
Louise to.paint them a birthday present for the Queen. 
The subject was a pet Bullfinch of Her Majesty's, and 
if this had not been a bird with which the painter was 
thoroughly familiar, he might have found it nervous 
work, and have been tempted to compile a Bullfinch 
from sketches. As it was, he made a succession of 
visits to Buckingham Palace, and laboured in his 
usual way to make the drawing a true portrait, as well 
as a graceful composition. Judging from the original 
study (itself highly finished) which recently hung in his 
studio, the result must have been most satisfactory. 

I will conclude this chapter with the following note 
from Lord Lome about this drawing, quoted with his 
Lordship's kind permission : — 

Kensington Palace : May 20, 1S7S. 

Dear Mr. Wolf, — We are much obliged to you for the care 
and trouble you have taken to have the charming picture of the Bull- 
finch ready in such good time. If you should want to do anything 
more to it, or if the Queen would like any slight alteration, it can 



224 



LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 



always be got back for a short time. It seems to me perfect as 
it is. 

I am glad that Mr. Dresser does not think the getting of the 
Hazel Cirouse would be very difficult in Scar'dinavia. I am most 
an.\ious to get them, and having failed both at Paris and Berlin, 
should much like to be put into communication with any friend of 
Mr. Dresser's who might be able to procure them. I am almost 
sure they would do among the large woods at Inveraray if the birds 
are brought from a Northern country. I return Mr. Dresser's letter. 
I remain with many thanks yours faithfully, 

J. Wolf, Esq. LoRNE. 

Lord Lome has been so good as to inform me that 

he was, unfortunately, not successful in this attempt to 

acclimatize the Hazel Grouse 




OVIS AMMON 



PRIMROSE HILL STUDIOS 



CHAPTER VI 



JOSEPH WOLF found it a long journey from 
the Fulham Road to his models in Regent's 
Park, and knowing that a little swarm of artists 
was comfortably hived in Primrose Hill Studios, he 
began to contemplate a third migration. The Studios 
were so near the northern entrance of The Zoological 
Gardens that, on a quiet summer's night, an imagina- 
tive tenant might think himself far away in foreign 
lands, till some rattling hansom dispelled the illusion. 
This propinquity settled the question ; so in 1878 our 
friend removed to No. 2 ; and there he has dwelt ever 
since, till by virtue of seniority, both of years and 
occupation, he has become the patriarch of the colony. 
He has acquired, too, a certain affection for the 
place ; and though, at last, he has had to pile away his 
bird-cages, and will no more listen to the songs of his 
Warblers and Bullfinches, he has been able, as we 
shall see, to give another hobby a little rein. 

To describe our friend "at home" is not an easy 
matter ; but it is only by mentally accompanying me to 
his studio, that the reader will be able to see him at his 

Q 



226 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

best, or to realize the profusion of intensely interesting 
things which it contains. 

In answer to the tinkle of the bell at No. 2 Prim- 
rose Hill Studios, a tall, broad-chested old gentleman 
appears, pipe in hand, at a door which is fringed with 
climbing convolvulus and ivy. Happily there is 
nothinof " artistic" about him, unless it be a knitted 
"Tarn o' Shanter " cap. His hale, ui3right figure is 
clothed in the well-cut vestments ot a quietly disposed 
Londoner (to whom eccentricity would be as un- 
natural as slovenliness), and his short, grey beard 
and moustache are neatly trimmed. A pair of very 
large round spectacles rests on a nose which has 
the strong angular bend of the Eagle's beak about it, 
but nothing of the semicircular Jewish curve. The 
wide nostrils appear to be drawn back so as to cause 
upon the cheeks the furrows to which the expression 
of the face is partly due. Behind the spectacles are 
very kindly, true-looking, grey eyes, in which a merry- 
twinkle is not unknown. 

Following my friend down a short passage, I find 
myself in a lofty and well-designed studio, which, in 
spite of its size, is pre-eminently cosy — easily warmed 
in the winter, and as I find now, cool even on the 
sunniest summer's day. On the blinds flying back, I 
can see at once that there is much to attract the 
attention on every side ; but to begin with I discover, 
fast asleep upon a Leopard skin, two very fat, very 
nondescript, and very tiny puppies. This is not their 



A BLACKBIRD'S NEST 227 

true home, but their dissipated little mother long 
ago discovered that their brothers and sisters were 
always welcomed by her big friend, and she leaves them 
here out at nurse as it were. 

Wolf is anxious to give me the latest news of the 
studios, and he tells it in remarkably well-chosen 
English idioms. There is no gesticulation, no shoulder- 
shrugging. The manner, like the words, is even 
quieter than that of many a Briton. Some brave 
Blackbirds have nested for several years in the ivy at 
the back, and this year, again, have hatched their 
young successfully. It is a secret (undoubtedly known 
to many cats), but he is as glad to tell me all about 
the nest as if it were at least a Golden Eagle's eyrie. 
As for those cats, they were so troublesome last year 
that he tells me he used to call the young birds every 
evening, catch them one by one with a butterfly net, 
and cage them till the morning. He wishes to point 
out to me the site of the nest, and before he opens a 
back door leading to the garden, he mixes a saucer of 
bread and milk which I imagine is intended for the 
puppies. But directly we get into the open air I see, 
upon the neighbouring roofs and walls, an excited little 
troop of Starlings awaiting their early luncheon. He 
speaks of the precocity of the London Blackbirds ; and 
we find, on comparing notes, that they are in full song 
here long before they find their voices in the Surrey 
wilds. He loves them greatly, and considers them the 
noblest of the Thrushes. 

Q2 



228 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

The garden surprises me. When Wolf first came 
here, he tells me, it was a forlorn back yard where even 
the ivy looked sulky and disappointed in life. There 
was just one solitary carnation ; and this, as his mother's 
favourite flower, somehowor other recalled those remote 
days spent with her so happily at home. So, think- 
ing to himself that he would revive the old memories 
still more, he set to work in earnest. The yard was 
common to two of the studios, but Wolf has lavished 
upon his neighbour's share, as well as his own, so much 
time and pains, that he has conquered the disadvan- 
tages. Of his feline enemies, a dingy, tailless specimen 
accosted him one day, purring and rubbing against his 
legs so vigorously that he had not the heart to drive her 
away. Since then she has disputed with the Star- 
lings, and the Blackbirds, and a tame Toad that lives in 
a corner, their several claims to the master's atten- 
tion. Some of the refinements of the florist's art 
are going on. Seeds and seedlings engross my host's 
spare time, and try even his patience. Hand-glasses, 
cocoa-fibre, and thermometers, would point out the 
nature of his favourite hobby, even without the piles 
of florists' catalogues indoors. " To have a hobby," 
he says, " is the only expression of happiness. The 
" man who has not got a hobby is to be pitied." "It 
"is quite as much pleasure to me," he continues, as 
he slides off the lid from one of his frames, " to see 
"the seeds sprout and come up nicely, as to see the 
" flowers open. It is the principle that the anticipa- 



SPRING-TIME 229 

" tion is sweeter than the possession." You would 
think he had that passage of Dudley Warner's In his 
mind : — " To own a bit of ground, to scratch it with a 
" hoe, to plant seeds, and watch their renewal of life, 
" —this is the commonest delight of the race, the most 
" satisfactory thing a man can do." 

It is, in fact, the renewal of life — the reawakening 
of all nature in the spring, that especially rejoices Wolf, 
as (in spite of the renewal of "Pusley"), it rejoiced 
Dudley Warner. He says, "The first awakening ot 
" spring is signalled to my studio by a South American 
"bird at The Zoological Gardens — Cariama, I think.' 
" It is a long-legged species which lives on the prairies 
" where their strong voice is the means of keeping the 
" birds together." This spring note fills him with 
pleasant recollections of very early days, when he used 
to listen anxiously for the laugh of the Green Wood- 
pecker and the cry of the Buzzard. Other recollec- 
tions of spring are sometimes called into existence in 
the country, he tells me, by the piping of children's 
willow whistles ; a sound which seems to him by no 
means devoid of poetry, simply because it carries his 
mind back to the time when, himself intent on whistles, 
he waited for the rising sap. 

When he has shown me his favourite flowers, he 
turns to another part of the garden. " People say 
"we can't grow roses here in London. Now here's a 
" rose — and what a rose it is, by Jove ! " pointing to one 

' Cariama cristata. 



230 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

shamefaced little blossom on a weazen bush, that 
" looks as planted by Despair." 

Re-entering the studio, we pass by a large glass 
case standing beneath a mighty Moose's head (a 
present sent by Mr. D. G. Elliott from America), which 
stares out upon the room as a kind of presiding genius. 
The case contains (besides the little models already 
described), part of the artist's collection of fire-arms. 
They have evidently been kept in order by a keen 
connoisseur ; though they date from the far-distant time 
when their owner superintended their building with as 
much care as he set about a picture ; and when he loved 
a good autumnal tramp over the heather or turnips. 
Among the guns and shooting paraphernalia he has 
elsewhere is one of the ponderous small-bores which 
were used so effectively in the Vogelschiesscn, many 
years ago. 

Besides the Moose there are many other heads of 
Deer and Antelope round the walls, ranging in size from 
the Wapiti downwards. Opposite the garden door, in 
a long line across the room, hang the original draw- 
ings of the Wild Animals, which, in this fine light, 
look their very best. As time presses, I am compelled 
to pass onwards, bearing with me the impression, 
firstly, that drawings so hard to interpret and so 
dependent on suggestiveness must have vexed the soul 
of the engravers ; and secondly that, considering their 
price, it is extraordinary they have remained so long 
unsold. 




A Peregrine Tiercel. 



AN EXCITING SEARCH 231 

Round the room there stand a number of huge and 
cavernous box-portfolios, which contain so many of 
Wolfs sketches and studies that not to-day nor for 
many a day shall I exhaust them. The artist himself 
has his doubts about some of the contents ; and if 
the whereabouts of a sketch is once forgotten, long- 
continued burrowing in these seductive depths becomes 
necessary in order to recover it ; sometimes even that 
being unsuccessful. One of these searches, to an 
admirer of Wolf's works, is intensely exciting, for there 
is no knowing what will turn up next. Even his 
never-failing pipe is mislaid and forgotten, and many 
are the exclamations of astonishment as long-lost 
sketches meet the eyes of their maker once again. 
Now a little batch of chalk life-studies appears ; and 
then a lovely life-size charcoal design of a Peregrine 
tiercel ; the first idea of a picture exhibited at the 
Sports and Arts Exhibition.' 

Continuing the search I come, perhaps, to a 
drawing in the same material by Mr. Carl Haag, the 
result of an exchange,'-^ and groping right at the bottom 

' Any reproduction will fail to convey the beauty of this sketch ; the 
skill of the modelling ; the grace of the attitude ; and the mastery of the 
draughtsmanship. Like many of the artist's sketches, it is done on 
thin paper (often whity-brown), and the outline has been scored over 
with a hard point in transferring it. 

^ Among the opinions of his brother artists on Wolf's work, that of so 
great a veteran as Mr. Haag should find a place. For this I am indebted 
to Mr. Howard of Blackburn. Speaking of the black and white drawing 
"A Midnight Ramble," in his possession, Mr. Howard says, "At the time 
" I purchased the work, Mr. Wolf told me that he made a water-colour 
" drawing from this for Mr. Carl Haag ; and when I called on Mr. Haag 



232 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

of the box, I grasp (much to our friend's astonishment) 
a little chalk design of " Wild Duck Shooting." This 
excellent drawing was intentionally hidden some time 
ago to avoid lending it on the application of an artist 
who proposed to paint the same subject much in the 
same way. Dropped into one of these boxes, it was 
nearly as much beyond recovery as a letter in a pillar- 
box ; and short of a day's search, only a sheer accident 
such as this could lead to its exhumation. Another 
time, and in quite a different latitude, I come across the 
companion subject, " Wild Goose Shooting in a Fog " ; 
and the two drawings together are a goodly pair. It 
is noteworthy that, in both, the shooters are not at first 
seen at all. They are a gunshot off, and are nearly 
hidden, in one case by the long reeds, in the other by 
the fog. In the latter design we may see in perfection 
the quality of indefiniteness. It is this which gives 
the singular reality to the birds which approach in their 
panic out of the gloom. 

We have not done with the first portfolio yet ; and 
when we have, there are others quite as interesting. 
There is no sort of arrangement, and among a quantity 
of uninteresting photographs, or a few quires of virgin 
paper, there may lurk one or two of Wolf s very best 
sketches, long mourned as lost. Far below and all 
but out of reach may glow even one of his little water- 

" last autumn I sa«' it . . . Mr. Haag told me that, in his opinion, no 
" man in the world could approach Mr. Wolf at his own class of work. 
" I was delighted to hear this from Mr. Haag, for it is the opinion which 
" I have long held." 



THE AGGRESSOR FOILED 233 

colours, such as the Ring Dove of The Poets of the 
JVoods series, or other works he describes as "the few 
crumbs of good things I have left." 

Promising myself further exploration of these rich 
artistic catacombs another clay, I glance hurriedly 
over the book-cases holding a few books of reference 
(but very few), and some of the works our friend has 
illustrated ; from Knox's little volumes, to the huge folios 
which it is almost impossible to handle with any com- 
fort ; books such as Gould's Birds of Great Britain 
and Elliott's monographs, fit only for the scientific 
athlete. Thus, by degrees, I find myself facing the 
easels. 

The foremost holds one of those large charcoal 
designs so many of which have gone (as this will go) 
from the studio direct to the purchaser, without 
exhibition. Apart from its beauty as a work of art, it 
is notable as representing a rare and singular scene. 
A Snow Leopard has stalked some of the gigantic 
sheep which Marco Polo discovered; "twelve and a 
" half hands high, the horns (each some six feet long) 
" forming a wide, open curve." It is a critical moment, 
for they have winded their enemy, hidden behind 
a snow-drift. He hears their abrupt movement, and 
raises his head to reconnoitre. " The Aofgressor shall 
" not succeed. I always disappoint my animal of 
" prey." So says my host as he draws away a curtain 
which veils the second easel. Here I see, in an early 
stage, a life-size oil-picture which is striking from its 



234 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

vigour, originality, and draughtsmanship. A hungry 
Golden Eagle, sailing down from the neighbouring 
peaks, launches from the mist and vainly strikes at an 
Alpine Hare which leaps madly towards us. The 
huge bird is enraged at his failure, and the force of 
the swoop is shown by his extended wings and tail, 
and the outstretched foot which viciously grips the 
heather instead of the Hare.' It is the aggressor 
foiled again with a vengeance. The artist has painted 
a somewhat similar subject in water-colour, and has the 
first charcoal sketch. Here the Eagle has struck one 
of a pack of Ptarmigan, and grasps the tail-feathers on 
the ground while the bird flies off otherwise unscathed. 
This Eagle is even more vigorous in design than the 
other ; but not the least interesting point in the 
finished drawing was the gradual discovery of the 
rest of the Ptarmigan, concealed by the artist much 
as they would be in nature. This, I believe, created 
quite a sensation in the purchaser's family when the 
picture was sent home. " Fve found one ! " " Here's 
" another ! " and so on. 

In the oil subject, part of the single-primed canvas 
is still bare, and the painting is in an early stage. 
The life and soul of the picture is yet to come, 
but there is nothing tentative about the preliminary 
work. Before he put charcoal to paper, the precon- 
ception in the artist's mind was definite. "It 

' It was a study for this Hare which received such complimentary 
notice from the Basset-hounds. 




Ptekomvs grandis. 



PUBLIC IGNORANCE 235 

must be here, you know," says Wolf, touching his 
forehead, " before it comes out there " — holding up his 
fingers. There is so much painting (art it can hardly 
be called), that shows the inability of the brain to 
create a subject, or to keep pace with the exquisite 
manipulative skill, that an opinion such as this is 
refreshing. 

Unfortunately, the prospects of this fine work are 
not bright. Wolf says, " I couldn't venture to finish 
"it. I should go mad over it. The rheumatism has 
"stood a good deal in my way. I have had it now 
"for fifteen years." Sometimes, for weeks together, 
he is not able to put pencil or pen to paper, knowing 
that if he did so the wearisome pain would begin in 
the affected arm ; and from the same cause he dreads 
the vibration of a cab and many other things. It is 
the one black spot in an otherwise singularly healthy, 
painless life. 

He tells me that a rich merchant was once broueht 
to see this picture. " Why," he asked, "is the Eagle 
" sitting on its haunches in such an undignified way } " 
" He has just struck at the Hare and missed her." 
"Does it want the Hare then?" "Yes, of course." 
"Then why," said the critic triumphantly, as he turned 
away, "doesn't it peck at it with its beak?" "The 
" thing I have most suffered from," continues the 
painter, " is the general ignorance about my subjects, 
"not only with purchasers, but with hanging-com- 
" mittees ; and my greatest difficulty has been to 



236 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

' fathom the depth of this ignorance. Landscape 
' painters have alluded to my work as ' Natural 
' History and that sort of thing.' I have been 
' continually swimming against the stream, chiefly 
' with regard to the choice of subjects. I always 
' found that the popular subjects were utterly im- 
' possible for me, and against my nature. This was 
" a great disadvantage in the world." 

Speaking of his works having been sometimes con- 
demned as mere transcripts from nature, he says : "If 
' you paint a dead Redpoll or Linnet it is admissible 
' at the Royal Academy. If you paint it alive it is a 
' Transcript of an object of Natural History, ' and that 
' sort of thing;' unfit for exhibition. Artists have been 
' known to congratulate themselves that they have 
' no knowledge of natural history. . . . In fact natural- 
' history subjects do not go down unless they are very 
' badly done." These are opinions which may sound 
exaggerated, but the truth ot them can be proved, 
and is proved by the walls of our chief exhibitions 
every year. Yet there is hope for the glorious art of 
which Wolf was the pioneer ; for, as he says, it is 
still in its infancy. 

Near the easels hang a few oil studies of heads 
from the life, which were done at Antwerp ; and they 
show much more freedom of execution than I should 
have expected to find at that period. There are not 
many canvases in the studio, but there is one standing 
against the wall which, in my opinion, helps to show 




THK SlAMANG. 
(A Watir^Coluiir Sketch /mill Life.) 



HIS GREAT RAPIDITY 237 

that although oil is certainly not the material best 
suited to the artist, it is one in the use of which he 
has attained the greatest freedom and rapidity. This 
sketch was painted in a day, and is called " Come down 
in the World." A chained Golden Eagle, melancholy, 
savage, and banished to a pig-sty, mopes away his 
life, envying the impudent Sparrows which hop in 
and out of his prison. 

Another notable instance of rapidity resulting not 
only from exhaustive knowledge but from perfect 
technical mastery, involving all the refinements of per- 
spective, foreshortening, modelling, and light and 
shade, is dragged out from a dark corner. It is a life- 
size charcoal study, made in a day and a half for a 
picture which was never painted, " The Lion and the 
Wasp." The little insect has accidentally invaded the 
cave, upon the floor of which some bones lie scattered, 
and buzzes busily about in its anxiety to get out again. 
As for the owner, he cringes down upon the ground, a 
perfect picture of power and fear — fear at the sound he 
cannot account for. His head is, perhaps, one of the 
best examples of Wolf's almost incredible skill in 
catching the exact expression of animals. There is 
something here which separates this representation of 
a Lion from all others I have seen ; and what that 
something is, it is not easy to say. 

Some of the works which are stacked against the 
walls of the studio are highly-finished charcoal drawings 
which were done for the meetings of The German 



238 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

Athenaeum (the chief of which drawings I have already 
described) ; and conspicuous among the remainder is a 
large and important water-colour. It is called " A 
Row in the Jungle," and a tremendous row it is. A 
Tiger creeps through the dense undergrowth towards 
the spectator, his lithe body flattened down, and his 
hide and massive limbs harmonizing in colour but 
contrasting in form with the tangled, flaunting 
vegetation which half conceals the skull of a Gaur. 
Overhead, a crowd of Rhesus Macaques follow their 
enemy's movements, with hideous uproar and every 
expression of fear and hatred. This subject has 
given the artist scope for the exercise of his love 
for rich, harmonious colour ; and like several smaller 
works, it shows how he prefers to represent the Tiger. 
One of them, in fact, gives us little more than the 
ferocious head framed by the exotic foliage. 

" A Row in the Jungle " was exhibited at the Royal 
Academy of 1863, and thus has been more than thirty 
years on the painter's hands. I dare say he is not very 
anxious to part with it, for it is almost the solitary 
example he has left of his larger water-colour works. 

Next, he shows me an unfinished water-colour 
version rather than replica of the Ovis poll subject, 
for he very rarely allows himself to paint a replica in 
the ordinary sense. So completely do some of the 
best of his black and white drawings convey the sense 
of colour, that this version does not strike me as new. 
I was prepared by the Ijlack and white for the rosy 



HIS WATER-COLOUR METHOD 



239 



snow with its pearly shadows, and for the rich colour of 
the animals. 

Never ceasing to strive after truth and the highest 
possible ideal, he points out that the expressions and 
characters of the animals in the water-colour are more 
ovine, and therefore more true, than they are in the 
other version, perfect as that appears to be. 




A Sketch oi" Ovis poli in Snow 



The method by which these water-colours are done 
I shall briefly describe ; but for the present it will 
suffice to say that it is distinguished by order, and by 
conscientious, patient workmanship, in which the skill 
is far too great to suggest labour. There is no symptom 



240 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

of niggle, no littleness, no slobber, and no slapdash. 
But, nevertheless, his method is not quite so simple as 
it looks, and when the washing in of a sky is in progress, 
or any other delicate piece of manipulation that requires 
"the whole man," visitors at No. 2, The Studios may 
tinkle the bell in vain. 

I ask him if he has ever kept any kind of record of 
his work, and he answered : — " Sometimes I did two 
" or three things in a day — What a record it would be ! 
" I have done many works of which I should be ashamed 
" to have a record. When you undertake a lot of work, 
" you may like part of it, but a vast quantity of it is 
" rubbish to you. As a rule, when I got something to 
" do which I didn't like, I tackled it at once, in order 
" to get rid of it." This strikes me as being one of the 
most important elements of his success ; and it reminds 
me of the advice of a certain successful drawing-master 
to his pupils, " Do the most disagreeable thing first." 

On a chair opposite the lofty north window I dis- 
cover a peculiar-looking long, narrow skull, with a 
label attached to it. Our friend introduces this as part 
of a new species of Antelope sent to him by the 
Secretary of The Zoological Society, who wishes for a 
drawing of the animal. I suggest that the material is 
perhaps a little scanty, but he says he has the hide in 
the next room. There I find that, on a kind of wooden 
horse, the crumpled skin of the new species displays 
its stiffness. This interpretation, as the reader will 
remember, is familiar work. Granted that W^olf has 




Thf. Siamang. 

{JJnJiiiishcd Water-Colour Sketch from Li/c.) 



A WONDERFUL SOFA 241 

known the relatives of the animals (and there are very 
few animals of which he does not know the relatives), 
he has many and many a time evolved from the skull 
and the tanned hide a highly-finished and beautiful 
drawing; or (if we prefer so to call it), a "correct 
figure." It is not a power which has come from mere 
repetition, but a power derived chiefly from the alto- 
gether remarkable faculty of observation and memory, 
and from the same sound and extensive knowledge that 
enabled him to make you an impromptu sketch of any 
beast or bird you wished, in the most difficult attitude 
you could suggest. This is the knowledge that guided 
the charcoal so well as to entrance the veteran Oswell, 
while he was transferring- by word of mouth the stirring 
scenes of his African life from his own powerful imagi- 
nation to one even more powerful. The artist's number- 
less studies ot the structure and detail of mammals and 
birds have been a means to this end. 

In the room where the hide hanofs on its stand 
there are more box-portfolios ; and who knows what 
they contain ? Probably even their owner has forgotten ; 
for a man who keeps no record whatever of the hard 
work of sixty years must needs have a memory if he 
can recall the details. 

Among the studio furniture, but standing: back in 
a recess, is a large, comfortable-looking, old-fashioned 
sofa, covered with the skins of beasts. It seems a sofa, 
pure and simple, but when we have tugged off the 
heavy cushion, behold the handle of a lid ! I raise this 



242 



LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 



lid and reveal untold treasure, the discovery of which 
makes an epoch in the life of a lover of art and of 
animals. Hidden away here for years, in the bowels 
of an unobtrusive piece of furniture, innumerable rolls 
of paper composed of the first sketches of the cream of 
a life's work have reposed. 

Some of the designs are so beautiful and perfect in 
the higher qualities of light and shade, and composition, 
and expression, that, to a lover of sketches like myself, 
they are far more interesting than the more elaborate 
works of which they were the precursors. To make 
use of the musical simile once more, they resemble an 
infinitely touching, infinitely simple air, rather than the 
complex, scientific, instrumental display. And yet they 
show rare mastery, because they are the true offspring 
of a cultured mind ; and the extraordinary knowledge 
which has called them into being is mental as well as 
manipulative. They show no trick of execution, no 
mannerism, no sameness. In every case they bring us 
face to face with nature without an effort and without 
technical display ; and yet to the trained eye it is easy 
to see that the technique is of the highest order. What 
the hand has caused the chalk to express with a few 
touches in as many seconds, it has taken years of hard, 
devoted study to master. Indeed, if we believe the 
evidence of some of the best judges in existence, sup- 
ported in a humble way by the evidence of our own 
senses, only one man has mastered it. 

The sketches, for the most part, are in black chalk 



THE SOFA'S CONTENTS 243 

upon plain " whity-brown," or "continuous cartoon" 
paper. They include, in the first place, the whole 
series of the designs which were reproduced in litho- 
graphy for Mr. Elliott's monographs of the Cats, the 
Birds of Paradise, and the Pheasants ; and however 
much the lithographs might be preferred to the sketches 
for scientific purposes by scientific men, no trained artist 
would hesitate one instant in his choice between the 
two. They prove again, with irresistible evidence, the 
rule to which there seem to be no exceptions, that the 
bloom, so to speak, of Wolf's work — its more subtle 
refinements, and that which isolates it, inevitably die 
under other hands than his own, a death violent or 
gentle as the case may be. 

The search in this great treasure-chest is too excit- 
ing and important to be compassed in a day, for no 
Egyptologist has unrolled the papyri that revealed 
the history of some unknown king, with more painful 
excitement and suspense than I feel as I read the in- 
scription and strip off the grimy cover of each package. 
There are surprises too, not only for me, but for the 
artist. As usual, his pipe goes out as the old friends 
of his prime, with all their associations, greet him once 
more ; from some little Tiger-cat a few inches long, to 
a nearly life-size Elk bayed by Wolves. He recalls 
his valiant efforts, by means of skilfully placed twigs or 
flower-stems, to bend the tails of Pheasants aside, so that 
they shall come within the prescribed boundaries (and 
those no narrow ones) of an ddition de htxe and yet 



244 LIFE OF JOSEFFI WOLF 

look natural. A good deal besides the mere names and 
habitats of the species returns to his memory, and at 
last he says quietly, " I have done a good deal of work 
in my time." 

Some of the sketches are for life-size Eagle pictures ; 
but the birds have a whole prairie of paper round them, 
and merely the marginal lines of the subjects are shown, 
or a few indications of the backgrounds. Touching 
the large margin the artist said, " An Eagle in a con- 
" fined sj)ace looks wretched — where he can't move, 
" you know. It went rather against me in painting 
" bird ]iictures, that very idea, to say nothing of the 
"enormous can\'ases life-size Eao-les and Falcons 
" require. We are accustomed to see birds in plenty 
" of s]:)ace." As a protest against the opposite, he 
has sometimes painted a subject such as " Come down 
in the World," just referred to, or "Spring in Seven 
Dials," w-here a poor Skylark in a tiny cage, pours 
forth to the sky ol St. Martin's-in-the-Fields, the song 
he longs to sing once more in fields of a different kind. 

.Scarcely anything in the studio is locked up, but a 
small oaken cabinet is an exception. On being opened, 
the drawers are found to be crammed with plethoric 
little portfolios about the size of an octavo book ; and 
into these, again, are crushed hundreds of carefully 
classified sketches in all materials, of mammals, birds, 
reptiles, trees, foreground and other foliage, landscapes, 
mountains, and even wikl-fiowers. Each portfolio 
bears its own German inscription, such as '' Falcons," 




ThK SlAMANG. 
{Froi>i an Unjinished Water-Colour Sketch ^rom Li^e.) 



THE CABINET OF SKETCHES 245 

" Eagles," " Grouse and Partridges, ' " Small Cats," 
" Large Cats," "Antelopes," &c. ; and each lies in its 
own appointed place. There are no surprises here, 
for every sketch in the multitude, and every incident 
attending it are known to the author, to say nothing of 
the life history of every subject. He knows them as 
well as a carpenter knows his own bradawls and gimlets 
from his mate's ; and, indeed, these sketches may not 
inaptly be termed Wolfs well-worn bradawls, gimlets, 
and chisels. They have been used so often in his 
work that most of them are vio-netted with the orinie 

o o 

of a thousand thumbings, from the thumbs not only of 
himself, but of his friends. Some of the sketches are 
highly finished, and many of these are the originals of 
the auto-lithographs which were done for The Pro- 
ceedings of The Zoological Society. In a separate 
division of their own are those early miniatures I have 
so often referred to, sparkling, gkjwing, and inexplicable 
as ever, after nearly half a century has passed. 

The first feeling; on looking at the contents of this 
cabinet is one of deep regret that they have not been 
more carefully preserved. They have been rubbed 
together and shuffled like cards ; exposed to the soot 
which gently falls without ceasing inside a London 
drawer ; held by the same fingers which were revelling 
in the magical smudges of the large charcoal drawings, 
and generally evilly entreated. They show, in fact, the 
signs of constant use which the implements of all hard 
workers bear upon them. The next thing to strike me 



246 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

is the literally enormous power of drawing, and of 
seizing upon the essential points and characters 
peculiar to each in a thousand animate and inanimate 
objects. As to the lovely art of expression — of con- 
veying the appearance of much finish and modelling 
by slight work, we find it here in perfection, and 
numbers of instances might be given. As an example 
of elaboration, showing how the power I have alluded 
to has been acquired, I may mention the feet and tarsi 
of a Goshawk, Buzzard, Heron, and others. The 
object of these drawings was to learn thoroughl)' the 
anatomy, and the arrangement and detail of the scales 
and scutella;. So Wolf sat himself clown (in the same 
dogged spirit as when he began to copy the engraving 
of the Queen ot Prussia) and drew an elaborate map, 
giving the individual shape of each scale, and its exact 
relative position. 

Touching the small number of people who can tell 
at a glance the right foot of a bird from the left, if 
not attached to the body, he gives a ready method. 
" The inner toe has one joint only, the one next the 
" tarsus without the nail. The middle toe has two 
"joints and the nail ; the outer toe has one more. And 
" with regard to the claws, particularly with the Birds of 
" Prey, the inner toe has a claw as strong as the claw 
"on the hind toe. These two toes meet in clutching." 

It is always a good sign when the opposite poles 
of the artistic globe can be discovered in an artist's 
portfolios, showing equal mastery — the utmost freedom 



HIS HOMELINESS 247 

and learned slightness, and the utmost elaboration 
which brush or pencil can convey to paper. " I don't 
" admire a man," says Pascal, " that enjoyeth a Vertue 
" in its full perfection, unless he does at the same time 
" possess in the like degree the opposite Vertue. . . . 
" One does not show his Greatness by being in an 
" extream, but by touching both extreams at once, and 
" filling up the vacant space." 

But now, overhead in the gallery my host added 
to the studio, for the purpose I described before, 
a mysterious kettle begins to sing its cheery summons 
to an evening meal. Mounting a narrow staircase 
which takes me by the insect cases, I have a bird's-eye 
view of all below, and can return the stare of the 
great Moose. It is up here that the essentially 
bachelor and essentially simple character of Wolfs life 
reveal themselves. There is a small gas-stove ; and 
on this, for many years, he has cooked an omelette for 
breakfast, and for dinner, a piece of stewed beef large 
enough for the Starlings and Sparrows to share with 
him. For many years he has daily divided his 
omelette into a certain number of pieces, and washed 
down his beef with a strict ration of bottled beer or 
whiskey and water. There is an attendant or two about 
the studios of course, but our friend finds it much more 
satisfactory to be independent as we are here to-day. 
Mellow claret and ancient whiskey can be produced 
from a dark recess (mysteriously connected with a 
store of his favourite anthracite coal), for the old friends 



248 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

who often come to smoke the pipe of peace ; but we are 
both foncl of plain hving, and are content with simpler 
fare. 

I sec that for several hours every day the sun 
pours in through a small window upon some frames 
which hang close to us, holding row upon row of 
experiments in the permanency of colours ; and I find 
that these experiments (and others in different trying 
positions) were carried out so long ago, so neatly and 
systematically that they are more interesting than 
many I have seen. Indigo, of course, was soon found 
wanting, and Wolf discarded it many years ago. 
As a substitute, he has adopted Newman's cyanide 
blue and lamp-black. 

Over our coffee we talk, as usual, of a ereat 
variety of subjects, but there is a remarkable absence 
from my host of the garrulity of age, and several 
other points strike me in his conversation. Chief 
among them are the singular pertinence and vigour 
of his remarks (the hammer falling fair and squcU'e 
upon the nail time after time), his quickness of per- 
ception, and his innate love of fairness ; shown, for 
instance, in such matters as his criticism of other 
zoological artists. Of these we discuss several, and 
he points out their respective strong points (also 
giving his opinion as to where they fail), as fairly as 
he points out his own deficiencies. He speaks highly 
of a rising zoological artist, whose skill, exactness, and 
unmercenary industry, sometimes remind me of Wolf, 




OSPKKYS. 
(.1 Charcoal Drav 



■'A') 



ZOOLOGICAL ARTISTS 249 

" did work hard to get his birds right, I can 

" tell you. He used to come here very often, and I 
"would tell him where he was wrong." Then he 
speaks as follows of an ornithological draughtsman : — 

" With regard to knowledge of detail ■ stands 

" very high indeed. He knows all the detail of feather- 
" ing. Where he is wrong is that he has not done 
" enough from nature. He excuses himself by saying 
" that they don't pay him sufficient to enable him to 
" spend the time. If anything looks extraordinary in 
" nature he gets shy of it — declares that it is ugly, and 
" that people will not like it. In drawing the Osprey, 
"which is entirely different from all other Birds of 
" Prey — a stupid, silly thing, he is afraid to show that. 
" The people he works for will not like that be- 
" cause they don't know it. I lent him studies of 

" Ospreys, and pointed out the characters, but 

" produced a thing with a Buzzard's outline and 
" Osprey's markings. He may possibly draw from 
" life such things as Herons which stand like a post ; 
" but he does not consult living things sufficiently." 

Of a very popular painter of the Fclidfc whose 
works he is unable to admire, he says, "His markings 
are sozvn without natural order or arrangement." 
He mentions how easy it is to draw a Tiger, till the 
markings have to be added with all their complexities 
of perspective and modelling, " However well you 
" model and perfect the drawing, directly you put the 
" stripes in and happen to make the least mistake, all 



2SO LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

" goes wrong. They get so narrow in the fore- 
" shortening as the surface goes away from you, that 
" they are hardly seen at all." With regard to his own 
consummate skill in this respect, and the admirable 
result, I have heard another zoological artist speak 
with enthusiasm. A notable example will be found in 
Col. Campbell's Indian Journal. 

He says, "The chief fault, among the modern 
' zoological draughtsmen is the want of artistic feeling 
' on the one hand ; and on the other hand, insufficient 
' study of the structure and detail of animals. The 
' artists who paint pictures from wild animals do not 
' pay sufficient regard to the truth. Their main aim is 
' to produce a picture ; and the better and more truthful 
' it is the less likely it is to sell. Grotesque things 
' will sell, and caricatures will sell — the only branch of 
' art which some people think worth looking at. The 
' principle of ' shoddy ' in cloth — of good enough to sell. 
'goes through everything nowadays. If a thing is 
'worth doing it is worth doing well; but nowadays 
' the poor fellows are glad to earn a few shillings by 
' doing anything." "They have come to the conclu- 
' sion," he adds, with an expression of disgust, "that 
' subject is nothing in a picture. The chief thing is 
' ' lioza it looks.' What it means is beside the mark." 
Touching some modern painters' apparent indiffer- 
ence to much of the loveliness of nature he says, "If 
" it were a clown's cap, you know, that was worn in 
' Shakespeare's time, they would be most careful to 



BACKGROUNDS 251 

' get the markings perfectly true, and they would go to 
' the British Museum to study the subject. But here, 
' in the case of the way Nature has ornamented these 
' things for thousands of generations, they are in- 
' different. I beheve that if a typical landscape- 
' painter were to settle down to paint on the coast, 
' near the breeding-place of the sea-fowl, and there 
' were thousands and thousands of them about him, 
' he would hardly look up. Perhaps he would say, ' I 
' wonder what all those birds are there for.' " " How 
' few," he adds, " know the language of Nature ; and 
' yet it is a most eloquent language. . . . How very 
' seldom you find anybody who can interpret truly 
' what he sees, and how seldom you will find even an 
' artist who will stand still and admire beautiful 
' foliage, or picturesque arrangements of leaves." 

This leads us to talk, as we have often done, of 
the backo-rounds or accessories with which zoolog-ical 
draughtsmen are wont to pack in their animals — the 
" appropriate scenery all coloured with great care by 
hand" of the prospectus. I remark that the appalling 
composition and draughtsmanship of some of these 
accessories,^ in works well known to both of us, seem 
to have been received, both by scientific men and by 
the public, with quite as much favour as the carefully 
pondered work abounding in knowledge of composition 
and detail, and in the knowledge that subdues and 

' Some of these accessories have been apphed to copies of Wolf's oun 
animals ! See Brehm's Tierleben. 



252 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

harmonizes that detail. Deploring this state of things, 
Wolf mentions as an example, how naturalists will often 
perplex artists by making them put in a large expanse 
of landscape, or trees, or some other large object, as a 
background to a small bird. He asks the pertinent 
question, " AVhen you look down upon a little Wagtail 
what landscape can you see ? " Let the reader try the 
experiment for himself 

In answer to a question as to what were his 
favourite subjects, he says, " I had periods when 
Falcons were favourite subjects, and periods when 
other things were favourites. There were so many 
things I enjoyed doing. At different times through- 
out life you make the acquaintance of different animals, 
and change your favourites. At onetime Deer were 
m)- favourites. Like every boy I was fond of 
Leopards and that sort of thing. You take to that 
kind of thing as a kind of duty when you know 
that your life is to be that of an animal-painter. I 
liked Monkeys very well, but I also liked Antelopes, 
besides all Animals of Prey. These will always be 
favourites of mine. Domestic cattle I never could 
take to somehow or other, because my father had 
Vi/orried me too much with our horses. And yet it 
was a jolly time then. I used to attend to the cattle 
(or did not attend to them), and we used to steal the 
potatoes, and cook them in the ashes of our bon- 
fires." \\\ birds he considers his strongest point the 
Birds of Prey and the Gallinaceous order. " Ducks," 



HIS BEST WORKS 253 

he says, " are nice things too — in fact all birds have a 
charm for me." 

In connection with the subject of his favourites, 
he gives me a brief list of some works which he himself 
considers as among his best and most characteristic, 
as follows. A water-colour version of the Ovis poH 
drawing, done originally for Sir Victor Brooke. " Age," 
an old Red Deer stag lagging behind the rest which 
have passed through the forest in the snow, with a few 
gleams of light seen between the tree-trunks. This 
he regards as one of the best black and white designs 
that he has ever clone. " A Midniofht Ramble, " the 
Wild Boar subject in charcoal, also painted in water- 
colour for his friend Mr. Carl Haag. " A Storm 
in the Alps," representing some Chamois sheltering 
under dwarf firs, with an Alpine Hare and Ptarmigan. 
Among his best water-colours he includes " Inquisitive 
Neighbours " ; " Grave and Gay " ; " Ospreys Fishing " 
(a water-colour companion to the Ovis poli design) ; 
and last, but not least, a drawing of a Labrador Jer- 
falcon painted for his friend Mr. H. E. Dresser, of 
which more hereafter. Of his oil pictures he mentions 
the " Jerfalcons and Kite" which I have alluded to 
already, and a life-size picture of an Ibex and Lammer- 
geyer painted for Mr. J. H. Gurney. The artist has, 
of course, his own definite reasons for these preferences 
(into which it will not be profitable to enquire in the 
absence of the works in question), and sometimes, no 
doubt, pleasant associations have had their weight. 



254 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

In the list of his most attractive, if not, perhaps, 
his best works, I should be tempted to include two or 
three that I have myself seen, beginning with a large 
water-colour drawing, "Arctic Summer,"^ touching 
which its owner, Mr. H. E. Dresser, gave me some in- 
teresting particulars. At The Junior Atheneeum some 
artists were talking of the alleged difficulty of painting 
white upon white ; a white figure upon a white 
background ; and, in consequence, he suggested an 
experiment to Wolf The result was this drawing of 
Jerfalcons painted in 1875. The male bird sits upon 
a foreground rock on the left, his white plumage in a 
delicate and perfectly natural relief against the glacier 
in the distance, rosy in the sun. A gentle shadow from 
the high rock behind the spectator falls over part ot the 
bird and the foreo-round, subduino- the beautiful colours 
of the flowers. It steals also over a portion of the 
middle distance, where the full-fledged young sit to- 
gether, their hungry eyes fixed upon a Ptarmigan, with 
which their mother, flying near them, lures them to an 
early lesson in their craft. That everything might be 
true to nature, down to the flowers and other vesfe- 
tation, Mr. Dresser consulted the notes Mr. Edward 
Whymper had made in Greenland. 

I was giving Wolf his friend's account of the 
origin of this drawing, the discussion as to the 
difficulty of painting white upon white, and he said, 

' Another version of " Arctic .Summer " (by no means a replica) shows 
the young Falcons alone. 




Equals. 



COLOUR HARMONIES 255 

" It is not difficult at all. White models very strongly. 
" For instance, the round form of a bird, a Ptarmigan 
"we will say, is sure to have a shadow on one side. 
" Then there is always a difference of tone. The 
" snow will be cold white, and the Ptarmigan creamy 
" — a lovely white, you know. The fact is, if you see 
" a dead Ptarmigan lying on the ground with its wings 
" slightly separated from its body, the colour between 
"the wings and the body is quite salmon-colour. In 
"this instance the Falcon sits on a rock, but high 
" above him the rock goes up, and throws a shadow 
" over the lower part of his body. If the snow back- 
" ground were near him, he would relieve warm 
"against it ; but, being distant, it appears rosy in the 
" sun." 

The solution of problems such as these, so dear to 
the mind of a colourist, has been favourite work with 
our friend, ever since the days when, as a lad, he 
stumbled on the mystery of the complementary 
colours, and the way to give the brilliancy of his first 
Goldfinch. Possibly all the owners of his finest water- 
colours are not aware that they are colour harmonies 
as beautiful and skilful and delicately fingered as any 
ever awakened by a musician's hands. 

I should also include among Wolf's finest works 
another large black and white drawing. Two mighty 
Boars, roaming the forest in the snow, have met by 
chance at night ; and full of envy, hatred and all un- 
charitableness, make up their minds that discretion, per- 



256 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

haps, is the better part of valour on that particular 
occasion. Gnashing their tusks, they pass one another, 
every bristle raised, and every great muscle quivering 
with rage. It is a subject after Wolfs own heart, 
for it is nocturnal and mysterious — the romance of 
natural history, and a little more than a mere accurate 
figure of two adult S specimens of Sns scrofa. 

Remembering the many drawings of ugly animals he 
has had to make for scientific purposes, I ask my host 
whether he found them very irksome. He answers, 
" When a thing is ugly in itself it is very wearisome to 
" have to draw it carefully, but at last one ceases to 
"see that it is ugly."' No doubt he has found this 
discipline useful, like another artist I knew, who would 
sit down sometimes and "go to school to a potato," or 
draw some equally ugly object as if his life depended 
on it. 

Asked which class of purchasers he has found most 
common, the genuine admirers of the works, or those 
who thought it just as well to have a " Wolf" in their 
collection, he replies that he has found those most fre- 
quent who bought a work because they liked it, and he 
thinks that his being a foreigner has made no difference. 
" But, generally, before a gentleman buys a picture he 
■' asks his wife. She comes to see it, and says after- 
" wards, ' My dear, I have not seen anything like that 
" ' in our friends' houses. Do you think we had better 

' Among- the \'ei-y ugliest of his sitters were the Manatee and a promis- 
ing \-oung Wah-us. This animal he rightly likened to a sack of potatoes. 



GERMAN OR ENGLISH 257 

" 'have it ?' He does not have it." " To what class 
" of the pubHc have you most appealed," I ask. " I 
" have not the slightest idea," he replies. 

He tells me that though he has been longer in 
England than most Englishmen, he has never gone 
through the formality of naturalization, and is still a 
German subject. He says it makes no difference in 
practical affairs, and that the shopkeepers would have 
cheated him just the same if he had been naturalized. 
He has preserved a warm attachment to his little 
village and his countrymen ; but although he is at heart, 
perhaps, a German, and thinks very little of a man 
who loves not his country and kindred, he has also a 
natural affection for his adopted land, where he has 
ac hieved so much, and for the friends he has made 
there. When they have died, he has always paid a 
visit to their graves, when he could. 

It is no doubt owing to his forbearance and good 
sense that he does not convey the impression of being 
a foreigner, and it is easy to forget that he is one. He 
tells me that he has got so used to our language that 
he thinks in English, not in German. No doubt with 
his own countrymen he seems a true German, but to 
me he rarely conveys that impression by speech or 
manner. His friend, Mr. H. E. Dresser, however, 
writes to me thus : — " I think in your Life of 
" Wolf you should lay stress on the fact that, though 
" he has lived so long in England, he has remained 
" German in his ideas and to a large extent in his 

s 



2s8 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

" habits, and has never become an EngHshman ; 
" being, as you know, still as true a German as 
" ever." Mr. Dresser is so familiar with the German 
people and language, and so old and intimate a friend 
of Wolf's, that this opinion carries great weight. The 
point, however, is not a very important one. 

As we rise from the table, it occurs to me that all 
the most interesting information I have gathered about 
Wolf and his works has generally arisen out of sheer 
accident, not by cross-questioning. Most incongruous 
remarks, or incidents, or questions, have awakened a 
train of thought in his mind, much to my benefit. " I 
" have found it," he says, "just the same in art. You 
" may think and think, but nothing comes. All at 
" once, by accident, you get a beautiful subject. I have 
" noticed that when I have been sitting with a friend 
" downstairs of an evening, talking of different things 
" altogether, but always with an eye to the picture on 
" the easel, that, all at once, I saw something which I 
" had never seen before." 

By this time the Blackbird outside is sinaino- his 
evening song, and London dines. Before I leave, 
we arrange that my friend shall pay us a country visit 
to renew his acquaintance with the Swallows and Sedge 
Warblers. He chooses a fresh pipe from a large col- 
lection, to smoke while he waters his garden ; and as 
he does so he says emphatically, " There is nothing like 
smoking a pipe in- tJie loorid" All the most enthusi- 
astic things that smokers have ever said or written he 



HIS LOVE OF CHILDREN 259 

would doubly endorse, and it was therefore inevitable 
that he should design a pipe-bowl or two. Of one of 
these designs, intended for execution in meerschaum, 
he says, what I have heard him say of very few other 
works of his, " I wouldn't part with that for anything." 
Even for his old tobacco-pouches he finds a use ; for 
sometimes he fills them with cocoa-fibre and drops 
them on an unfrequented pavement. Watching from 
afar, sooner or later he sees the pouch picked up. 
Sometimes the finder slips it furtively into his pocket, 
.sometimes he opens it (with amusing results), and 
on one occasion the trap was carefully re-set- 

As we pass the porter's lodge on the way out, a 
little baby-boy,^ in his father's arms recognises Wolf as 
a special favourite, and screams to go to him. " Of 
"late years I have become very fond of children, and 
" I like to hear their young voices and their jolly laugh- 
" ter," says my stalwart friend. As he stands at the 
private entrance of the studios, I see him, as he waves 
an adieu, nursing one of the tiny puppies, while its 
mother wags her tail by his side, and the fragrant smoke 
of his pipe wreathes about his head. 



1 The tour of this faithful little friend of the artist's round his studio is 
an amusing sight. One after another, he greets the various works on the 
walls, and easels, and chairs, with a shout of recognition and delight, 
toddling to each in turn with outstretched arm. He knows each "dicky," 
"bunny," and " pussy" in the room, and claps his hands with joy. He 
even tries to frighten away the Eagles with his pinafore. Finalh' he pats 
the seat of his friend's favourite chair, as a hint for him to sit down, and 
that accomplished climbs upon his knee. 

S 2 



26o 



LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 



It is hot June weather, and Wolf has kept his pro- 
mise to spare me a few days, far away in the remotest 
part of Surrey, a neighbourhood remarkable for its 




S^gyr^ 



PfeRE David's Deer 



richness in bird life.^ It was rather difficult to persuade 

' It is on the commons in this neighbourhood, as related by Gould, 
that Mr. Smither, that most original man and keen naturalist, collected in 
the spring of 1859 no less than sixty-five nests of the Dartford Warbler. 1 



IN THE COUNTRY 261 

him to leave his Httle garden and many tender seedHngs 
to the care of the porter at the studios ; but now that 
he has unpacked his pipe and tobacco, and a favourite 
pair of pistols (designed by himself many years ago), 
he resigns himself to his fate, to the intense joy of the 
children, with whom he is a very special favourite. 

On meeting fairly early the next morning we find 
that our guest has been up for at least three hours. He 
says " As one can't add to the number of one's days, 
one must add to the length of them." As he concocts 
with his own hands the invariable omelette, he tells us 
all about an unsuspected Goldfinch's nest he has dis- 
covered, and how he has been watching the old birds 
feeding their young. In the course of the clay, as he 
roams about with his pipe, he finds out another nest 
or two, which have escaped even boyish eyes ; but 
he is especially pleased with the chorus of Swallows 
and Martins which is kept up all day round 
the old eaves and chimneys ; their dainty little songs 
always reminding him of the remote days when he 
watched so anxiously for their return. 

We plant a comfortable garden chair in the shade 
of a horse-chestnut, and here he alternately listens to 
the music all round him, and studies the modelling of 
a muscular Fox Terrier. " Trim," like the kittens, 

was introduced to him some twenty years later, and remember being struck 
by his originahty and enthusiasm. He was in bed (I think with a broken 
leg), and had been blowing a nest-full of Dartford's eggs, which lay on the 
quilt. His house was full of the trophies of his gun ; a most interesting 
collection, still treasured by his family. 



262 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

becomes a fast friend with him in a moment, and 
vibrates his two-inch tail in a way which altogether 
belies his usual uncharitable opinion of strangers. As 
Wolf smokes and looks about him, he holds in his hand 
a box of matches, and gradually but surely the ground 
in front of him is besprinkled with the ends. 

First on our programme for the day come some 
photographs I have to take, and he changes his white 
Leo-horn hat for his favourite " Tam o' Shanter," the 
successor of a whole series of the Turkish fez. As I 
wish to use a slow lens at first, which, in the light of 
the studio, will require a long exposure, I am rather 
doubtful whether my sitter will be able to keep firm 
without supports of any kind. " Try me," he says, as 
he places himself instinctively in a good position. The 
result the reader will see in the frontispiece. 

As the day is a calm one, we make up our minds 
to indulge in a little shooting, and having hung up a 
small target on the butts, we go back to a considerable 
range. There, again, his steadiness astonishes me, 
for he puts shot after shot from my -295 Holland rifle 
into or near the bull's-eye. He complains a little 
about the haziness of the rear sio-ht, nevertheless ; and 
it is rather a relief to him when he takes up his small- 
bore, hair-trigger pistols, the rear-sight of which he 
can get farther from his eye. It is easy to see from 
the way he handles his weapons and sets to work, 
not only that he thoroughly enjoys it, but that he must 
have had a large experience. 



HIS KEEN SENSES 263 

It is hot work in the sun, and he feels that the 
effort of keeping steady is bringing on a twinge or two 
of his old enemy, the nervous rheumatism ; so we 
adjourn to the shady seat by the river. He has just 
settled down on the cushions with his usual expression 
of satisfaction — " By Jove! Ca^-ital ! " when he holds 
up his finger with the words, " Lesser Whitethroat ! " 
He is right, for though the bird is far distant, it pre- 
sently comes along the alders, and there is no doubt 
about it. He scarcely ever boasts of anything, but he 
does boast that he knows not only the striking distinc- 
tive notes of many of the European birds, but most of 
the varieties of their language. Being well able to 
realize what such knowledge involves, as far as England 
is concerned, I was, perhaps, a little sceptical at first ; 
but, from time to time, I have had ample proof that he 
is right. The slightest glimpse of a moving bird, 
even half concealed by foliage — the slightest utterance 
of that bird's voice, enables him to tell you the species. 
He says, " If you were to put me in prison for some 
" years, then blindfold me, and bring me out into the 
"country, I could tell you what time of year it was by 
"the bird's notes." I admit that much that I have told 
sounds incredible, but I have proved the truth of it 
for myself; and I must leave others to believe or reject, 
as they like. 

You would not suspect that behind the great, round 
spectacles there existed such keen vision. But the 
unassisted vision, keen though it be, would be futile 



264 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

without the knowledge which has been acquired by 
years of study. He says that his quickness of sight 
was gained through constantly watching things in move- 
ment, and continually sketching them from memory. 
The power of grasping the characters of moving objects 
or of giving the appearance of movement is, in fact, 
seldom found existing in very great perfection in the 
artist who relies much on photography. The perpetual 
struggle to do by memory and hand and mind, what 
another man prefers to do by means of his camera and 
proportional compasses leads in time — perhaps a long 
time, to a great superiority. 

As we sit in the shade by the river, he gives me 
a rough outline of his methods of working. It is not 
very comprehensive, but it is very interesting as tar as 
it goes. He says, "You get into a way of working 
" which you can't describe. The great thing is to keep 
" on zuorking!' Jointly with his habit of attacking the 
most disagreeable or difficult thing first, this seems to 
me to be one of the most important elements of success 
in art or in life. Theorize as much as you like, try 
endless experiments if need be, but keep on work- 
ing. 

I find that Wolf deprecates the tentative way some 
artists go to work to piece their pictures together, 
either by the aid of photographs or otherwise ; and 
contrasts it with composing con aiuore from a distinct 
mental vision or conception of the subject. He thinks 
that such vital points as composition and the arrange- 



BACKGROUNDS AND ACCESSORIES 265 

ment of colour and light and shade should be carefully 
thought out in the first instance. He thinks also (as 
other intellectual artists have done), that a picture 
should be a homogeneous creation of the intellect and 
the imamnation ; not a more or less fortuitous selection 
of facts patched and pieced together, partly out of 
doors, partly in the studio, with a dash of photography 
and a rummage in the property-box. This being his 
belief he has escaped those incongruities of perspective 
and light and shade which are often found in works of 
the opposite kind, beautiful though they may be with a 
rule-of-thumb beauty. 

"I find," says my guest, speaking low for the sake 
of an inquisitive Moorhen a few yards away, " that the 
" landscape studies I have done will never form a 
"proper background or foreground, and I have always 
" to modify and adapt them. When you see a nice 
" thing in nature, you sit down and make a study ; and 
"when it is finished there is no room left for any animal 
" which you had intended to put in. It is a composi- 
" tion in itself As a rule I find that everything has to 
" be simplified. If you want to do justice to your 
" principal animal or figure, you ought to put the back- 
" ground, as it were, out of focus. According to the 
" figure of the animal which forms the principal object 
" in the picture, you must avoid getting into your 
"accessories similar forms and objects of the same 
"degree of solidity. For instance, in 'Strength and 
"Weakness' [Rhinoceroses and Indian Axis Deer] 



,66 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

' I avoided anything in the shape of a tree-trunk or 
' rock— anything- which would rival the solidity of 
' the Rhinoceroses. Instead of that, I chose loose, 
' feathery stuff, and bamboo with elegant willow-like 
'leaves. . . . In doing birds — simply a bird on a twig,' 
' I always used to avoid getting the same size of leaf as 
' the bird, or the same shape. The fact is that ninety- 
' nine per cent, of what you see in nature is of no use 
' to you, and should be avoided." He learned com- 
position, he says, by illustrating. " The thing has to 
be finished by a certain time, and you go far more 
free and easy to work than in the case of a commis- 
sion." He disliked illustrations so arranged that the 
book had to be turned round to look at them, and so 
he gradually got into the way of composing, and I think 
preferring, upright subjects. 

He says, " Excessive knowledge of detail hampers 
" me very often in doing things picturesquely, and in 
" trying to work broadly. It has a tendency to inter- 
" fere very often in art. For instance, in the case of 
" Hippopotami, I know very well that they come up 
■' with hardly a ripple— yet everybody thinks there 
" would be a great commotion in the water. It is 
" far more difficult to get breadth in a composition 
" when you are hampered by detail, than if you 
" do not know the detail, and slur it over." The trouble- 
some nature of excessive knowledije ot detail is one 

o 

' Wolfs " bird on a tn'iy" is often a perfect paragon of skilful arrange- 
ment and grace. 



PREFERS NOCTURNAL SUBJECTS 267 

reason why he likes nocturnal subjects. " My preference 
" for night scenes is due to there being more poetry 
" about them than when everything is seen clearly. 
" At night the detail disappears altogether. An ugly 
" animal, particularly, like a Wild Boar, makes a far 
" better picture by moonlight." He even avoids 
representing a clear moon in a picture, and prefers a 
clouded one ; and for the same reason, he has preferred 
northern subjects (such as Scandinavian) to Oriental. 
He once made a water-colour landscape study of a 
Wild Boar by moonlight ^ for his friend Mr. Carl Haag, 
whose natural bent, he says, is to prefer things clear 
and sharp as seen in the East by daylight. He omitted 
the eyes which, save for a glint or two, as he had 
proved, could not be seen by moonlight. He had, 
however, considerable difficulty to convince his friend 
that he was right. "It is of great importance to 
know what to leave out in nocturnal subjects." 

Light and shade, he thinks, are quite as important 
as local colour. "In my case I cannot choose the local 
" colour of the creatures. They have their own, and I 
" am tied to that ; and in order to make that local colour 
" tell I have to introduce as near as possible the com- 
" plementary colour in the accessories. I want to be 
" truthful in colour as well as in drawing ; and when I 
"do a picture I am tied down by the local colour, and 
" cannot put in the combination as well as I would 

1 "A Midnight Ramble." 



268 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

"choose ; so, except in the background, there is very 
" httle choice." 

Touching size it is interesting to find how he has 
changed since the early days when he did miniatures, 
partly from the inability to cover a larger surface. 
" The size of a water-colour," he says, " has nothing to 
" do with the time it takes. In a large one you go to 
" work more boldly and use larger brushes. I would 
" rather do a drawinof larofe than small." ' 

o o 

I asked him why, as he was so fond of black and 
white, he had done so little in pen and ink. He 
answered, " Pen and ink work did not suit the detail 
" which I knew. When you know a thing it takes you 
" much longer to satisfy yourself than if you do not 
" know it much. My knowledge has often stood in 
" my way." 

When an artist has arrived at such a pitch of 
mastery over technique and materials as Wolt has 
done ; when he can take up a bit of charcoal and a 
certain magical, superannuated brush, and turn out 
such a work as the first sketch for " Captivity " (where 
a pair of kittens filch a Pigeon from beneath a hooded 
Falcon's perch) ; when he can work wonders by simply 
flinging his wash-leather at a sky, as he did in the 
beautiful drawing of a dead Lion with Vultures called 
" Morning " — when he can do all this, it is quite as use- 
less to ask him to describe how he does it, as it would 

' Some of these remarks may appear to the trained artist self-evident, 
but I have inserted them for the benefit of the inexperienced. 




Captivity, 



HIS FAVOURITE MATERIA I 269 

be to ask Joachim how he fingers his violin, or a first- 
rate gun-maker how he bores a pair of barrels. 

It is interesting, nevertheless, to learn that in some of 
his black and white work Wolf rubs in his backgrounds 
(clouds for instance) with a pocket-handkerchief or 
cotton-wool, or " anything " ; taking out the lights with 
bread, or a mezzotint scraper. Sometimes he grinds 
the point of this scraper round for putting in his 
favourite reeds, and it is easily seen that he has used the 
same tool in his lithographs. For glitter, such as that 
of dew-drops on vegetation, he scratches into the 
surface of the paper. 

Charcoal, and its water-colour relative charcoal- 
grey are, above all others, his favourite materials. His 
charcoal is not in the form of the ordinary slender 
twigs, but of good sturdy stakes that fill the fingers 
and will not snap under the strain of sudden inspira- 
tion. I have known this great affection for charcoal 
to exist very strongly in another artist who also aimed 
at the more abstruse qualities in art ; a man to whose 
imagination the realms of the Indefinite were instinct 
with suggestive beauty and poetry. He called 
charcoal, aptly enough, "the artist's divining-rod"; 
and certainly, of all materials it seems to convey most 
freely that potent current which flows from the brain to 
the fingers of the poet-painter. Wolf might sharpen 
up his mezzotint scraper, or put a needle-point upon 
a 3-H pencil if he liked, for certain purposes ; but it 
was when he resorted to the all-powerful, all-suggestive 



2-jo LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

smudge, of finger, brush, wash-leather or cotton-wool, 
that one of his greatest mental as well as manual 
powers was shown. 

It might be supposed, at first sight, that many of 
our friend's black and white drawings, especially moon- 
lights, were done on paper of a blue tinge, the moon 
being painted in body-colour ; but this is not so. He 
says, "After my drawings are finished and properly 
"fixed (a point, of course, of vital importance), and 
" particularly if the paper has become yellow and dirty, 
" I wash them over with very faint Prussian blue, or 
" cobalt, or both — a washer-woman dodge, you know ; 
" but of course if any high lights have been scratched 
" out, the colour would settle in the scratches." A good 
example of the effect of this treatment is the exceed- 
ingly fine drawing I have already described, " A Night 
Attack." In this case the moon is represented by 
white paper. 

In reply to a few rather hopeless questions about 
his water-colour method, he tells me that he wipes out 
a good deal ; wetting the paper, and wiping out the 
colour with a handkerchief small sponge, or piece of 
wash-leather ; and sometimes blotting it up with blot- 
ting-paper. After this, and while the drawing is damp, 
he takes out the sharp high lights with India-rubber. 

Mr. H. E. Dresser has in his collection an exceed- 
ingly fine water-colour drawingof a Labrador Jerfalcon 
painted by Wolf in 1875, and remarkable for artistic 
quality, harmonious colouring and freedom of execution, 



HIS WATER-COLOUR METHOD 271 

and also for the short time it toolv to execute. 7"he 
rich brown bird, which is small for the size of the 
drawing, sits in the foreground with the remains of a 
Rock Ptarmigan he has been devouring lying round 
him. His mate sails in the misty sky, through which 
we see portions of the great mountains so beloved by the 
artist. Wolf thus describes his modus operandi in this 
and parallel cases. First of all a very delicate outline of 
the principal object is drawn on the paper in Indian 
ink, or other indelible material. The paper is then 
thoroughly wetted and laid upon a wet board, or sheet 
of glass, so that it lies absolutely flat. The sky is then 
put in, and the drawing is finished, as far as possible, 
while it is wet. When dry, it is mounted upon another 
sheet of strained paper. Probably it is found that the 
drawine is lisfhter than it was intended to be. It is 
therefore emphasized here and there, and then the 
principal object is finished. This process, says Wolf, 
is particularly suitable for clouds, as the colours blend 
so well into one another on the wet paper. 

This Jerfalcon subject was completed in about one 
day and a half, and the background and sky were 
done in a few hours, except the snowy mountains, 
which were elaborated. Mr. Dresser recently gave me 
some interesting additional particulars concerning this 
lovely work. He happened to call on Wolf when the 
drawing was finished with the exception of the bird, 
which was in outline only. The artist was in a diffi- 
culty because nearly all the Falcons were not suited in 



272 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

colour to the background. He described what he 
wanted, and said, " I wonder what I can do." '" I have 
the only bird that will do," said his friend, " the 
" Labrador Jerfalcon ; the only specimen of the fully 
adult in England." Mr. Dresser took the skin, and 
directly Wolf saw it he said, " That's exactly what I 
want." The result was a work that takes the highest 
rank in water-colour art, and has been considered by 
accomplished artists to be one of Wolfs very best 
achievements. 

I was lately recalling these circumstances to his 
mind when he said, " I wonder whether that skin was 
" the adult." " Dresser says so." " Yes, but you can't 
"get the register of its birth, you know." Here crops 
up once more the artist's indifference to authority, if 
he has not quite satisfied himself of a fact. 

He does much of his water-colour work with hoo-- 
hair brushes, from half an inch wide or so, and with 
good length of bristle, so as to hold plenty of colour. 
For skies he uses large sables, for some purposes an 
old brush irregularly cut, and for others a brush whose 
hair is split or divided with the fingers when it is wet. 
Rough rocks he calls into existence with a sponge, and 
for glitter he scratches into the paper, just as he does 
in black and white. When his water-colours are 
finished he sometimes applies in places what he calls 
Carl Haag's medium, that is gum tragacanth dissolved 
in chloroform. This has the same effect as varnish in 
oil painting, particularly in the dark parts. He says. 



"MASTERLY INACTIVITY" 273 

" I sometimes put the colour out of the tube direct 
" upon the paper, to get its full depth and purity, and 
" richness." 

As for the material upon which he has worked, he 
has preferred for his studies smooth, toned paper to 
Whatman, but has always painted his finished drawings 
on the latter. His sketches for the most part have 
been made in charcoal on ordinary whity-brown paper, 
a great favourite of his. I fancy that, with this ex- 
ception, he has been somewhat indifferent, as I have 
seen sketches of his on all kinds, and tints, and textures 
of paper, the only material conspicuously absent being 
Bristol or London board in spite of its great "bear- 
ing out " quality. 

The processes of which I have given an outline are, 
of course, easy enough to the painter as a rule ; but 
even he comes to a dead lock sometimes. He says, 
" I am always very particular, when I find a thing will 
"not go as I intended, not to bother myself I let it 
" dry and put it aside, perhaps for a day or two." Un- 
like another artist who also knew the importance of 
stopping short and not working for work's sake, he 
does not go to the length of packing up the drawing 
in much paper and string, to reduce the temptation to 
touch on it ; but such a veteran knows the importance 
of humouring the enemy — of swift attack and "masterly 
inactivity," each in its own time. 

Some of his most important work has been done 
while he has been apparently idling away an hour or 

T 



274 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

two over a social pipe, and chatting with his friends 
before his easels about anything but art. More still, 
and probably the most important of all, has been done 
with locked doors and intense concentration, and deep 
thought. 

In his opinions on art, as in his practice, Wolf is 
thoroughly eclectic. He does not pin his faith to one 
particular school, nor has he dogged the footsteps of 
any particular hero. He hardly understands those 
who have. " I cannot understand," he says, " the 
" narrow-mindedness of many of the English school. 

" They are full of or full of someone else, and will 

"pay no regard to anybody besides." As for himself, 
he admires with unaffected cordiality really fine work 
of any date, or nation, or style, or individual artist, 
wherever he encounters it, and hates with equal vehe- 
mence work which is specious, impudent, or wanting in 
conscientiousness. I have never heard a word come 
from his lips conveying the impression that he con- 
sidered himself a judge, but I have never heard more 
pertinent criticism than his, or seen greater quickness 
in artistic diagnosis. 

I once heard it contended by a fellow-countryman 
of his (whose knowledge of his works was not very 
extensive), that his art is essentially German. That 
whether he has drawn an English stubble, a Scotch 
loch, the African veldt, or even " Spring in Seven 
Dials," all have been treated in an essentially German 
way. Waxing warmer, the gentleman said that 



HIS ECLECTICISM 275 

none of our nation can appreciate or understand Wolfs 
achievements, while The Fatherland, to a man, would 
receive them with acclamation. My own acquaint- 
ance with my friend's work and with some weighty 
English opinion of it being considerable, I ventured 
to demur to these statements. I thought that with the 
exception of some of his Darmstadt studies, if his art 
was essentially anything, it was essentially eclectic and, 
so to speak, cosmopolitan. From the first, he avoided 
falling under the influence of any academy or school, 
or of any great artist ; and he was chiefly self-taught 
when he left Germany as a youth to continue his 
studies in England for a period of forty-seven years, 
self-taught to the end. When he was making fore- 
ground studies near Darmstadt, toiling up Foinaven, 
sketching on Handa or the Bass Rock, or labouring 
till he was giddy with fatigue at the drawings for the 
Zoological Society, I did not think that he was brood- 
ing over German art, any more than he was brooding 
over the achievements of Landseer,or Snyders,or James 
Ward. He endeavoured, I said, and endeavoured suc- 
cessfully, to throw himself into the spirit of the object or 
the scene which he happened to be representing ; charm- 
ing equally, either by extreme truthfulness, absence of 
mannerism, or great artistic skill, such dissimilar critics, 
(among a host of others) as Darwin, H. E. Dresser, 
Gould, Carl Haag, Landseer, Mitchell, Newton, Oswell, 
Owen, Rossetti, Rtippell, Schlegel, Sclater, A. Thorburn, 
Charles Whymper, Woolner, and the baby-boy at the 



276 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

lodge. This, too, whether it was a German forest, a 
Scotch mountain, an American wilderness, or a fine 
"adult specimen of so and so in breeding plumage" 
which he represented. All through this profitable 
discussion, our friend sat peacefully puffing away 
behind his spectacles, the picture of comfortable 
indifference. When we had done, he removed his pipe 
from his mouth and said these words : "I worked as 
" I thought best, without any intention to appear 
" English or to appear German. I always tried to 
" avoid copying other men's style or subjects." Here 
then, in Wolfs own words, I am content to leave the 
question of the nationality of his style. 

As for his knowledge, though immensely wide it 
is not desultory. It is well classified, and is always 
the result of the orderly evolution of principles from 
])henomena ; of the humble, painstaking wrestle with 
elements as a preliminary to all real proficiency. If 
he wonders at the want of toleration and eclecticism in 
some of the modern school, he is simply astounded at 
their contempt for these elements. A young painter, 
having been appointed to some art mastership, Wolf 
was chatting with him one day on the subject of teach- 
ing, and alluded to the importance to the pupil of some 
knowledge of perspective and anatomy. " Perspective ! 
" Anatomy ! "' said the newly-fiedged Professor. "That 
" is not Art.'" " There is no such thing as a finishing 
"school for an artist," says Wolf, as he tells me the 
anecdote. " One remains a student all throuo-h life." 



LOYALTY TO HIS IDEAL 



'-n 



Himself the most unmercenary of men, Wolf depre- 
cates the sordid spirit of certain painters who, even 
after they have become rich, behave like tradesmen, 
and paint just for the pounds, shillings and pence. Save 
for a few early pot-boilers (such as the Woodcock 
pictures), he himself has resolutely and loyally striven 
for a certain ideal, well knowing it to be as far removed 
from the ideal of the British public- as from the ideal 
of Councils and Hanging-committees. 

At the time when, with the most seductive alchemy, 
he could turn all his pencil touched to gold, he reso- 
lutely set apart a large proportion of his time to the 
patient, unostentatious acquisition of facts and principles ; 
labouring (for that is the true word), in his search for 
truth. As we have seen, this was not due to a mis- 
taken belief that his labours would be appreciated. It 
was simply the unmercenary, unswerving devotion of 
the true artist and the scrupulously honest man. If, 
with all his resources, such as his eye for colour, pro- 
found knowledge of detail, lively invention, draughts- 
manship, and attractive, rapid technique, he had 
painted thoroughly popular subjects — kittens, say, or 
cattle, or Fox Terriers, or anything equally far 
removed from the despised " Objects of Natural 
History," he might have grovelled in gold and become 
a fetich of the dealers. Even " shooting-coat " pictures, 
as he calls them, with such power as his, might have 
made him a baronet. But alas ! He had a certain 
definite ideal ; and again alas! He had imagination. 



278 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

By means of inflexible purpose, but flexibility in achiev- 
ing that purpose, combined with ceaseless industry, he 
has succeeded in his aim ; so, at the age of seventy-five, 
he remains plain Joseph Wolf, utterly unknown, it 
seems, to the editors of any biographical dictionary ; for- 
gotten, I tear, by some who once admired him ; but much 
beloved as an artist and as a man by a circle of enthu- 
siasts to whom it is no slio^ht honour to belono-. Con- 
tentedly he smokes his pipe down by this little Surrey 
river where we have been talkino;, or divides his morn- 
ing omelette into eight segments, rejoicing in that 
quiet mind and healthy body that he has been blessed 
with. 

As the shadows of the alders abo\'e us grow- 
longer, and the baby Owls in the neighbouring elms 
bethink them of their supper, 1 tell him how greatly I 
hope that some day his talent will be more widely 
recognised, if not here, at all events in his own land. 
I find he is neither very keen nor very sanguine about 
it. He has achieved that quiet philosophy which 
neither believes in nor desires popularity. He has 
lived into the age of high pressure and nine-day 
wonders in art, in literature, and all else — in art 
" Impressionism," in Literature the daily batch of 
novels. He may even have heard (as I have lately 
done, and that from a shrewd, educated man) the best 
picture defined as that which gives the greatest 
pleasure to the greatest number ! 

" As to my life," he says, " I was always very busy ; 



COMPARISON IMPOSSIBLE 279 

"never was in debt ; and didn't know what extrava- 
" gance meant. I believe that if I had ever so much 
"money I should never become extravagant. Here, at 
" the present time, a jolly blue sky and the green fields 
" have the same charm for me as when I was young. 
" I don't feel that I have grown old." 

I do not myself intend to compare Joseph Wolf's 
works with those of any other artist living or dead. 
His achievements, his artistic mastery, his ideal, and his 
manly loyalty appeal to me so strongly, and fill me with 
such overpowering admiration and respect, that I should 
fight against prejudice in vain. It would be difficult, 
moreover, to make a fair comparison. Few of the 
most successful animal painters have had to struggle 
against every conceivable disadvantage which could 
beset them as beginners. They have excelled not alone 
through their genius, but by constant practice within a 
limited range of subjects' — Deer and Horses, or Dogs 
and game ; or the Fehdce, for instance. Wolf, on the 
other hand, has had to fight his way upward, inch by 
inch, from his boyhood ; and yet has excelled in repre- 
senting almost all orders of the warm-blooded animals 
in the world, from an English Mouse to an African 
Elephant, and from a Humming-bird to the Moa. 
There is not a family of mammals or birds in existence 
that he has not studied more or less deeply. For 
example, as a zoological artist pure and simple, he 
has, in the single instance of The Proceedings of The 



28o LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

Zoological Society, drawn nearly 350 different species 
from all regions of the earth. Among mammals he has 
drawn most of the Primates, Carnivora, Ungulata, 
Edentata and Marsupialia, to say nothing of many 
representatives of the other orders, save the Cetacea. 
He has also drawn nearly all the Gallinaceous and 
Accipitrine birds, and numbers of the Passerine. 

Moreover (to make comparison with other artists 
still more impossible), he has not stopped at the halting- 
place of the Zoological draughtsmen (though some of 
these, as far as numbers go, have been much more 
prolific) or even of the average animal-painter, but has 
proved himself to be an accomplished and poetical 
artist in the widest and highest sense of that word. 
Accomplished in landscape, and a perfect master of the 
more abstruse branches of art, such, for instance, as 
composition and chiaroscuro, he has worthily rendered 
some of the grandest and most lovely aspects of nature. 
As a painter in oil he has achieved success ; in water- 
colour, I think, still greater success ; and in black and 
white he has distinguished himself greatly. In nearly 
all materials his capability is proven. Modelling came 
natural to him, and as a lithographer he stands in the 
first rank.' 

Lastly, he was a frontiersman and pioneer, and he 
has taken a distinct line of his own. While some 
artists have endeavoured to humanize their animals and 
to surround them with human associations, Wolf for 

' " I hated etching," he says, " it was too much scratchiny for me ' 



HE STANDS ALONE 281 

the most part, has aimed at eliminating that element. 
His beasts and birds are such as might have walked 
and climbed and flown in an unpeopled earth, where 
even the flint arrow-head was unchipped, and the hide 
had never covered the broad shoulders of pre-his- 
toric man. 

Comparison would not only be unfair ; it would 
be futile. It is generally useless to endeavour to 
convince anyone that an artist whose work he knows 
not — whose fame is not backed by the authority of the 
Press of the last decade (to say the least of it), is 
worthy of being mentioned within a clay's march of 
the favourites. 

I also avoid comparison because I am one ot those 
who, as surely as they know their own existence, knoiu 
that in some of his achievements Wolf stands utterly 
alone. Believing it can be proved that nobody has 
approached him in times past, and having deeply 
studied his genius in its various aspects, I must be 
pardoned if I believe also that he will never be 
equalled in times to come. 

I am aware of his few faults. There are works 
of his which I dislike, and there are others to which I 
am perfectly indifferent. I hold, however, that only 
mediocrity and machinery work uniformly up to one 
standard. The twenty-millionth pin is perfect, but not 
more perfect than the first. Real, worthy Mediocrity 
works up to its standard year after year, rarely falling 
below and never exceeding it. It is not disappointing, 



282 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

because it never fails to fulfil every expectation, and 
so it comes to be regarded as reliable and honest. 
This achieved, other virtues which it does not possess 
are added to it by its admirers ; and in the end there 
sometimes comes substantial recognition by the State. 
There are mainly three kinds of art ; the art that 
asserts everything dogmatically, the art that obfuscates, 
and the art that, besides asserting here and there, 
suggests and teaches and allures, thus calling into play 
the best qualities of the minds of the beholders. 
Those who look at Wolfs works superficially, or (as I 
have sometimes seen), with the supercilious, envious 
scrutiny of hypercriticism, may consider them over- 
rated. They will be sure to miss the wealth of sug- 
gestion, the point of each story the artist has tried to 
tell, and naturally the consummate excellence of his way 
of telling it. Those, on the other hand, who love to 
dwell on these works month after month, ever seeking 
for new beauties and never seeking vainly, will inevit- 
ably be rewarded, and rewarded most richly. It is 
only those, however, who have had the advantage of 
his own comments and kindly but modest guidance — 
the advantage of leisure to explore his portfolios, who 
can fully realize the rare attributes of his workmanship. 
They are the attributes which have given vitality and 
dignity to art since those days of old when the lips of 
the marble Galatea warmed at P)'gmalion's kiss. 

In bringing to an end one of the happiest tasks 



MR. DRESSER'S OPINION 28 



o 



that can fall to a man's lot, in chronicling the life and 
work of a friend who is enthusiastically reverenced 
and admired, I bethought me that I would not close 
with my own words, but would ask four old friends of 
Wolf's (who by reason of their own attainments are 
far more worthy than I could be to speak of his), if 
they would give their reasons for their admiration. 
I chose two representative ornithologists, and two 
representative zoological artists, who all, with much 
courtesy and kindness, complied with my request ; and 
I print these passages, taking the names of the writers 
alphabetically. 

Mr. H. E. Dresser, the author of The Birds of 
Europe, writes ; — 

" As regards ^Volf, he is certainly best as far as the Raptores are 
"concerned, . . . but where he excels and surpasses any animal painter 
" I know of, is that not only is he an excellent artist, but he so 
" thoroughly understands the pose and characteristic points of the 
"animals he paints, whether mammals or birds. There are certain 
" characteristic peculiarities in every species Avhich can only be dis- 
" tinguished by anyone who has made a life study of them ; and 
" these '\\^olf has an inborn power of transmitting to his canvas. I 
" can best describe this by referring to old shepherds, who can recog- 
" nise each individual sheep in their flock. The late .Sir Edwin 
" Landseer once, speaking to me of Wolf, laid great stress on this 
" power of his, and said that he considered. Wolf to be, without ex- 
" ccptioii, the best all-round animal painter that ever lived. ' ^\'hen 
" 'a good many artists of the present day are forgotten,' Landseer 
" added, ' Wolf will be remembered.' " 

Professor Newton was so good as to write me the 
following letter : — 



284 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

Magdalene College, Cambridge : ilarch 9, 1895. 

" Dear Sir, — 'With every wish to comply with your request, it is 
" no easy thing to do so. My admiration of the worlcs of my old 
"friend Mr. Wolf is almost unbounded, and has been often publicly 
" expressed ; but to give my ' reasons ' for it might lead me into the 
"domain of the 'art critic,' where I should be a trespasser. I can 
" only suppose his excellence to lie in his knowledge not merely of 
" what an animal looks like, can do, and is ; but primarily in his 
" acquaintance with its structure, derived from intelligent observation 
" and close study, and when a bird is concerned, with A-a pterylosis — 
" to use a very technical word -of which last most great masters, from 
" Hondekoeter, Savery and others of old to those of our own time, 
" have been absolutely ignorant. Then there is an absence of any 
"attempt to humanize the expression, as is so commonly, though per- 
" haps unconsciously, done by many good artists. Whether the animal 
" be mammal, bird, or reptile, Mr. \^'olf gives it its own expression. 
" Landseer's dogs and horses frequently have, so to speak, human 
"faces, and his deer hardly less so. To my eye there is a trace of 
"this in his birds, though that is by no means their chief defect. 
" I remember the late Mr. D. W. Mitchell, himself a good artist, 
"remarking to me that Mr. Wolf's figures of animals were not only 
" portraits of the species they represent ; but, when taken from life, 
" of the particular individuals, and this I think is perfectly true. I 
" know no one else of whom the same can be said, though of course 
" one does not know the subjects of some of his predecessors, and it 
" is possible that when they drew from life they at least tried to render 
" personal peculiarities. It follows from this that Mr. Wolf has never 
" been guiltyof exaggeration such as disfigures the designs of some other 
" draughtsmen from Snyders to Audubon — the last having been more 
" highly lauded in his time than anyone else. It may be that in what 
" is, I suppose, called ' feeling ' some of the moderns, such as Swainson, 
" Lear and Mitchell, when at their best, may have equalled Mr. Wolf, 
" and in accuracy both the Naumanns and Schlegel are often serious 
"rivals, leaving little to be desired. Certainly all these men, and 
" some others, have produced beautiful things, but in the best of them 
' there is nearly always a want of vitality which rarely fails in ^Nlr. 
" Wolf's work and is sometimes so strong as to bear translation by a 



FJiOFESSOJi NEWTON'S OPINION 285 

"copyist without any serious loss of force. Moreover the men just 
" mentioned seldom or never attempted such grouping and accessories 
"as he introduces so as to make a picture. On the other hand, he 
" never sacrifices peculiarities of structure or coloration for pictorial 
" effect, as I have known many another artist do ; but, giving, as a 
" true Naturalist should, due prominence to the chief zoological 
"character of his subjects, he brings all the surrounding scene into 
" harmony with them, and thus represents Nature with the utmost 
" fidelity. As might be expected, the result is almost invariably 
" pleasing ; but it is a result that only genius of a very high order 
"can attain. Trusting that this long explanation Inay satisfy your 
" enquiries, I remain. Dear Sir, Yours faithfully, 

"Alfred Newton." 

Having ventured to demur at what I imagined 

Professor Newton to say with regard to the equality 

in the matter of " feehng " of certain artists with 

Wolf, judging from what I know of their work, he 

was kind enough to add the following : — 

" I do not put Mr. Mitchell and the others in the same category 
" as Mr. Wolf, but you especially asked me to compare his work with 
" that of his chief predecessors. What I wrote as to the ignorance of 
'^ Ftery/osis ah^^n by other artists was, perhaps, too sweeping; for 
" there are men now living who are aware of the need of studying in 
" it — though I quite believe they have been led thereto by Mr. 
" Wolf's example. ... I am not surprised at your being in doubt as 
" to the meaning of Ptoylosis. I should think the only dictionary 
"which contains the word is my own. Therein it is defined as 
" ' Plumage considered in regard to the distribution of its growth.' 
" In only a few birds do the feathers grow over the whole body, but 
" they are generally restricted to well-defined patches or tracts, which 
"in 1833 received from Nitzsch {Pterylographia Avium, pars p-i/iia, 
"p. 11) the name o{ pteryla or feather forests, in opposition to apteria 
" or featherless spaces, which intervene. The article is of some 
" length and gives several illustrations (some from Nitzsch and 
" others original) of the pterylosis of various birds ; but a very large 



286 LIFE OF JOSEPFI WOLF 

"number of figures is wanted to do complete justice to the subject. 
" IVEr. Wolf had no doubt, in his younger days, seen Nitzsch's great 
"work— of which there is now an English translation containing the 
"original plates ' — but so, I dare say, had many other artists, only 
" they neglected the hints while he did not, and that makes all the 
" difference between his work and theirs." 

As I have said before, although it seems hkely that 
Mr. Wolf had seen Nitzsch's work, yet it is a fact that 
he saw neither that nor the translation. His study 
of pterylography was entirely independent of all help 
either from books or otherwise. 

Mr. A. Thorburn sent me the following : — 

" Wolf's work is not only faultless as regards truth to nature, but 
" there is, besides, an indescribable feeling of life and movement 
" never attained by any other artist. 

"The best aspect of it, to my mind, is his power of representing 
" the pathetic side of animal life, in which he shows his sympathy 
"for the suffering bird or beast. This is especially noticeable in 
" such pictures as the wounded Hare hunted down by Hooded 
" Crows, or the water-colour drawing in the South Kensington 
" Museum of the terror-stricken Ptarmigan striving to escape the 
" glance of the marauding Eagle. ... I suppose you asked Wolf 
" the other day about the little incident that occurred the first time 
"he visited his father's grave. This shows not only his great power 
" of observation, but also how much poetry there is in his nature. 
"Many a man would never have noticed the Red Admiral butterfly 
" sunning itself on the tomb-stone, but Wolf at once saw in it a 
"beautiful emblem of the resurrection." 

Mr. Charles Whymper, the artist, has not only 
known Wolf intimately for many years, but has en- 
joyed the rare privilege of working in his studio for a 
long period. He may therefore be said to be more 

' Pterylography. Translated from the German by W. S. Dallas, and 
edited by P. L. Sclater. Ten plates of figures, folio. Ray Society, 1867. 
A.H.P. 



MR. WHYMPER'S OPINION 287 

or less of a disciple ; and, in response to my request, 
this is what he says : — 

" Asked to put into concisest form the ground of one's admiration 
"for the work of Mr. J. Wolf, I think there can be but one way of 
" answering the question. It is because of the vast and exact know- 
" ledge, always exhibited, of the life history of the particular animal 
" shown ; and of the subtle drawing which, though based on precise 
" anatomical science, is never obtrusively scholarly ; whilst, best of 
" all, he always imparts a romantic or poetic view of his subject. 
" Pictures so carried out, of animal life, may be said to have been 
" really the invention of Wolf alone. 

" Prior to the advent of this remarkable and most original man, 
" painters had never regarded wild animal life as a field to work in. 
" Of course there had been many works illustrated by more or less 
" inexact pictures of animals, from a very early date. But no single 
"man had ever portrayed the life of bird and beast with its ever 
" varying incidents. Rubens, it is true, had painted Lions, and 
" Snyders had painted Boar hunts, but the slightest knowledge of 
'' natural history would show anyone that neither of these great 
" painters knew anything more than the mere picturesque outside of 
" their subject, and they were content to make their work rest on 
" its masterly painting. As real, accurate representations of the 
" animals their pictures are not of much value. 

" Not one painter, apparently, had ever given that study, or 
" attained that knowledge, which would have enabled him to portray 
"truly the wild creatures around him. The nightmares of pictures 
" which do in any way show animals other than domestic, are 
" evidence that there was little or no knowledge. . . . None of these 
"show any knowledge beyond the mere form of the dead body. 
" They show no knowledge of the life. You may search your 
" galleries and your libraries as you will. There is a complete 
" blank. 

"Wolf, therefore, must have credit for absolutely discovering a 
" new field for art. His knowledge is so vast and varied that he 
" can give you the minutest details of the life of the Moose and Elk 
"from the far North, or the Lion or the Koodoo from southern 
" Africa, as truly as he can of the brooding Woodcock on her nest 



288 LIFE OF JOSEPH WOLF 

" in our own country, or the roaming Wild Boar of his own Fatherland. 
" No bird or mammal, whether great or small, but he understands it 
" as completely as if he had made just that one creature his entire 
" study. 

" These are not merely idle words. For six years I worked with 
" Wolf — for three, actually in his own studio ; and I can honestly say 
" that every hour of those years added steadily to my wonder for and 
" admiration of the depth and exactness of his marvellous knowledge 
" of the whole realm of animal creation. This it is that makes his 
" work so distinct and individual. It is saturated with the most 
" scientific exactness. 

" Wolf would have succeeded in any branch of art that he might 
" have taken up, because of his fine sense of form and power of 
" drawing it, but it is doubtful if he could possibly have done more 
" for the art world at large. No doubt a great deal of his power is 
"in some way intuitive ; but, in the main, it is owing to his constant 
" and painstaking study — study such as most men would not attempt. 
" From very earliest years he has insisted on the need of always 
" working direct from life ; and his untiring habit of never slurring 
" over the slightest detail Vjut always going straight to nature for the 
" smallest matter is the grand secret of his power. . . . 

" He has shown us how rich the animal world is in poetic and 
"picturesque subjects ; and moreover his animals are always animal, 
" as opposed to human. Although a true lover of animals, he never 
" commits that folly of trying to make them other than what they 
"are— 'beasts of the field.' A large section of the public, reared 
"on pictures of pet Dogs with interesting faces as like man's as 
" possible, and noble Stags and Eagles of conventional beauty, 
" do not therefore all at once see the charm of his completely natural 
" animals. But the verdict of every single naturalist and sports- 
" man is that no pictures of wild animal life could possibly be better 
" and truer. 

" In technique Wolf's methods are admirably simple. Often 
" have I watched him putting in with a big, flat brush those tender 
" washes of warm colour that form the base of so many of his 
"pictures. Painstaking to a degree in every detail, he would sit and 
"watch the effect of the colour till it was sufficiently dry ; and then, 
"with unerring certainty, he would take the complementary colour. 



MR. IV H YMPE R S O PINI O N 



289 



"and dexterously laying it on over the first wash, instantly produce 
"the most perfect pearly grey mist. Then, with a well thought out 
" plan, he would wipe out lights, and deepen shadows ; but always, 
" between each stage, he would sit down, pipe in hand, and quietly 
" survey his work, his whole mind concentrated on it, till at the right 
" moment he would again rise to his feet, and with a few touches 
" put in some new forms. His work was never muddled or sloppy. 
" Hence his drawings are always very pure in their tones. Often he 
" would tell me, ' You are in too great a hurry. Have patience, and 
" ' smoke a pipe over it. Think what you are going to do before you 
" ' do it.' He had no patience with slapdash work, and he himself 
" never did hurried work, but always with deliberate, loving careful- 
" ness. Indeed it is this loving carefulness of his that gives the hall- 
" mark to all he does. . . . His whole heart is in his work. 

" Personally I think that it is the poetry of Wolf's mind which 
"places him far beyond any ordinary animal painter, and gives him 
"the title to be placed amongst the great artists. His knowledge, 
" his care, his accuracy and dexterity, all would have been vain with- 
"out it ; but with it (and he has it in every fibre of his nature), his 
" work must for all time rank with the very highest." 




Lion Cubs 
(A sketch from life) 



.m... 



CATALOGUE OF 

SOME OF THE PRINCIPAL WORKS 

ILLUSTRATED ENTIRELY OR PARTLY 

BY JOSEPH WOLF 



^^ 



NOTE. 

In addition to the works in the Appendix, there are a number of 
books, pubhshed from the fifties onwards, to which Mr. Wolf contri- 
buted one or more of the illustrations, including Mr. AV'hymper's 
'The Great Andes of the Equator' and Mr. Selous' last work. I 
have seen proofs of many of these illustrations, but up to the time 
of going to press I have not been able to trace the titles of the works 

themselves 

A. H. Palmer. 




Turtle Do\'Esi 



APPENDIX 



IN THE PROCEEDINGS 
OF THE ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY 



J. E. Gray 



184S. Mammals. 2. Ptiloccrius knvil. Borneo 

3. CerppitJieciis pluto. Angola . 
S. Herpestes ochraceus. Ab)-ssinia 
Birds. 4. Podica personata. Malacca . 

5. PsittactisrilppeUii. R. Nunez. Africa 
1849. Mammals. 9. Ceropithenismelanogenys.W.Mucs.. 
„ ludio. W. Africa 

12. Caprcolus hucotis. Valparaiso . „ 

13. Tiipaia cllioti. Eastern Ghats, G. R. Water- 

India 



G. R. Gray 



J. E. Gray 



HOUSE 

♦u 3 



294 



WORKS ILLUSTRATED BY J. JVOLL^ 



1 84:'. ?([AMMA1,S. 



Xo. 

14- 



7- 
8. 

9- 

10. 
I - 



The young Hippopotamus pre 
sented to the Society by H.H 
Abbas Pasha 
Birds. 7. Galliis teinininckii. Batavia 

ceneus .... 
Glarcola iiiiclialis. Fifth Catarac 

of the Nile 
Ciiltrides rufiptviiiis. Mexico 
Hybrid Crown Pigeon, Hatched ii 
the Menagerie . 
1S50. MajIiMALS. 16. Prcsbytcs albigena . 

17. Pliacoclia'riis athiopicus. Ju\'. Natal 

1 8. TJialaciniis cyjioceplialus ^ ^ . \^an 

Diemen's Land . 

19. The newly arrived Hippopotamu 

taking his first bath . 

20. Adcnota leche. S. Africa 
22. Coassus neinorivagiis $. 

? ■ . 
riijiis 

siipcfciliayis 
aiin'li/s 
1.3.5. Heads of C neinorivagiis. 2, 
C. rufus. 4, C. siipcrciliaris. 6, 
C. aiiritiis ...... 

Cariaciis punctulatiis 
Birds. 14. Eos cyanogenia .... 



23- 
24- 

25- 

26. 

27- 



28. 

14- 



15. „ seniilan'afa .... 

16. Chahopsitta rubiginosa 

17. Garrulus lidthi. Remote China? 

18. Oriohis broderipii. Island of 

Sumbava ..... 

ig. Aqiiila aiidax. Eggs laid in the 

Gardens ..... 

22. Buteo riifipcnnis. Kordofan 

23. Mirafra cordofanica „ 

24. Alaiida erythropygia ,, 

25. Palaornis dcrbianiis, Ne\\' spe- 

cies in the collection at Knows- 
ley ..... . 

26. Pahcornis crytlirogcnys. Ditto 

27. Crax alberti ^. Ditto. 



Paper. 



G. R. Gray 



I. W. Mitchell 
E. Gray 



LuciEN Buona- 
parte 



H. E. Strickland 



LouLs Eraser 



U'OjRKS illustrated by y. IVOLF 



295 



No. 

Birds. 28. 

29. 
3°- 



32- 
33- 

34- 

1851. MAi\rMAi,s. 30. 

3'- 
BrRT).s. 35. 

36. 
37- 
38. 
39- 

40. 
41. 

42. 

43- 
44. 

1852. MAM^r.M.s. 32. 

33- 
34- 

Birds. 46. 



47. 
48. 

49. 
1853. Mammals. 35. 
36. 
37. 
38. 



Crax alberti J . New species in 

the collection at Knowsley 
Penelope niger $ 5 . Ditto. 
T.2. Apteryx aiistralis 
3.4. „ mantelli . 

1. A. aiistralis (Foot). 2. A. 

mantelli (Foot) 
Turdiis vulpinus. Caraccas 
MaclisrirhyncliiisJ1avi%'e7tter. N. 

Australia ..... 
Plilotis filigera. N. Australia 
Herpestes smithii. Ceylon . 
Cynictis maccarthia:. Ce)'Ion 
Balcmiceps rex. Upper White 

Nile 

Saiirophagiis dcrbiainis. Mexico. 
Psaris fraserii $ Mexico . 

,, „ 5 Mexico . 

Magapodiiis cuiniiigii. Island of 

Labuan ..... 
Fraiicoliniis ycmciisis. Arabia . 
Tccnioptera erythrnpygia. Repub- 

lica Equatoriana 
Tcenioptera striatiiollis. Repub- 

lica Equatoriana 
Artainiis cuciiUatus. India. 
Sagmatorrliina latliami 
Atwiiialnriis beecrnfti. Fernando 

Po 

Hyrax dorsalis. Fei-nando Po . 
Potainoclia'riis pent Hiatus. Cama- 

roons ..... 

(Egg-s.) I. Apteryx mantelli. 2. 

Sterna. ? 3. Strigops habro- 

ptiliis. 4. Ocydromits aiistralis. 
Ciilicivora botiviana. Bolivia 
Pipra flavo-tincta. Santa Fe de 

Bogota 

Siitliora webbiana. Shang Hai . 
Poiphagus grunnieiis. Juv. India. 
Budorcas taxicolor. <? Ad. India. 
Porcula salvania. India 
Fells inacrosceloldcs. India. 



Pafer. 

Louis Eraser 
A. D. Bartlett 
Hartlauh 



John Gould 
J. E. Gray 



John Gould 
Kaup 



L. L. DiLLWYN 

Nicholson 
p. l. sclater 



Nicholson 
L. Buonaparte 

L. Fraser 



J. E. Gray 



P. P. Sclater 



G, R. Gray 
J. E. Gray 



296 



IJ'ORKS ILLUSTRATED BY J. IVOLF 



No. 

1853. Birds. 50. Bucco radiatiis. New Granada . 

51. MalacopiUa siibstriata. New 

Granada 

52. Dendrpcolaptes cytoni. I'ara 

53. Nest and Eggs oi Mcnura alberti. 

Australia ..... 

54. Plihvmpus clirysogastcr 

55. „ piirpurcocincius . 

56. (Eggs.) I. Otogyps atirUiis. 2. 

Prosthcinadera novcc-zealajjdia:. 

1S54. ]\L\MMAl..s. 39. Pctrogale can//iopus. Australia . 

Birds. 57. Ruticilla phcc/iicuroidcs. N. India. 

58. „ Iiodgsoni, $ } . Nepal. 

59. ,, Tiifpgidaris, $ $. India. 

60. ,, vigorsi, ^ . India. 

61. „ mgrogidaris, J. India. 

62. Netniira /iodgso7n, ^ 5 . Nepal. 

63. DelicJion ?iipaieusis. Nepal 

64. BtitJiraupis chloro?iafa . 

65. I. Eiiplioiiia hiriiiidinacca. Guate- 

mala. 2. Eiiphonia coiiciii/in. 
New Granada .... 

66. Tyratinula pha'nicura, Ecuador. 

67. Arrcmon specfabilis. Ecuador . 

68. Chlorospingtis melanotis. New 

Granada ..... 

69. TactiypJwniis .mnf/iopygiiis. Ktw 

Granada ..... 

70. Afyiiiicsiza Iciicaspis. Rio Negro. 

71. „ inaigaritata. Peru . 

72. PitliyseryfhropJirys. New Granada 
Hypocnemis inelaiiolama. Peru . 

"Jl- „ melanostica. New 
Granada 

74. Formicivora caiidata. New Gra- 

nada 

75. Melacociclila dryas. (Juatcniala . 

76. Ortlwtomiis derbianus. Philip- 

pines 'i . . . . . 
1855. Birds. 77. Galbula fi/sdoipilla. New Gra- 
nada ..... 
79. TJiainnopJiilits Iciidiaiicheji. E. 
Peru 



Paper. 
P. L. .SCLATER 



J. Gould 
G. R. Gray 



H. F. Walter 
J. E. Gray 
F. Moore 



P. L. SCLATER 



John Gould 

F. PiIOORE 

P. L. SCL.VTER 



JVOJiKS 


ILLUSTRATED BY J 


WOLF 


Xo. 




]^apc7: 


DS. 80. 


Thamnophihis melannonoins. 






Para 


V. L. SCT.ATER 


81. 


Thamnophihcs ni^rocinereus. Para 


,, 


82. 


„ ccesuis. B. Guiana 


)) 


83- 


„ melanurus. Brazil. 


John Gould 


«4. 


Todirostniin nigriceps. Santa 






Martha 


P. L. SCLATER 




Todirostrum spiciferuin. N.E. 






Peru 


)1 


85. 


Conirostriim ferrugincivcntre. 





297 



Bolivia ..... ,, 

86. Synallaxis ery/hrothorax. Hon- 

duras „ 

87. Rliamplwcanus ciutTcivcntris. 

New Granada .... „ 

88. Cyphorinus albigularis. Isthmus 

of Panama .... „ 

89. Arreinon erythrohynclius. Bogata. „ 

90. Tacliyphonusxantlwpyoius. Bogota ,, 

91. Tanagra'jiotabilis. In Republica 

Equatoriana .... „ 

92. Saltator arremonops. Ditto . ,, 

93. Prion breviroslris. Madeira . „ 

94. Crallaria iiiodes/a. Santa Fe dc 

Bogota ..... ,, 

95. Cliamccza mollisiina. Ditto 

g6. Foriidcivora callinota. Ditto . „ 

97. Dysitlianmus seinicincrciis. Ditto. „ 

98. Pyriglena tyranniiia. Ditto . „ 

99. Nemosia albigularis. Ditto . „ 
100. Pyriglena cllisiana. Ditto . „ 
loi. Aiitlius bogotensis. Ditto . ,, 

102. Octocorys peregrijia. Ditto . ,, 

103. Vireolatiiiis icterophrys. Ditto . 

104. Ampclion riibrictistatits 

105. Eiicco Ityperrhyncliiis. Upper 

Amazon ..... ,, 

106. Biicco pulinaHum. Upper Ama- 

zon and E. Peru ... ,, 

107. Somatcria v.-ingra. Kotzebue 

Sound G. R. Gray 

108. Lamprofietta fischeri $. Nor- 

ton Sound ..... ,, 



298 



irOIiKS ILLUSTRATED BY J. IVOLF 



1855. Birds. 



No. 
109. 

no. 

II I. 
I 12. 



1856. Mammals. 



Birds. 



Buarre/iwn Icucopterus. I n 

Republica Equatoriana . 
Iridornis porpliyrocepJiala . 
Octocoris longirostris. A.gra 
Emberiza stracheyi. Kumaon, 
India ..... 
113. Pfopasscr ihura $ . Nepal 

114- „ „ ?• V • 

41. Mils III u senilis .... 

46. Sciiiriis maci'otis. .Sarawak 

47. Paradoxiiriis strictiis. Plains of 
Nepal 

48. Pai-adoxuriis qiiadriscripliis. 
Hills of Nepal 

49. Miistcla sfri^idorsa. Sikim 

50. Arc/o>iyx isonyx. Nepal . 

115. Cala'nas stairi. .Samoan Islands 

116. Margarornis brunncsccns. 
Bogota ..... 

117. Ot/hoeca fimito/or. Bogota 

1 1 8. EiiscartJiiiiiis agilis. Bogota . 

119. Conopophaga cuciiUata. Bogota 

120. GranatcUiis sallai. Coi'do\-a, .S. 
Mexico ..... 

121. Pipra mcntalis. Cordova, S. 
Mexico 

51. .Shanghai Sheep .... 

55. Oryx bcatrix. Bomba)' 

56. Lcpiis iiigripes. Himalayas ? . 

57. Ccpha/op/iiis grimmi . 

„ biircJiclli 

58. Lcopardus licrnaiidcsii. Mazallan 
Birds. 123. Cotinga ainabiUs. Guatemala . 

124. Eiiplionia goiildi. Mexico 

125. (i) Todi rostrum caloptcritin. In 

Republica Equatoriana 
(2) Todirpslrum capilalc. Ditto 

125. Todirostriim exile. Ditto 

126. (i) Eoriiiiei-uora iirosliela. E. 

Brazil ..... 
(2) Formicivorahaii.ruielli. Ditto 

127. Polychloriis ivestermanni. Island 

of St. Domintjo . 



Paper. 
p. L. SCLATER 

F. Moore 



1S57. Mammals. 



John Gascoin 
J. E. Gray 

T. Horsfield 



G. R. (iR.w 

P. L. SCLATER 



A. D. Bartlett 
J. E. Grav 
A. D. Bartlett 
J. E. GRA^' 



John Gould 
p. l. scl.ater 



irO/^A-S ILLUSTRATED BY J. WOLF 299 

No. Pafier. 

1S3S. Mammals. 59. Potaiiiocha'rus africanus . . J. E. Gray 

61. Cuscusoricntalis. $ $. Island of 

Ula 

62. Ctiscus celehtusis. Celebes 

63. Daclylopsila irivirgaln. Aru 

Islands ..... ,, 

64. Myoictis ivallacii i . Ditto . „ 
Birds. 131. MeUmcrpes rubrigidai-is. Cali- 
fornia T. Bridges 

132. {\) Euiha-lcs cocciiitiis. Ecuador. P. L. Sclater 
(2) Creurgops verticalis „ . „ 

133. Dacelo tyro. Aru Islands . . G. R. Gray 

134. Todospis cyaiwcLpliala. Aru 

Islands ..... „ 

135. Chalcopsitta rubrijrons. Aru 

Islands ..... ,, 

1 36. Ptilonopus "ivallacii. Aru 

Islands „ 

137. ,, aicnuitiifrons Ditto „ 

1 38. ,, coronuladis Ditto „ 

1 39. ThamnopJiilus amazoniciis. 

Upper Amazon . .P. L. Sclater 

140. Dysithamiius Icucosticiis. Ecu- 

ador „ 

141. Myrmotherula surinainensis. $. 

Rio Negro .... „ 

Myrmotherula multostriata. $ 2 . 

Upper Amazon ... ,, 

142. Forinicivora oytlirocera. Brazil. „ 

143. MyriHclastcs plumbcus. $%. 

Upper Amazon ... ,, 

145. Plirygilus ocularis. $ $. Ecu- 

ador „ 

146. Elainia griseigularis. Ecuador 

„ striitoptera „ „ 

147. Young of Cat reus wallichii and 

Lophopliorus impeyanus. [Li- 
thographed by J. jennens.] 
India D. M'. Mitchell 

148. Young of Callophasis albocri- 

status. India ... „ 

Young of Callophasis horsfeUlii. 

India ..... „ 



300 



WOUKS ILLUSTRATED BY J. WOLF 



No. 
1859 Mammals. T^. Equus kiang .... 
Birds. 150. Dendrocincla anabdtiiia. .South 

America .... 

151. CMoronerpL's sanginnolentus. S 

America .... 

152. Otothryx hodgsoui. N. India 

153. Pl:ctoperus gambensis 

„ riippcllii . 

154. Virco josephd. Ecuador 

155. Carpophaga goliath. New Cale 

donia .... 

156. Montifringilla adamsi. Cash- 

mere ..... 

157. Laimodoii albiventris. West 

Africa ..... 
15S. Hybrid between Tadorna vul- 
paiisa and Casarsca caiia 
i860. Mammals. 76. Didclphis iLiaterhousii. Ecuador. F. R. TOMES 
Birds. 169. Aquita giirncyi. [Lithographed 

byjennens.] Mokicca Islands. Ci. R. Gr.vy 

170. Tanysiptcra sabrina ,, , 

171. Megapodiiis wallacii „ „ 

172. Habroptila „ „ „ 



Paper. 

W. E. Hay 
T. J. Moore 



G. R. Gr.ay 

P. L. SCL-4TER 



G. R. Gray 
A. L. Adams 
Jules Verrfaux 
p. l. sclater 



1 861. Mammals. 



Birds. 



Plate. Paper. 

4. Lepiis ciniicuhis. Var. (.See June 

23, 1867.) . . . . A. D. Bartlett 
1 2. Potaiiiocliccrus pcnciUatiis. Fojm. 

et Juv P. L. SCLATER 

16. Sciurus gc7-rardi. New Granada. J. E. Gray 

21. Hyl abates pikatus. Camboja . „ 

22. FcHs concolor. Juv. . . . A. D. Bartlett 
27. Cervi/s pseudaxis. Pelcin . . J. E. Gray 

3r. Myo.voiiiys salviiui. Guatemala. R. F. TOMES 

32. Megapodiiis quoyii. Juv. Gilolo G. R. Gray 

33. „ reitiivardtii. ]\x\'. 

New Guinea .... „ 

34. A[egapodius iuiiitthis. N. Aus- 

tralia „ 

35. Grus moniigiusia. Juv. China A. D. Bartlett 
40. Yi^'i.Asoi Mcleagrisocellata. i J', 

2 % . Honduras . . .P. L. Sclater 
42. Podargiis supcreiliaiis. Waigiou. G. R. GRAY 



WORKS ILLUSTRATED BY y. JVOLF 301 



Birds. 



Plate 
43- 



1862. Mammals. 



Birds. 



1863. Mammals. 



Camaroon 



Natal 



Fig. I. Maclicerirhynchus albifrons 

Waigiou and Mysol . 
Fig. 2. Tiidppsis wallacii. Mysol 
44. Henicophaps albifrons. Waigiou 

16. Cervus ta'cvaincs. Formosa 

17. „ swiiihoii „ 
24. Scii/riis isabella. 

Mountains 
32. Ursi/s japoniciis . 
3 3. Leopardus japonensis 

34. Ceplialoplius bicolor. 

35. Capricornis swinhoii 
37. Pithecia monachus 

41. Lemur leiicomystax. Madagascar 

42. Macaciis cyclopis. Formosa 

43. Leopardus brachyurus „ 

44. Helictis siibaurantiata „ 

45. Pteromys grandis „ 

3. Harporhynchus ocellatus. Oaxaca. 
8. Melacoptita poliopis. West 

Ecuador .... 
II. Urocliroma strictoptera. New 

Granada .... 
14. Cacatiia opiitlialmica. Sydney 

18. Tylas eduardi. Madagascar 

19. Halcyon nigrocyanca. New Guinea 
Gracula pectoralis. Sorong 
Ptilojiopus liumeralis. Salwatty 
RJnnochetiis jiibatiis 
Loiiciihis sclatcri 
Trichoglossus Jlavoviridis . 
Oriolus frontalis . 
Hyracodon fiiliginosus. Ecuador 
Prosimia xanthomystax. Mada- 
gascar 

18. Prosimia melanoccpliala. iNIada- 
gascar 

Octogale pallida. 

Oreas derbianus . . . . 
28. Galago monteiri. Angola . 

31. Lagothrixhiimboldtii. Rio Negro 

32. Galago alleni. West Africa 
35. „ demidoffi. Senegal? 



20. 
21. 

30. 
38. 
39- 
40. 
8. 
17- 



19. 

22. 



Fernando Po , 



Pnfer. 

G. R. Gray 

P. L. SCI.ATER 



J. E. (iRAV 



W. H. Flower 
A. D. Bartlett 

R. SWINHOE 



P. L. SC LATER 



G. Hartlauii 
A. R. \V.\llace 



A. D. IS.VRTLETT 

A. R. Wallace 



R. F Tomes 
J. E. Gray 



W. W. Reade 
A. D. Bartlett 
p. l. sclater 

William Peters 



302 



IVORKS ILLUSTRATED BY y. WOLF 



I •late: 
4- 

5- 
6. 

9- 
]o. 

13- 



1863. Birds. 4. Falco 7-uhi-icoUis. Island of Bouru 
Ct'yx cajeli „ ,, 
Monarclia loricata ,, ,, 
Perdix barbata .... 
Pipra Icucorrhoa. New Granada 
Hvpherpes coralliros/ri's. Mada- 

gascar ..... 
16. Eiiplocamus iiobilis. Borneo 

23. Paityptila sancti - hieronyini. 

Guatemala .... 

24. (i) Ciu'dcllina versicolor. Central 

Am3rica. {2) Dciidrcvca nivci- 
ventris. Central America . 

33. Bubo fasciolatiis. Africa 

34. Plilogwnas barthtti. Philippine 

Islands ? . 
42. Casuarius beinictlii. Juv. 

1864. Mamm.\ls. I. Si-ii/rus ornaius. Natal 

8. Miistela aureoventris. Ecuador . 

10. Zorilla abbi nucha 

1 2. Tragelaphus spekii. E. Africa . 

13. Golunda ptdchella. W. Coast of 

Africa ..... 
28. Arctoccbus calabarensis. Old 
Calabar ..... 

40. Galago gariietti .... 

41. I'itliccia sa tanas. Para 

Birds. 6. Megapodius pritcliardi. Island 

of Nina Fou 5 ... 

11. CJiauna nigricollis. New Granada 

14. Psalidoprocnc albiceps. Uzinza . 

16. SinitJwrnis riifo-latcralis 

17. Cacatua ducorpsii. Island of 

Guadalcanar .... 

18. Tadorna tadornoidcs. Tasmania 

19. „ variegata. New Zealand 
20 Piicrasia xantliospila. China 
24. Cor/iuriis rliodogastcr. Brazils . 
30. Eucoiiu'tis cassini. Panama 

34. Anas inclleri. l\Iadag"ascar 

35. Myadcstcs iiiclanops. Turrique . 

36. Carpndcctcs iiitidus. Costa Rica. 

1865. Mammals. 3. Aniilocapra aincricana $. Juv. . 



Pa/'cr. 

A. R. Wallace 



J. Verreaux 

P. L. SCLATER 

A. Newton 

P. L. SCLATER 



O. Salvin 

p. L. SCLATER 



J. E. Gray 



P. L. Sclater 



T. H. Huxley 
P. L. Sclater 



G. R. Gray 
P. L. Sclater 

G. R. Gray 

P. L. SCL.\.TER 



G. R. Gray 
P. L. Sclater 



O. Sal\tn 
P. L. Sclater 



]VORKS ILLUSTRATED BY J. WOLF 



303 



Plate. Paper. 

Mammals. 7. Enhydris lutris. California . J. E. Gray 

11. Erithizon 7-ufescens. Columbia . „ 

12. Tupaia splendiditla. Borneo . „ 

16. Hystrix imdabarica . . . P. L. Sci.ater 

17. Pholidotus africaniis. W.Africa. J. E. Gray 

18. Dasypus vellerosus. Santa Cruz . „ 

19. Cyclolliiirus dorsalis. Costa Rica „ 
22. Eqiius burchcUi . . . . E. L. LA'i'ARD 
45. Cebus leucogenys. Brazil . . J. E. GRAY 

Birds. 1. (i and 2) Foitdia flavicans. 

(2) Dryniaca { ?) rodericana. 
Island of Rodriguez . 

4. Tocciis degans. Angola . . (^i. Harti.aue 

5. „ monleiri „ . . „ 

6. Otis pictiiraia ,, . . ,, 
24. Lciicoptcrnis princcps. Costa Kica. P. L, Sclatur 

28. RInpidiira torrida. Ternate . .A. R. Wall.vce 

29. (i) Prionochiliis aiireoliinbatiis. „ 
N. Celebes. (2) Ncctarlnia 

flavo-striata. Celebes 
33. Cvpselus sqiianiatiis. Brazil. 'J. 
' Wolf and J. W. Wood. Del. 
and lith.' ..... 
CluTtura biscutata. ISrazil. Ditto 
i\'iisUiirna pi/sio. Saloman Is- 
lands. (Natural size) 
Circus ivfllfi. New Caledonia 
1866. Mammals. 19. Macactis inornatus, J. Borneo. 
Cephalophus breviceps. W. Coast 
of Africa ..... 
1S67. Mammals. 17. Saiga tariarica, $ ■ . ■ 

24. Pardalina ivarwickii. Himalaya. 

25. Gueparda guttata. Juv. Cape of 

Good Hope .... 
31. Prosiinia flavifroiis. Madagascar. 

35. Phascolflinys platyrhinus. New 

South Wales .... 

36. Fclis aurata. Sumatra. .\d. 

37. Gazelta sa:mmerriiigi . 
42. Elasmognathiis bairdi . 
47. Atcles bartletti. Ri\er Amazon^. 

Birds. 16. Lorius cldoroccnus. Saloman Is- 

lands ..... 



34- 

35- 

44- 
19. 
20. 



P. L. SCLATER 



J. H. (iURNEY 
f. E. GRAY 



P. L. SCLATKR 

J. E. Gray 



J. MURIE 

P. L. Sclater 
J. E. Gray 



P. L. Sclati;r 



304 


WORKS 




Plat, 


186;. 


Birds. 22 


1 868. 


M.\1IM.'\LS. 6, 




7 




8 




15 




24 



ILLUSTRATED BY J. WOLF 



1870. 
1871. 

1873. 

1874. 

1875. 



1877- 



1878. 



IJIRDS. 13. 

M.\MRr.\i.s. 6. 

M.\MM.'\I,S. 39. 

76. 

Mammals, y. 

M.AMM.VI.S. 6. 
S. 

28. 

49- 

M.'AMM.'VLS. 15. 
16. 

.37- 

54- 
Mammals. 8. 

35- 
81. 

Mammals. 39. 
Mammals. 44. 



Coracopsis barklyi. Se)-clielles Is 
lands .... 

Macaciis lasiotus. China 

Pteromira saiidbachii. Deme 
rara ..... 

Ursiis nasutiis. West Indies 

Colobits kirki. Zanzibar 

Mico sericeus. America 

(i) Euscarthnms hnpiger. \'ene- 
zuela .... 

(2) Siiblegattis ghibcr. Ditto 

Hydropotes incriiiis. China. (Li- 
thographed by Smit.) 

TrugelapJiiis eiuyccros. (Litho 
yraphed by Smit.) 

Fclis cupliliira. N. \V. Siberia, 
Ditto .... 

Ptero?nYs tephroiiichu. Pienang 
Ditto .... 

Sciiiriiroptcrus piilveriilcnlus. Pe- 
nang. Ditto 

Chans caudalus. Bokhara. Ditto 

Ccrviili/s siiiiteri. Ditto 

Rliinoceros soiidiacus. Java. Ditto 
Felis badia. Sarawak. Ditto 
Chi)-ogaleus tricltotis. Madagas- 
car. Ditto .... 
Brachytarsomys albicauda . 
Cerviis inesopotainkus. Ditto 

Bubalus piDiialis. Africa. Ditto 
Ccri'iis pliilippimis. PhiHppine 

Islands. Ditto 
Troglodytes gorilla. Ditto 
Canis jubatiis. South America. 

Ditto 

Tapiriis rojilini. Ditto 
Tragelaphiis grains, Gaboon 



Edward Newton 
J. E. Gr.ay 

IT 

P. L. SCLATER 

J. E. Gray 

)» 

p. l. scl.ater 

r. swinhoe 

Sir Victor 

Brooke 

D. G. Elliott 

A. Gunther 



J. E. Gray 
Sir Victor 

Brooke 
P. L. Sclater 
J. E. Gray 

A. Gunther 

Sir Victor 
Brooke 



P. L. Scl.ater 



WORKS ILLUSTRATED BY J. WOLF 305 



Vol. 6. 



Vol. 7. 



Vol. 9. 



Professor Owen 



TRANSACTIONS OF THE ZOOLOGICAL SOCIETY. 

Plate. Paper. 

Vol. 4. Notoniis mantelli. New Zealand. 

58. Urubitinga schistacea, \. Bolivia. P. L. Sc LATER 

59. Buieo zonocercus, \. Guatemala. 

60. Syrniiim albiiarse, \. S. America. 

61. Scops usia, \. Upper Amazon . 

62. Biiteo fuliginosiis, ^■. Mexico 

63. Ciccaba nigrolineata, ^. Mexico . 

64. Baheniceps rex. (Lithographed by 

J. Jury.) W. K. PARKER 

Vol. 5. 14. Female Aye Aye, \. (From Life. 

Lithographed by Erxleben.) 

15. Male Aye Aye, L (Specimen in 

spirits.) 

16. „ „ „ A. (Front) 

17. „ „ V i- (Back.) 

18. Male Aye Aye. Head and limbs, \ 

43. Adult male (iorilla from M. du 

Chaillu's collection . 

44. (i) Adult male, showing the or- 

dinary quadrupedal mode of 
progression .... 

(2) Adult female Gorilla 

(3) Young male Gorilla, from M. 
du Chaillu's collection. (Pre- 
served in spirits.) 

46. (l) Sketches of the same speci- 
men ...... 

(2-6) Sketches of the details 
I. Potainogak velox, \. Old Cala- 

Ijar G. J. Allman 

29. Macharhamphus alcintis. Da- 

maraland J- H. GURNEY 

I. (l) Galago crassicaudatus, 2 i- 

From a photograph by Dr.Murie J. MURIE 
(2) Galago garnetti 



Professor Owen 



31- 
95- 

96. 

97- 
98. 



Cervus mantchuricus . 
Rhinoceros unicornis. (Litho- 
graphed by Smit.) . 
Rhinoceros sondiaciis. Ditto 
Rhiitoceros swiiatrcnsis. Ditto . 
Rhinoceros lasioiis. Ditto . 



P. L. Sclater 



xob 



WOJiKS ILLUSTRATED BY J. WOLF 



IN THE IBIS 

p;ntc. 

I. Gymnoglaiix niufipi's St. Croix . 
1859. J. Ccphra/op/crus pciidi/liLcr.¥^cua.Aar 

b. Falco barbai-us. Eastern Atlas . 

7. Gall inula puniila. Natal . 

8. Accipitcr hciplocliroiis. New Cale- 

donia ..... 

1 5. ScotopcUii pcli .... 
i860. 4. Syrrliaplcs paradoxus . 

6. Aciipitcr i-ol/aris. New Cranada 
10. ,, polioccphalus . 

1 86 1. 7. Falco habylojjicus 

9. ( t ) Basilar Ills corytliaix 
(2) ,, celchcnsis 

10. Accipiter pcctoralis. .S. America 
(Lithographed by J. Jenncns.) 

1862. 3. Circa'ctus fasciolalus. Natal 

Ditto .... 

4. Spizacliis ayrcsii. Natal 

7. Circa'ctus bcaiuiouini. Nul^ia 

5. Butco hrachyptcriis. .Madagascar 
9. Atclornis pittoidcs 

10. HiriDido iiioniciri. Angola 
13. Psaropholus ardciis. Formosa 

1863. 2. Tininincidus iicwtoni. Mada- 

gascar. 

3. Ora'cc/cs gularis Northern 

China .... 

4. Circus midllardi. Bourlion 

5. Circus spilonolus. Formosa 

; 6. Pomatorluiius musicus. I'orniosa, 

8. Fig. I, Caiuaroplcra jiatalcitsis 

Natal .... 

Fig. 2. Cisticolor ayrcsii. Natal 

9. Mcgalop/iouus rostra/us. 

II. Accipiter stcvcnsoui. China 
12. Caitistc do:oii 

1864. I. Acroccphalus stcntorius. F^gypt 
2. Coprimuigus -ocxillarius 

5. Astur gricciccps. Celebes . 
7. Accipiter Jrauccsi. Comoro Is 
lands .... 



Paf'cr. 

A. &E. Newton 

O. S.\LVIN 

J. H. Gurnf:v 

P. L. SCL.^TER 
J. H. GURNEY 

T. J. Moore 

P. L. .SCL.iTER 
L. HOW.'VRD 
A. R. W.iLL.\CE 
p. L. SCL.\TER 
J. H. GURNEY 

J. Verre.aux 

.S. ROCH 

J. J. MONTEIRO 
R. S\VINHOE 



p. L. SCI.-\TER 
R. SWINHOE 



J. H. GlJRNEY 



P. L. SCL.\TICR 
S. S. Allex 
P. L, SCL-VTER 
A. R, \\".\I.I.;\CE 

P. L. SCL.-VTl'lR 



IVORKS ILLUSTRATED BY J. WOLF 307 



1864. 



1S65. 



1 866. 



1867. 



Plat:. 
8. 

9- 
10. 

3- 
4- 



1 868. 



Falco dickinsoni, Zambesi 
Ttirdus gurneyi. Natal 
Tctragotiops frantzii. Costa Rica 
Nectariiiea osca. Palestine 
ChasDtorhynclius irican/ntulaii/s 
O riles tcphronotiis. Asia Minor 

5. Aquila nccvioidcs 

6. Fratercitla glacialis. Spitzbergen 

7. Sitta krucperi. Asia Minor 

8. Cupsyclms scclicllaruin. Sey 

chelles .... 

9. Phlcganas trisiigiiiata, 1 Malay 

Archipelago 

10. CJicelusia leucura. Islands of 

Malta and Cozo 

11. Iiidornis rcinhardti. Peru. 

1. Sula hassana 

2. Cdpriinulgns tdintiricis^ j. Dead 

Sea 

3. PyrrJiuIa iiitirina. The Azores 

4. Sibia iiuricularis. Formosa 

5. T Urdus al biceps ,, 

6. Plilexis layardi. (After O. Finsch 

Africa .... 

7. Oxynoius typicus, ^. Reunion (3 

figs.). ' . . . . 

8. O.vviiotiis iiciutoiii, i- . 

9. Sutliora biiloiiiacJiiis. Formosa 
II. Cyorijis vivida „ 

1. Bcssoriiis albigularis. Palestine 

2. Cincliis ardcsiacus. Veragua 

3. Garruhis hrandti. Northern Japan 

4. Tchitrca corviini. Seychelles Ar 

chipelago .... 

5. Fig". I. Laitiiis isabclliiuis. 

7. „ pha'iiitiirus . 

6. Laiiiiis inag?urostris . 

7. Passer moabiticus . 

10. Piprisoma agile. (Ad., nest, and 
young-.) India . 

1. Sphalus nanus. Borneo . 

2. Erylhropus aiiiurciisis $ "^ . Juv 
4. Hiriindo alfredi. S. Africa 



Paper. 
J. H. GURNEY 

P. L. SCL.\Tr;R 
H. 15. Tristr.vm 

O. S.iLVIN 
A. (iUNTHER 

Lord Lilford 
A. Newton 

P. L. SCf..\TER 

.\. NiCWTO.N 

A. R. \V.\(,L.4CE 

C. A. Wright 
P. L. Sc!..\ti';r 
R. O. Cunningham 

PL B. Tristr.v.m 
F. Du C.\NE 



(',. H.\RTI..\UB 

F. Pollen 

R. SWIiNHOE 

H. ]!. Tristr.vm 

O. S.M.VIN 

H. Whitelv, Jun. 
E. Newton 

Vise. W-VLDEN 

H. B. Tristr.vm 

R. C. Be.vvan 
A. R. Wallace 
J. H. Gurney 

X 2 



3o8 WORKS ILLUSTRATED BY J. WOLF 

Plate Paper. 

1868. 6. Pctronia brachydactyla . . H. B. Tristram 

7. Seriniis aunfrons .... „ 

8. Glareola iiordmairni. S. Africa . J. H. Gurney 

9. (i) Cichladusa arquata. After M. T. voN Hen- 

Henglin .... GLIN 
(2) Cichladusa guttata. Ditto „ 
10. Hyphaiitornis vmriqucnsis. Natal J. H. GuRNEY 
1S69. 9. Campithera capTicorni . . . Editor 
16 HypotriorcJns cleotjora, \. Ma- 
dagascar J. H. GURNEY 



309 



OTHER ILLUSTRATED WORKS. 



1845. 



IN THE FORTIES. 

RiJPPELL, Dr. Eduard. Syslemaiische Uebcrsicht dcr V'dgel 
Nord-Ost Afrikas. Frankfurt a/M. [Auto-lithographs.] 



1. Gypaetus meridionalis. 

2. Nisus sphenurus. 

3. Caprimulgus poliocephalus. 
4- .. tetrastygma. 

5. Cecropis melanocrissus. 

6. ,, striolata. 

7. Acedo semitorquata. 
3. Epimachus minor. 

9. Nectarinea cruentata. 

10. Drimoica mistacea. 
TT. ,, lugubris. 

12. ,, erythrogenis. 

13. ,, robusta. 

14. Curruca chocolatina. 

15. Salicaria leucoptera. 

16. Saxicolor albofasciata. 



,, albifrons. 
Parus dorsatus. 
Crateropus rubigenosus. 
Musicapa chocolatina. 
Bessonoris semirufa. 
Parisomus frontalis. 
Telopherus a^Lhiopicus. 
Melaconotus chrysogaster. 
Lamprotornis purpuroptera. 



26. Lamprotornis superba. 

27. Eurocephalus augintimeus. 

28. Euplectes xanihomelas. 

29. Textor tiavoviridis. 
,, dincmelli. 

Pionus rtavifrons. 
,, rufiventris. 
Dendrobates sccensis. 

,, poicephalus. 

,, hemprichii. 

Dendromus oethiopicus, 
Jyns Eequatorialis. 

38. Peristera chalcospilos. 

39. Numidia-ptilorhyncha. 
Francolinus gutturalis. 
Otis melanogaster. 
CEdicnemus affinis. 
Glareola limbata. 
Lobivanellus nielanocephalus. 
Ibis comata, \ 
Rallus abyssinicus. 
Beanicia cyanoptera. 

48. Anas leucostygma. 

49. Onocrotalus minor. 

50. Phalacrocorax lugubris. 



30. 
31- 
32. 

33- 
34- 

35- 
36. 
37' 



40. 
41. 
42. 

43- 

44. 

45- 

46. 

47- 



1833-50. 



SiEBOLD P. Frantz. Fauna Jiiponica. Animalia vertebrata 
elaborantibus C. H. Temminck et H. Schlegel. [Auto- 
lithographs.] 



AVES 



Falco tinnunculus japonicus, |. 
Astur (nisus) gularis. 
Spizaetus orientalis, ^. 
Halietos palagicus, \. 
Milvus melanotis, 5. 
Buteo vulgaris japonicus, ^. 

,, hemilasius, \. 
Otus semitorgues. 
Scops japonicus. 
Stryx fuscescens. 



Hirundo alpestris japonica. 
Caprimulgus jotaka, $ 
Q 
Lanius bucepbalus. 
Muscicapa cinereo-alba. 
gularis. 
,, hylocharis. 
Ficedula ccronata. 
Salicaria cantans. 
cantillans. 



310 JJ'OJ^KS ILLUSTRATED BY J. IVOLL' 

1S44-53. Professor H. Schlegel and H. Wl'lvekhorst. Traiie 
dc Faucoiinerie. Diisseldorf. [Auto-lithographs.] 



viri. 

IX. 



Le Groenlandias Faucon 
Blanc Mue. 

Lc Tiercelet Hagard de Fau- 
con D' Island. 

Lg Tiercelet Hagard de 
Gerfaut. 

Le CJerfaut Sors. 

I.e Sacre Hagard. 

Le Faucon Hagard. 

Le Tiercelet S^ors de Fau- 



XIII. 

XI\'. 



coil au plumage de Cres- 

berelle. 
L'Lmcrillon Hagard, Le 

Tiercelet, Sors, et Hagard 

D'Emerillon. 
L'Autom Hagard. 
Le Tiercelet, Sors de 

I'Autoui. 
L'Eperirer Sors et le AIou- 

chet Hagard, 



[All life size. 



1S46-52. 



SL'SEMIHL, 
Europas. 



J. C. und .Eduard. Abhildungcn 
Stuttgart. [Auto-lithographs.] 



dC7' l^OiSCl 



1846. 



Taf. 6a. Der weisse Falke [Falco 

candicans). [Group. ] 
Der sibirische Uhu [Strix 

si/'irico). 
Der Stein-Kauz. i, Alt. 

2, Jung. {Sh'ix iwcft/a). 

I Group.] 
Eleonoren's P'aike. i, 

Milnnchen. 2, ^\'eib- 

chcn. 3, Schwarze X'ar. 

4, Grane \'ar. [Group. J 
11 Taf. 6. Der.sch\varzku[)fige Ha-her 

[Garri/h/s niclano- 

ccphal/is). 
Der schwarzslirnigc W'iir- 

ger. T, Alt, m. 2, Jung, 

ni. [Lanius mifuir). 
Der Masken - Wiirger 

[I.anius personal us). 

Alt. Fig. I. 



J. Wolf and F. Frisch. Jagdstutkc der Jiohcn und nicdcrcn 
Jttgd. Darmstadt. Emst Kern. [Among J. Wolfs are Auto- 
lithographs of Badgers, Capercailzie, Partridges, Blackgame, 
Woodcock, t^c. I 



44. 



47- 



54- 



14. 



H Taf. 17. Der gehaubte Wiirger 
{LaniuscucLdlatiis), 
Alt. Fig. 2. 
20. Der bunte Staar 
[Stni'nus vidgaris). 
I, M. im Herbst. 2, 
W. im Friihl. 3, 
lung. Vog. Group.] 

IX Taf. 5. Das Feld-Rebhuhn 
{Pcrdix ci/itTca). 1, 
Mannchen. 2, 

A\'eibchcn.| Group.] 
6. Das Birkwaldhuhn 
( Tctra tcti-ix) . r , 
JMannchen. 2, 

W'eibchen. [Group. ] 



1844-49. (iRAV, (i. R. The Gc7tera of Birds. 

[Auto- lithographs.] 



Longmans & Co. 



XXXV II. 

XLvni. 

XLIX. 
X I .V. 



Vol. L 

Phaio}-riis petrH (Wedge- 
tailed HumiTiing-bird. ) 

Polytm us a<] in la (Hum- 
ming-bird.) 

J\ [disu^a mirabilis. 

Afvalurus citriuiis. 

L'alauiodyia affinis. 

I 'i/ro vivcscc7!s. 



And t\\ ent\'-eight plates of detail. 



Vol 11. 
CXX. Didunculus sirigirostris. 
CL\'ni. Phalaropus ivilsouii. 
CLXXI. Colymbus arc tic us. 
CLXX\*ii. Braihyrauiphus autiquus. 
CI.XXXIV. Plotus 7iova-hoUandiiT. 
, And eleven plates of detail. 

Vol. HL 
Twenty plates of detail. 



WORKS ILLUSTRATED BY J. WOLF 311 



1850. 



1852 



1852 



1853- 



1854. 



1855. 



1856. 



IN THE FIFTIES. 

Knox, A. E. Gnuic Birds and Wild Fowl, their Friends and 
their Foes. Van Voorst. [Auto-lithographs.] 

IVontispiece : The De.nth of the Page 150. The Old Poacher's 

Mallard. j , _ Springe. 

Page 68. Off at Last. 



2o5. Grouse and 
Crows.' 



* Scaul 



Burton, Richard F. Falconry in the Valley of the Indus. 
Van Voorst. Frontispiece : Goshawk and Gazelle. [Auto- 
lithograph.] 

Arnold, J. T. Reynard the Fox- After the German version of 
Goethe, with Illustrations by J. Wolf. Pickering. T\velve 
designs etched by A. Fo.k and R. H. Roc. 

The Poets of the Woods. Twehe pictures of English Song 
Birds. Printed in colours by M. and N. Hanhart. Bosworth. 



Goldfinch. 
Ciickfxj, 
Ring Dove. 



Feathered Favourites. Twelve colotired pictures of British 
Birds from drawings by Joseph Wolf. Bosworth. [Chromo- 
lithographs.] 4to. 



[Chrome-lithographs 


.] 4to. 


Turtle 


Do\es. 


null finch. 


Robin. 




Thrush. 


Chaffinch. 


1 innet. 


^kvlai- 




Blackbird. 



House Sparrow. 
Wren. 
Blackcap. 
Swallow. 



W'oodpecl^er. 
Water Wagtail. 
Titniouse. 
Kingfi.sher. 



Wood Lark. 
The Swan. 
The Eagle. 
The Wild Duck. 



Knox, A. E. OniitJioIogical Rambles in Sussex. Third edi- 
tion. Van Voorst. [Auto-lithographs ] 

Page 136. Otliello's occupation's 
gone. 



Frontispiece: The Ospre\-. 
Page 31. Heron and Water Rat 
,, 310. Falcon and Teal. 



AndERSSON, C. J. Lake NGanii. 
[Auto-lithographs.] 8\o. 



Hurst and Blackett. 



Frontispiece : Lions pulling 

down a Giraffe. 
Page no. The lucky Escape. 

,, 126. Shooting Trap. 

,, 213. Unwelcome hunting 
Companions. 

,, 253. Coursing young Os- 
triches. 

,, 279. Oryx and Gemsbok. 

,, 381. Chasing the Eland. 

,, 414. The approach of Ele- 
phants. 



Page 422. More close than agree- 
able. 
,, 424. Desperate situation. 
,, 448. Nakong and Leche Ante- 
lopes. 
,, 48-1. The Koodoo. 
,, 521. Hippopotamus har- 

pooned. 
,, 528. (Woodcut) The Downfall. 



312 WORKS ILLUSTRATED BY J. WOLF 



'S57. 



1857. 



1858. 



Livingstone, David. Missionary Travels aiid Researches in 
South Africa. Murray. [Woodcuts.] 8vo. 



Page 13. Missionary's escape 
from the Lion. 

., 26. The Hopo, or Trap for 
driving Game. 

,, 27. The Pit at the extre- 
mity of the Hopo. 

,, 56. Hottentot Women re- 
turning from the 
Water. 

,, 71. New African Antelopes 
(Pokne and Lecht). 

,, 140. Three Lions attempt- 
ing to drag down a 
Buffalo. I 

,, 142. Buffalo Cow defending 

her Calf. ' 

[Another Edition was published in 1861.J 

The Book of Job, * Illustrated with fifty engra\'ings from draw- 
ings by John Gilbert.' Of these J. Wolfs designs are : 

Page 



ge 210. A new or striped variety 

of Eland. 
, 242. Mode in which the female 

Hippopotamus carries 

her Calf. 
,, 498. Boat capsized by a female 

H i ppopolamus robbed 

of her Young. 
, 562. Female Elephant, pursued 

with javelins, protecting 

her Young. 
, 588. The travelling Procession 

interrupted. 



25- 


The Dead Lion. 


Page 1^0. 


The Unicorn. 


72. 


The Cobra [altered]. 


,. i-|i. 


The Ostrich. 


37- 


The Den. 


.1 145- 


Behemoth. 


39' 


The Wild Aes. 


.. 147- 


Le\iathanat play. Nisbet 



[.Another Edition, i88o.l 

J.uiES, T., M.A. ^iisop's Fables. A new version. ' With more 
than one hundred illustrations designed by John Tenniel.' 
Of these the following are J. Wolfs. Murray. [Woodcuts.] 

The Hares and Frogs. 
The Oak and the Reed. 
Ihe Birds, Beasts, and 

Bat. 
The Fox and the Mask. 
1 he Lion and the Bulls. 
The Fox and the Stork. 
The Assin the Lion'sSkin. 
The Quack Frog. 
The Stag at the Pool. 
The Wild Boar and the 

Fox. 
The Old Lion. 



age 1. 


The Fox and Grapes. 


Pige 51. 


.. 4- 


The Wolf and the 


,. 65. 




Crane. 


,, 89. 


■• 5- 


The Vain Jackdaw. 




,, 9- 


The Eagle and the Fox. 


,, IC4. 


,, 16. 


The Dog and the 


,, ic6. 




St adow. 


,, no. 


,. 23- 


The House-dog and 


,. III. 




the Wolf. 


.. 115- 


., 27. 


The Tortoise and the 


, , 120. 




Eagle. 


,, 126. 


.. 49- 


The Fox without a 
Tail. 


.. 1.11. 



[Another Edition, 



■A 



King, The Rev. S. 
Alps. Murray. 



W. Tlic Ilalian Valleys of the Pejuu'ne 
Page 340, ' The Steinbok.' [Woodcut.] 



DRA-iSON, Capt. a. W., Sporting Scenes amongst the Kaffirs 
of Soiilh Africa. ' Illustrated by Harrison Weir from 



WORKS ILLUSTRATED BY J. WOLF 313 



1859. 



1859. 



1859. 



1859. 



1859. 



designs by the Author.' The whole of these illustrations 
are by J. Wolf. Routledge. [Woodcuts.] 8vo. 



Frontispiece : Buffalo Hunting. 
Page 109. Eland Hunting. 
,, 127. Wild Boar Hunt- 
ing, 
,, 131. Hunting the Hart- 
beest. 



Page 174. Elephant Hunting in the 
Bush. 
, , 195. Sharp Practice. 
,, 24B, The Run. 
,, 291. The Red Buck and the 
Sporting Leopard. 

[The List of Illustrations does not correspond.] 

Freeman, G. E., and Capt. F. H. Salvin. Falconry: its 
Claims^ History, and Practice. Longmans. [Woodcuts.] 



Frontispiece : Magpie Hawking. 
Page 50. Hawk Furniture. 
,, 223. Female Goshawk 
and Hare. 



Page 317. Hook. 320. S\\i\el. 
, , 327. Cormorant Fishing. 
" 339- Cormorant Palaquin. 



Zoological Diagrams. Prepared for the Department of Science 
and Art. R. Patterson. Chapman and Hall. 

ShektA , SiiK.KT B Sheet C 

2. Spider Mon- 2. Hippopotamus. i. Peregrine Falcon. 

key. I 3. Red Deer. 2. Magpie. 

3. Bat. I 4. Sloth. ! 3. Silver I^heasant. 

4. Hedgehog. ! 5. Squirrel. 4. Heron. 

5. Tiger. ' 6. Red Kangaroo. ; 5. Wild Duck. 

Thompson, James. The Seasons. Illustrated by Birket Foster, 
F. R. Pickersgill, R.A., J. Wolf, &c. Nisbet. [Woodcuts. 
Engraved by Dalziel Bros.] Small 410. 



Page 5. Bittern. 

£9. Blackbird in Nest. 

,, 89. 'I'iger and .Antelope. 

,, 139. Partridges. 



Page 187. Cormorant and Gulls. 
,, 197. Wolves attacking a Tra- 

\eller. 
,. 213. Deer sheltering in Snow. 



Wordsworth, Wil.l.iAAr. Fccms. Selected by R. A. Willmotf 
Illustrated by Birket Foster, J. Wolf, John Gilbert, &c. 
Routledge. [Woodcuts.] 



Page 9. S\\ ans and Young. 

25. Eagle in a Storm. 

159. Hares playing. 

lb7. Linnets. 

189. Robin and Rookery. 

221. A Sheep by a Lalce. 



Page 226. Wild Fowl. 
,, 249. Peregrines. 
,, "'■'265. Lambs. 
,, 301. Kite and Nest. 
,, 3r7. Poultry, Sparrows, &c. 
,, 327. ,, Chickens, &c. 



* Also in Routledge's ' British Spelling Book,' p. 95. 

Wood, The Rev. J. G. The Illustrated Natural History. 
With 1700 illustrations by Wolf and others. Routledge. 
4to. 3 vols. [Woodcuts.] 

Vol. I : Mammali.v. 



Frontispiece. 
Page II. Group of Monkeys. 



Page 15. Gorilla. 
,, 20. Chimpanzee. 



314 irOJiKS ILLUSTRATED BY J. WOLF 



Vol. I : Mammalia continued. 



2 26. 
31- 

44- 
60. 
62. 
64. 
67. 
71- 
73- 
75- 
78. 

109. 



Orang-outan. 
Siamang. 
Ceropithici. 
Wanderoo. 
G'OU|3 of Chacmas. 
Ciclada. 
The Chacnia. 
l"he Baboon. 
The Papion. 
The Mandril. 
The Drill. 

(.) Galagos. (2) The 
I arsier. 



Paqe 



I-Von 

I 

67 
128 
168 
278 
312 
373 

4»3. 

504 
596 



tispipce, 

Gi-oup of \'ultures. 
F^alcons. 

Swalloas. 

Kingfishers 

\\'ai'blers. 

Wagtails. 

Shrifces. 

1^'inches. 

Hornbills. 
rrested C'urasso. 



Page 



112. 


The Colugo, 


133- 


The Lion. 


136. 


Lion and Zeb'-as 


144. 


Gambian Lion. 


148. 


Maneless Lion. 


151- 


Tiger. . 


178. 


Serval. 


192. 


Egyptian Cat. 


193- 


M'ild Cat. 


212. 


European L) nx. 


663. 


Koodoo. 


669. 


Ibe.K. 



A'ol. 2 : Birds. 



Page 601. Brush Turkey. 

614. Veillot's Firebatk. 

642. \\^hite Sheathbill. 

657. Apteryx. ' ■ 

672. (j'ane. - 

673. DemoiEelle and Crowned 
Cranes. 

675. Egret, Heron, and Bittern. 

725. Group of Swans. 
j^i. ,, Gulls. 

762. Pelican. 



Vol. 3 : Reptii.es. 

Page 27. .\frican Crocodiles at Home. 
See also a few plates in RouUedge's smaller Natural Histories. 

IN THE SIXTIES. 



i860. 



1860. 



i860. 



Bennett, CiEOR(;E, M.l). Gatherings of a Naturalist in 
Australia. A^an \^oorst. 8\o. [Lithographs.] 

Frontispiece : Australian Jatairu. (After F. Angas. ) 
Page 135. .Australian Water-mole (Platypus). (Auto-Uthograph.) 
,. 264. The Mooiiik. (Auto-lithograph. } 

DUNLOP, R. H. W. Hunting in the Himalaya. Demy 8vo. 
Bentley. [Lithographs.] 



Page 108. A Prompt and Public 
Execution. 
,, 286. Heemachul and its Inha- 
bitants. 



Frontispiece : Bunchowr brought 

to B.iy. 
Page 86. Addressing aStranger 
without an Intro- 
duction. I 

Atkinson, T. W. Travels in the Region of the Louver and 
Upper Anwor. Hurst and Blackett. [Woodcuts.] 8vo. 



Page 114. The IVIaral's Leap. 
,, 352. The Tiger and its 
\'ictim, 



Page 147. Bearcoots and Wolves. 
,, 347. The Bearded Eagle and 
Steinbok. . 



ir 



OI^KS ILLUSTRATED BY J. WOLF 315 



x86o.. 



1861, 



t86i 



i86r. 



t86i. 



1861. 



Montgomery, Jamks. Poems. Selected and edited by Rol^ert 
A. Willmott. Illustrated by John (iiibert, J. Wolf, Birket 
Foster, (S:c. Routledge. 4to. [Woodcuts.] 



Page 67. Giraffes. 

,, 216. Swan. 

,, 309, Pelicans. 

,, 311. Pelicans and Young. 



Page 315. Flamingoes. 

,, 323. Tiger seizing a Zebu. 
,, 369. . House Martin and Nest. 



Traits and Anccdoics of A?timah. With illustrations by Wolf. 
}5entley. 8vo. [Two of the illustrations arc by Zwccker. 
Woodcuts.] 

page 69. The Bull and the Bear. 
c,6. An uncalled-for Assault. 
,, 1^1. The Briton and his Beef. 
,, 238. Starved to Death. 



Frontispiece : An Unpleasant 

Predicament. 
Page 26. Retreat of the Leo- 

nidtx;. 



[Reprinted under the title of (Siirims aud hislnutivi; Stviics ah ut \\ ild 
^Inimah and Birds. Ninnno. 1873. J 

Tennent, Sir James Emerson. Skck/ics of the Natural 
Histo7y of Ccylo)}. Longmans. [Woodcuts.] 



Page ^'5. Ceylon Monkeys. 

,, '^14. Group of Flying Foxes. 

,, 23. Indian Bear. 

,, *26. Ceylon Leopard and 

Cheetah. 

,, ^38. Mongoose. 

,, 41. Flying SquiiTel. 

, , '*44. Coflee Rat. 

,, *5a. Mouse Deer. 

,, 69. The Dugong. 



Page 184. Mode of Tying an Ele- 
phant. 

,, 185. ■ His Struggles for Free 
dom. 

,, 188. Impotent Fury. 

,,. 189. Obstinate Resistance. 

,,. 203. Attitude for Defence. 

,, 204. Singular Contortions. 

,, , 243. The Hornbill. 

,, 247. The Devil Bird. 

I'hese cuts also appear in Haitwig's Tropical \\\rld. Longmans. 1863. 



The Alphabet of Birds, with pictures by Wolf, Weir, Zwecker, 
&c. Engraved by Brothers Dalziel. Routledge. [i Wood- 
cut. The Aptcryx.] ' * 

P. H. GOSSE. Tlie Ronia?icc of Natural History. Nisbet. 8vo. 
[Woodcuts.] 



Frontispiece : The Gorilla. 
Page 42. The Hyrena in the 
Deserted City. 
, , 60. A Brazilian Forest 

Scene. 
,, 82. A Tropical Bird Sta- 
tion. 



Page 118. The African Elephant. 

, , 200. Wildfowl on Solitary 
River. 

,, 208. A Moose Yard. 

,, 250. Encounter with a Rhino- 
ceros. 



The Roviajtce of Natural History, Second Series. 

Frontispiece : Fascination. 
Page 36. Encounter with a Moa. 
,, 304. Antelopes. 



Page 310. IMourning the Dead 
Cuckoo. 
,, 326, Peacock Shooting. 



3i6 WORKS ILLUSTRATED BY J. WOLF 



1861. 



1861 



1861. 



Eliza Cook. Poems. Selected and edited by the Autlior. Illus- 
trated by John Gilbert, J. Wolf, H. Weir, J. D.Watson, &c. 
[Woodcuts. Engraved by Dalziel Brothers.] Routledge. 410. 

Page 55. 'Song of the Sea- . Page 2 [5. 

gulls.' ,, 241. 

,, 195. ' Birds.' ,, 402. 
,, 197- 



' The Rook sits high.' 

' To the Robin.' 

' Not as I used to do.' 



English Sacred Poetry. Selected by R. A. Willmott. Illustrated 
by Holman Hunt, J. D. Watson, John Gilbert, J. Wolf, &c. 
[Woodcuts engraved by Dalziel Brothers.] Routledge. 4to. 

Page 40. Search after God. Page 127. The Garden. 

,, 59. Decay of Earthly ,, 160. God s Argument with Job. 

Pomp. I ,, 347. The Truant Hour. 

,, 119. The Bird. 1 ,, 35^. Wisdom Unapplied. 

[Another Edition was published in 1877.] 

Zoological Sketches by Joseph Wolf. Made for the Zoological 
Society of London from Animals in their Vivarium in the 
Regent's Park. Edited with notes by Philip L. Sclater, 
M.A. Oaves. [Lithographs by Mr. Smit. Coloured by 
hand after the original water-colour drawings.] 

Mammals. 

1. The Chimpanzee .... Troglodytes niger. 

2. The Pluio Monkey .... Ceropithecus pluto. 

3. The Lion Felis leo. 

leopardus. 
picta. 

,> eyra. 

macrocelis. 
ser\'al 
chaus, 
caracal. 

canadensis, 
jubata. 
Bassai'is astuta. 
Mephitis humboldtii. 
Canis azarce. 
Ursus syriacus. 
Trichecus rosmarus. 
Cervus canadensis. 

,, leucurus. 
Oreas canna. 
Gazella subgutturosa. 
Oryx leucoryx. 
Ovis cycloceros. 
Capra jemlaica. 
Aiichenia pacos. 
liippotamus amphibius. 
Potomochoerus africanus. 
,, pencillatus. 

Mymecophaga jubata. 
Thylacinus cynocephalus. 
Phascolomvs wombat. 



4- 
5- 


1 he Leopard . 
The Painted Ocelot . 


u. 


The Evra . 


7- 


The Clouded Tiger . 


B. 


The Serval 


9- 


The Egyptian Cat . 


10. 


The Caracal 


n. 


The Red Caracal 


12. 


The Canadian Lynx 


13- 


The Cheetah . 


14- 


The Bassaris . 


15- 


The Patagonian Skunk 


16. 


The Grey Fox . 


17- 


The Syrian Bear 


18. 


The Walrus 


19- 


The Wapiti Deer . 


20. 


The White-tailed deer 


21. 


The Eland 


22. 


The Persian Gazelle 


23- 


The Leucoryx Antelope 


24- 


The Punjaub Sheep . 


25- 


The Thar Goat 


26. 


The Alpaca 


27. 


The Hippopotamus . 


28. 


The Bosch Vark 


29. 


The Red River Hog 


30- 


The Great Anteater . 


31- 


The Thylacine . 


32. 


The Tasmanian Wombat 



WORKS ILLUSTRATED BY y. WOLF 317 



1862. 



1863. 



1863. 



1863. 



1864. 



Falco sacer. 

,, greenlandicus. 

,, islandicus. 

,, Gypohie ? 
Phasianus torquatus. 
,, versicolor. 

Gallophasis horsfeildii. 
Tetrogallus caspius. 
Galloperdix lunulosa. 
Rhea ameiicana. 
Casuarius benelti. 
Apteryx mantelli. 
Otis tarda. 
Grus montignesia. 
Mycteria australis. 
Cignus nigricollis. 
Chloephaga poliocepbala. 



Birds 

33. The Salter Falcon 

34. The Greenland Falcon 

35. The Iceland , , 

36. The Angoloan Vulture 

37. The Chinese Pheasant 

38. The Japan 

39. Horsfield's Kaleege . 

40. The Caspian Snow Partridge 

41. The Painted Spur-Fowl . 

42. The American Rhea 

43. The Moonik 
4 J, Mantel's Apteryx 
4^. The Great Bustard . 

46. The Mantchurian Crane . 

47. The Australian mycteria . 

48. The Hlack-necked Swan . 

49. The Ashy-headed Goose . 

Reptiles. 

50. The Green Boa ..... Xiphosomacaninum. 

Johns, The Rev. B. A. British Birds in their Haunts. S. P.C. K. 
8vo. [One hundred and ninety woodcuts. There were 
subsequent Editions.] 

Baldwin, W. C. African Hunting. ' Illustrated by James 
Wolf and J. B. Zwecker.' Bentley. 8vo. [Auto-lithographs.] 
Page 79. River Scene. Page 372. An African Serenade. 

Q2. Inyalas. ,, 410. Night Shooting. 

,, 187. Chasing Harris Buck. ,, 424. A Narrow Escape. 

[Third Edition, 1895.] 

Reade, W. W. Savage Africa. Smith, Elder. 8vo. [Three 

Woodcuts.] 
Page 220. Gorilla and Xest. 1 Page 463. A Flood in Senegambia. 

,, 397. The Djikikunka. I 

[Second Edition, 1854. J 

Bates, H. W. The Nattcralist on the River Amasons. Murray. 

2 vols. 8vo. [4 Woodcuts.] 
Vol. I. Frontispiece : Adventure Page 232. Flat-topped Mountains of 

with Curl - crested Parauaqu4ra. 

Toucans. Vol. 2. Page 306. .Scarlet-faced and 

Page 177. Ant-Eater grappling Parauacu Monkeys, 

with Dog. 

[There were subsequent Editions.] 

Campbell, Col. Walter. My Indian Journal. Edmonston 

& Douglas. 8vo. [Auto-lithographs.] 
Frontispiece : The Tiger in Am- ! Page 369. Ibex of the Neilgherries. 



bush. 
Page loi. Indian Bison. 



377- 



.■^ambar. 



Quarterly Journal of Science. Pages 214-219. P. L. Sclater. 
"^ The Mammals of Madagascar. [Auto-lithographs.] 



3iS ll'ORKS ILLUSTRATED BY J. WOLF 

1864. Tlie Illuslralcd Pcjiiiy Almanack. Vickers, 172 Strand 

[Twelve wood-cut bird designs.] 

1S64. The Golden Hitrp. Hymns, Rhymes, and Songs for the Young. 

Adapted by H. W. Dulcken. lUustrated by J. D. Watson, 

T. Dalziel, and J. Wolf. [Woodcuts. Engraved by the 

brothers Dalziel.] Routledge. 4to. 

Page 29. |oy Everywhere. Page 125. The Chickens and the 

67. Live in l^eace. Hawk. 

74. Morning Song in ilie ,, 130. The Four .Seasons. 

Countrv. ,, 159. The Lion and the Wolf. 
,, ti5. The IJttle Lanib. 

1864. O'othcca Wollcyana. Edited by Alfred Newton, M. A. Parti. 

Accipitrcs. \'an Voorst. [Lithographs.] 

Tab. C. F.-ileo gyrfalco. [ Tab. F. Eagle's Nest. 

Tab. G. Eagle's Xest. 

1866. Stevenson, Hexrv, F.L.S. TJie liirds of Norfolk. \'an 
Voorst. 8vo. 

\'oi. I. Frontispiece : Bargate, I Bustard. [Lithographed l^y 

Surlingham Broad. 1 Sniit. After J. Wolf 1 

I ' Lithogi-aphed liy | \'ol. 3. Frontispiece : ScouUon Mere. 

J. Wclf and J. Jury.'l The Breeding Place of the 

r^ige 376. Pallas's Sand Grouse. ' Blackheaded Gull. [' Litho- 

[.-\uto-li[hogr.ai)h. ] , graphed by J, Wolf and 

\u\. 2. Frontispiece : Great ' J. Jury.'] 

1866. H.'iRTiNG, J. E. The Birds of Middlesex. A'an Voorst. Frontis- 

piece : ' The Head of Kingsbury Reservoir.' [Auto-litho- 
graph.] 

1867. Ti-:nnent, Sir James Emerson. The WildElephant, and the 

Method of Citpturiiin; and Taming it in Ceylon. Longmans. 
Post 8\-o. [Woodcuts.] 

Page 124. Noosing Wild Ele- Page 130. Ini|iotent Fur\'. 

phants. (Full ,, 132. Singular Contortions of an 

page. I Elephant. 

,, 126. Alode of Tying an ,, 134. Attitudes of Capti\es. 

Eleph:^nt. {f^ull page. ) 

,, 127. Flis Strnggles for ,, 135. Obstinate Resistance. 

Freedom. ,, 147. Attitude for Defence. 

I There is an earlier edition. ' 

1867. .l-isop's Tables. .\ new edition edited by Edward Garrett, M.A. 

With 100 illustrations by J. Wolf, J. B. Zweckcr, and 

T. Dalziel. Strahan. 3:11110. [Woodcuts.] 

Page t. The Cock and the , Page 95. The Fighting Cocks and 

Jewel. I the Eagle. 

13, The Eagle and the ,, 119. The Eagle and the Crow. 

Fox. ,, 143. The 'Portoise and the 

'>^. 'Pile jackdaw and the ICaglc. 
Peacocl^s. 



WORKS ILLUSTRATED BY J. WOLF 319 



1867. 



1867. 



1867. 



1867. 



1^67. 



Tristram, The Rev. H. B. The Natural History of the Bible. 
S.P.C.K. i2mo. [About 20 woodcuts, mostly taken from 
Johns' British Birds in their Haunts?^ 

Lloyd, L. The Game Birds and Wild Fowl of Sweden and 
No7-iuay. Day & Son. Royal S\o. [Full-page woodcuts.] 



Page 37, 
,, 241. 



The Capercaillie Lelc. 
The Rutf Lek. 



Pas 



:e 370. 
457- 



The Bird Cloud. 
W^ah'us and Polar 1 



Argyll, The DuKii OF. The Reign of Law. Strahan. 8vo. 

[Woodcuts illustrating the flight of birds.] 

Page 154. The .Swift. 1 Page 166. Sparrow-hawk, Merlin, 

,, 162. \\'ing of Gannet. | and Kestril hovering. 

,, 164. Wing of Golden I 

Plover. j 

Maunders' Treasury of Geography. Hughes' edition. Longmans. 
Frontispiece, line engraving : ' Animal Life in .South Africa 
in its Native State, from an original dra« ing by J. Wolf 
under the direction of C. J. .^ndcrsson.' 

Zoological Sketches^ by Joseph Wolf. Made for the Zoological 
Society of London. Edited with notes by Philip L. 
Sclater, &c. .Second series. (Praxes. [Lithographed 
by Mr. Smit after the original water-colour drawings. 
Coloured by hand.] 
Ma> 



I. Ashv-black Macaque 


\1-M.A 


J,,~i. 


Macacus ocreatus. 


2. Black-fronted Lemur 






Lemur nigrifrons. 


3. Ave Aye . 






Chiromys madagascariensis. 


4. Fen nee Fox 






Canis cerdo. 


5. Yaguaruncli Cat 






Fells yaguaruncli. 


6. Norwegian Lynx 






,, lynx. 


7. Viverrine Cat . 






viverrina. 


8. Rasse 






Viverricula malaccensis. 


9. The Ratcls 






Mellivora capensis and Mell 
vora indica. 


10. Bintiiron^g^ 






Arctictis binturong. 


II. The Sea Bear . 






Otaria hookeri. 


12. Persian Deer . 






Cervus maral. 


13. Mantchurian Deer . 






mantchuricus. 


14. Forniosan Deer 






tiavanus. 


15. Japanese Deer . 






sika. 


16. Rusa Deer 






rusa. 


17. Swinhoe's Deer 






swinhoii. 


18, Pudu Deer 






humulis. 


19. Leucoryx 






Oryx leucor\'x. 


20. Markhore - . 






Capra megaceros. 


21. Aoudad . 






Oyis tragelaphu.s, 


22. Aiadaman Pig . 






Sus andamanensis. 


23. Collared Peccary 






Dycotyles torquatus. 


24. African Elephant 






Elej^has africanus. 


25. Three-toed Sloth 






Bradypus tridactylus. 


26. Red Kangaroo 






Macro]]us rufus. 


27. Hairy-nosed Wombat 






. Phascolomys latifrons. 



320 WORKS ILLUSTRATED BY J. WOLF 



Birds, 



23. Satin Bower Bird 

29. Concave-casqued HornbiU 

30. Rhinoceros Hornbill 

31. Spotted Eagle 

32. Soemnierring's Pheasant 

33. Reeves' Pheasant 

34. Rufous-tailed Pheasant 

35. Siamese Pheasant 

36. Viellot's Fireback 

37. Swinhoe's Pheasant 

38. Lineated 

39. Horned Tragopan 

40. Talegalla 

41. Ostrich 

42. Weka Rail 

43. Saddle billed Stork . 

44. Shoe-bill . 

45. Kagu 

46. African Wood Ibis . 

47. Indian Wood Ibis . 

48. Upland Goose 

49. Shielded Duck 



Reptiles. 



50. The Clotho 



Ptilonorhyncus holosericeus. 
Buceros bicornis. 

,, rhinoceros. 
Aquila ncevia. 
Phasianus scemmerringii. 

,, reevsii. 

Euplocamus erythropthalmus. 
prnelatus. 

,, viellotti. 

,, swinhoii. 

,, lineatus. 

Ccriornis satyra. 
Talegalla lathanii. 
Struthio camelus. 
Ocvdromus australis. 
Ciconia senegalensis. 
Balreniceps rex. 
Rhinochetus jubatus. 
Tantalus ibis. 

,, leucDcephalus. 
Chloephaga magellanica. 
Anas scutulata. 



Clotho nasicornis. 



186S. liUCHANAN, Robert \V. North Coast^ and Other Poe)ns. Rout- 
ledge. Small 4to. [Four woodcuts at pp. 189, 191, 
and 213.] 

1868. My Pet's Picture Book. Routledge. [A few electrotypes from 

Wood's Natural History, in 'The Alphabet of Animals.'] 

1869. Wallace, A. R. The Malay Archipelago, The Land of the 

Orang-utan and the Bird of Paradise. Macmillan. 
Frontispiece : ' Orang-utan attacked by Dyaks.' 

On the title-page and at p. 41 : 'Female Orang-utan,' 
from a photograph. [Woodcuts.] 

[Also in subsequent editions.] 

1869. EwiNG, J. H. Mi's. Overthe'way''s Renieiubranccs. Bell & Daldy. 
4to. Frontispiece only : ' The Albatross's Nest.' 
[Another edition 1885.] 



IN THE SEVENTIES. 

1S72. Knox, a. E. Aiitunins on the Spey. \\an Voorst. [Lithographs 
after J. Wolf] 



Frontispiece : ' Otherwise En- ] 
Page 46. The Last Chance. ' 



Page 93. The Black Informer, 
'\ 138. Onsarr. 



WORKS ILLUSTRATED BY J. WOLF 321 

1872. Uakwin, Charles. 77/t' Expressions of the Emotio?is in Man 
and Animals. Murray. 
[Page 136, 2 woodcuts. Cynopilhccus nii;-er.] 

1872. Elliot, D. G, P'.L.S., F.Z.S., &c. A Monograph of the 
PhasiitnidcF. 2 vols. Folio. Published by the Author. 
New York. [Lithographs by Smit & Kculemans, after 
J. Wolf. Coloured by hand.] 



\'o]. r. 



T. 


Generic Characters. 


18. 


f 'rossoptilon iiuriUim. 


2. 


I . > • 


19- 


Lophophorus impcyanus. 


3- 


Pavo cristatus. 


20. 


Ihuyi^i. 


4- 


,, nigripennis. 


21. 


sclateri. 


5. 


muticus. 


22. 


Tetraophasis obscurus. 


6. 


Polyplectron thibetanum. 


=3 


Ceriornis satyra. 


r._ 


, , l:)icalcaratum. 


24 


melanoccphala. 


8. 


gennaini. 


25 


temminckii. 


9. 


emphanum. 


26 


caboti. 


10. 


chalcurum. 


27 


blythi. 


II, 


Argus giganteus. 


28 


Pucrasia macrolopha. 


12. 


". .grayi. 


29 


davauceli. 


13- 


oceilatus. 


30 


xanthospila. 


14- 
IS- 


,, bipunctatus. 


30 


bis. ,. darwini. 


Crossoptilon thibetanum. 


31 


iNTeleagTis gallopavo. 


16. 


drouyni. 


32 


mcxicana. 


17- 


mantchuricum. 


33 


ocellata. 




Vol 


. 2. 




I. 


Phasianus shawi. 


24 


Euplocamus pr^'Iatus. 




cholchicus. 


oc 


swinhoii. 


3- 
4- 

5- 


insignis. 


26 


ignitus. 


mongolicus. 


27 


nobilis. 


torquatus. 


28 


erythrophthal 


6. 


formosanus. 




mus. 


7- 
8. 


', decollatus. 


29 


pyronotus. 


elegans. 


30 


Ilhagiiiis crucntus. 


Q- 


, , versicolor. 


31 


gcoftroyi. 


10. 


wallichi. 


32 


Gallus ferrugineus. 


I T. 


reevesi. 


33 


lafayelti. 


12. 


sa-mmerringi. 


34 


sonnerati. 


13- 


scenimerringi, 


35 


,, varius. 


var. seintillans. 


36 


Phasidus niger. 


13 


bis. Calophasis ellioti. 


37 


Agelastes meleagrides. 


14- 
I S- 


Tlianmalea amherstice. 


33 


Acryllium. 


picta. 


39 


Numida mdeagris. 


16. 


obscura. 


40 


coronata. 


17. 


Hybrid pheasant. 


41 


,, milrata. 

ptilorhynca. 


i8. 


Euplocamus albocristatus. 


42 


19. 
20. 


melanotus. 


43 


granti. 


horsfeildi. 


44 


verrauxi. 


21. 


nycthemerus. 


45 


cri.stata. 




andersoni. 


46 


pucherani. 


2^. 


lineatus. 


47 


,, plumifera. 



322 IVORKS 



ILLUSTRATED BY J. WOLF 



1S73. Lyrics of Ancient Palestine. With illustrations by A. de 
Neuville, P. Skelton, J. Wolf, J. D. Watson, &c. Re- 
ligious Tract Society. 8vo. (Page 86, ' Samson's Riddle.') 
[Woodcut.] 



1873. Gould, John. The Birds of Great Britain. Published by 
the Author, at 26 Charlotte Street, Bedford Square, W.C. 
5 \ols. Atlas folio. [Lithographs by Richter, after J. Wolf, 
of the following" species. Coloured by hand.] 



Vol. I. 



Egyptian \'ullure. 

Golden Eagle. 

Spotted Eagle. 

Sea Eagle. 

Osproy. 

Common Buzzavd. 

Rough-legged Buzzard. 

Goshawk. 

Sparrow-hawk. 

Iceland Falcon. 

Iceland Falcon, Young. 

Cireenland P\alcon. 

Greenland Falcon, Darl^ 



Gyr Falcon. 

l^eregrine. 

Hobby. 

Merlin. 
Kestril. 
Kite. 

Black Kite. 
Tawny Owl. 
Eagle Owl. 
Long-eared Owl. 
Snowv Owl. 
Eittle'OwI. 



\'ol. 3. 

Hooded Crow attacking eggs of Black Game. 



Vol. 4. 



Capercailzie. 
Black Game. 
Red Grouse. 
Ptarmigan in Winter. 
Ptarmigan in Summer, 

young. 
Ptarmigan in Autumn. 
Red-legged Partridge. 



,vith 



Great Bustard. 
Little Bustard. 
Common Crane. 
Grey Ploxer. 
Golden Plover. 
Woodcock. 
(;oot. 
Moorhen. 



Grey Lag Goosp. 
Bernicle Goose. 
,Mute Swan. 
Whooper, 
Bewick's Swan. 
Shoveller Duck. 
Mallard. 
Ferruginous Duck. 



Vol. 5. 



Stella's Duck. 
Scoter. 
Smew. 
Gannet. 
Iceland Gull. 
Herring Gull. 
Blackheaded Gull. 
Pomatorhine Skua. 



WORKS ILLUSTRATED BY J. WOLF 



1873. Elliot, D. C, P'.L.S., &c. A Monograph of the Birds of 
Paradise. Published by the Author. Atlas foho. [Litho- 
graphs by Smit, after J. Wolf. Coloured by hand.] 



I. 


Generic Characters. 


20. 


Epimachus ellioii. 


2. 


Paradisea apoda. 


21. 


Depranornis albertisi. 


3- 


raggiana. 


22. 


Seleucides alba. 


4- 


,, minor. 


23- 


Ptiloris magnificus. 


5- 


,, sanguinea. 


24- 


,, alberti. 


6. 


Manucodia atra. 


25- 


,, paradiseus. 


7- 


8. ,, l^eraudreni. 


26. 


,, victoria. 


9' 


Astrapia nigra. 


27. 


Sericulus melinus. 


10. 


Parotia sexpennis. 


28. 


Ptilonorhynchis violaceus. 


II. 


l.ophorina atra. 


29. 


rawnsleyi. 


12. 


Diphyllodes spcciosa. 


30- 


Chlamydodera maculata. 


13- 


,, chrysoptcra. 


31- 


nuchalis. 


14- 


respublica. 


32. 


cervinivcntri 


15- 


Xanthomelus aureus. 


33- 


xanthogastri 


16. 


Cicinnurus regius. 


34- 


^Elurosdus crassirostris. 


17. 


Paradigalla carunculata. 


35- 


me'anotis. 


18. 


Semioptera wallacii. 


36- 


,, buccoides. 


19. 


Epiniachus speciosus. 


37- 


Amblyornis inornata. 



1873. ^'''^ ^ifi <-^'^'^ Habits of Wild Animals. Illustrated with 

designs by Joseph Wolf. Engraved by J. W. and Edward 
Whymper, with descriptive letterpress by D. G. Elliot, 
F.L.S., &c. Macmillan. Super royal 4to. 



Who comes here ? 

A Hairbreadth Escape. 

The Struggle. 

Bruin at Bay. 

The Island Sanctuary. 

At Close Quarters. 

Strategy versus Strength. 

Gleaners of the Sea. 

The .Siesta. 

A Tropical Bathnig Place. 



Hunted Down. 
A Race for Life. 
A Happy Family. 
Maternal Courage. 
Rival Monarchs. 
The King of Beasts. 
The Shadow Dance. 
Catching a Tartar. 
The Ambuscade. 
The .\valanche. 



1874. Picture Posies. Poems chiefly by living authors, and drawings 

by F. Walker, J. D. Watson, Birket Foster, J. Wolf, and 
others. Engraved by Dalziel Brothers. Routledge. 4to. 
[These woodcuts had for (he most part appeared in 
other works such as 'A Round of Days,' published by 
Routledge.] J. Wolf's are as follows ; — 



Page 172. Live in Peace. 

173. Morning Song in the 
Country. 
,, 191. The Four Seasons. 
194. Joy Everywhere. 
205. The Chickens and the 
Hawk. 



Page 209. 
,, 213. 
,, 214. 

227. 
■ ■ 233. 



The First Spring Day. 
The Death of the Deer, I. 

n. 

The Quail and her Young. 
By the River. 



24 JV02iA'S ILLUSTRATED BY y. WOLF 



1879. 



1S76. 



1876. 



Dresser, H. E., F.L.S., &c. The Birds of Europe. Pub- 
lished by the Author. 8 vols. [The following are htho- 
graphs, after J. Wolf, coloured by hand.] 

The designs for the title-pages : 

Syrniuni lapponicum. 
Gyps fulvus. 
Neophron percnopterus. 
Circus a^ruginosus i Juv, 

g Ad. 
Ad. i 

Circus cineraecus. 
Circus cyaneus. 

',, Swainsoni. 
Acjuila chrysaetus. 
Falco feldeggi. 

,, sacer. 

,, aesalon. 
Pterocles arenarius. 
SyrrhajDtes p.arado.xus. 
CEstrelata hiesitata. 

Thierleben. Kricgs- uiid Friedensbihier mis der TJiierwclt. \'on 
]i. TuMLKR. Mit 20 lUustrationen von Joseph Wolf. 
Einsiedehi, New York, Cincinnati und St. Louis ; Gebr. 
Karl und Nikolaus Benziger. [This is a reprint of the 
Wild Aniiiiais blocks.] 

Brp;hm's Tlnerlcbcn: allgeviciiie Kiiiide des Thierreie/is. Leipzig. 
[In these volumes will be found a considerable number 
of woodcuts copied from Wolf's designs in T/ie Proceedings 
of the Zoological Society, or in other works. The animals 
have in some cases been slightly altered, and other back- 
grounds and accessories have been introduced. The 
follo\\ing are instances from among the mammals : — 
\o\. I. 



Plate 308. 
.1 319- 


Lapp Owl ..... 
Griffon Wilture . . . . 


.. 322. 
,, 326. 


Egyptian , . . . . 
Marsh Harrier .... 


.. 327- 


iV'Iarsh Harrier . . . . 


., 328. 


Munt.igu's Harj-ier 


.. 329- 


Hen Harrier . . . . 


r . 330- 


f^allid Hari'ier . . . . 


.. 345- 


Golden liagle . . . . 


• ■ 375' 


Lanner . . . . . 


., 370. 


Saker 


„ 38i- 
466. 


Merlin 

hlack-bellied Sand GrousL- . 


,. 468. 


Pallas's ."^and tjrouse . 


,, 618. 


Caj^ped Petrel .... 



Page 151. Cynocephalus por- 

carius. 
,, 1C6. C}Tiocephahis ge- 

lada. 
,, 189. Allies bartletti. 
,, 212. Pithecia hirsuia. 
,, 215. Brachyurus cah'ul, 
,, 251. Luniur macaco. 
,, 254. Hapalcnmr griseus. 

Vol, 

Page 28. Bnssaris astuta. 
Knh\'dris lutris. 
Mephitis suffocans. 

Vol. 
Capra jcmlaica. 

[There are also some \ 



120. 
133- 



334- 



Page 265. Arctocebus ealabarensis. 

,, 269. Otolicmus galago. 

, , 278. Chiromys madagasca- 

rieiisis. 

,, 389. T'elis eyra. 

,, 390. Tigris regalis. 

,, 481. Felis viverrina. 

,, 509. Lynx canadensis. 



Page 215. Arctitis binturong. 
,, 611. Ornithorhyncus ]3ara- 
doxus. 



lirds in the succeeding Nolumes. ] 



'■:f 



nORKS I LLU STRAINED BY J. WOLF 325' 

Golden T/ioug/iis from Golden Fountains, illustrated by emi- 
nent artists. Engraved by the Brothers Dalziel. Warne. 

Page 19. My Doves, 1 Page 207. Linnets and Nest. 

,, 113. The Birds that awake ! 
the Morning. I 

[In an earher Edition the designs are printed in brown inl<.] 



IN THE EIGHTIES. 



1880. Hakting, J, E., F.L.S., ^^c. British Ani}nals extinct %viiJtin 

Historic Tifiics. Tiilbner. Demy 8vo. 



Page II. The Bear. 

II 77- 1 1 Wild Boai". 



Page 115. The \\'oir. 



1882. 



1883. 



Wilson, Dr. Wild Aninuils and Birds : their Haunts and 
Habits. With illustrations by Wolf and .Specht. Casscll. 
4to. 

[These illustrations by Welfare reprints of the whole of 
the Wild Animals series with different titles ; and, in 
addition, there are four other subjects.] 



The Gorilla at Home 

Bonnet Monkeys 

The Lion and his Prey 

A Fight for Life 

The laguar on the Watch 

Unconscious Victims 

Strategy versus Strength 

A Shadow Dance . 

An Unequal Contest 

Bruin at Bay . 

Bison and Grizzly Bear 

An Intruder Baffled 

just Saved 

In the Snow Drift . 

The Wild Boar at Bay 

A Favourite Watering PI 

Hunted Down 

The Island Sanctuary 

Only just Caught . 

The Harvest of the Sea 

An Arctic Scene 
A Marauder . 
A Midnight Attack 
The Home of the Heron 



rWho eontes here ? 
I .\ Hapj3y Family. 
jThe King of Beasts. 
[The Struggle. 
[The .Siesta. 
[The .Ambuscade. 

[The .Same. 

[Catching a Tartar. 

[The .Same. 

[Ki\al Monarehs. 

[Maternal Courage. 

[ A Race for Life. 

[The Avalanche. 

[;\t Close Quarters. 

[A Tropical Bathing Place. 

[ The Same. 

[The Same 

I A Hairbreadth Escape. 

[Gleaners of the Sea. 

[Polar Bear and Snowy Owls. 
[[Golden Eagle and Ptarmigan. 
[Wild Cat and Ring Dove. 
[A Lake with many Herons. 



Elliot, D. G., F.L.S., &c. A Monograph of the Felidcr. Pub- 
lished by the Author for the Subscribers. [Forty-three 
lithographs by Smit after J. Wolf. Coloured by hand.] 



326 



-QRKS ILL US 


I. 


Fclis !eo . 


2. 


,, concolor . 


3- 


,. tigris 


4- 


, , uncia 


5- 


, , onca 


6- 


7. ,, pardus 


8. 


,, diardi 


Q. 


,. marmorata 


TO. 


,, nianul 


II. 


, , pageros . 


12. 


,, coloco!]o . 


13- 


,, jaguarondi 


14. 


,, eyra . 


IS- 


,, badia. 


16 


,, teniminckii 


n- 


,, pLaniceps . 


18 


,, pardalis . 


19 


,, tigriiia 


20 


, , geoffroyi. 


21 


,, bengalensis 


22 


,, viverrina . 


23 


,, tristris. 


24 


,, scripta. 


2S 


,, chrysothrix. 


26 


, , ser\'al 


27 


., euplilura. 


28 


,, javensis. 


29 


, , rubignosa . 


30 


,, cat us 


3^ 


,, cartVa 


32 


,, nrnata 


33 


, chaus 


34 


., caadata. 


35 


,, ^hawiaiia . 


St* 


cer\aria. 


37 


,. canadensis 


3S 


,, pardiiia . 


39 


, , lynx. 


40 


,, rufa . 


41 


, , caracal 


42 


,, doniestica. 


43 


Cynailurusjubatus 



A TED 13 Y J. WOLF 



Lion. 
Puma. 

Tiger. 

Snow Leopard. 
Jaguar. 
Leopard. 

Cloudfd Leopard. 
Marbled Cat. 
Pallas's Cat. 
Pampas Cat. 
The ColocoUo. 
The Jaguarondi. 
The Eyra. 

Golden Cat. 
P1at-headed Cat. 
Ocelot. 
Margay. 

Leopard Cat. 
Fishing Cat. 



The Serval. 



Rustv-spotted Cat. 
Wild Cat. 
Egyptian Cat. 
Indit.n Desert Cat. 
Jangle Cat. 

Shaw's Cat. 

Canada Lynx. 
Pardine Lynx. 
The Lynx. 
Red Cat. 
'J"he L'aracal. 

Hunting Leopard, 



1883. Gould, John. The Birds of Asia. Published by the Author 
and continued after his death. 1850 to 1883. 7 vols. Atlas 
fol. [The following" are lithographs by Richter, after 
J. Wolf. Coloured by Hand.] 

Vol. I. 



PI a 


te T. 


Black Vulture . 


Otogy]3s calvus. 


. 4- 


Red-naped Falcon . 


Falco babylonicus. 




5- 


Saker Falcon 


sacer. 




6. 


Lanner ,, 


,, lanarius. 




7- 


Jugger . 


>. jugger. 




9- 


Rufous-breasted Spilornis 


Spilornis rufipectus. 




10. 




Spizaetus alboniger 




11. 


Govinda Kite . 


Milvus govinda. 



WORKS ILLUSTRATED BY J. WOLF 327 



Plate 74. Thibet Partridge 



Vol. 6. 



Vol. 7, 



13. Hulwer's Pheasant 

15. Viellot's Fireback 

18. Cheer 

29. C'aspian Snow Partridge 

30. Himalayan Snow Partridge 

31. Altaic Snow Partridge 

32. Thibetan Snow Partridge 
34. Common Pheasant 

37. SfjL'nimerring's Pheasant 

38. Sparkling Pheasant . 

40. Japanese Pheasant 

41. Mongolian Pheasant . 
47. Pjlythe's Horned Pheasant 
62. Zic Zac 

69. Aiandarin Duck . 



Perdix hodgsonias. 



Lobiophasis bulweri. 
Euploeamus viellotti. 
Caireus wallichi. 
Tetraogallus easpius. 

himalayensis. 
, , altaicus. 

libotanus. 
Phasianus colchicus. 
., scenimerringi, 

,, scintillans. 

,, versicolor. 

,, niongolieus. 

Ceriornis blythii. 
Pluranus cegyptus. 
,, Aix galericuiata. 



18S3. Harting, J. E., F.L.S., &c. Sketches of Bird Life from Tzueiity 

Years' Observations oft their Haimts and Habits. Illus- 
trated by Whymper, Wolf, and others. Allen. Demy 8vo. 



IN I'HE NINETIES. 

1892. Buxton, E. N. Short Stalks or Hunting Camps: North, 

Sotith, East, and West. Illustrated by Lodge, Whymper, 
Wolf, &c. Stamford. Svo. [Woodcuts.] 



Page 174. ' Skrxmt.' 



i Page 



The Capra ae-garus.' 



Richard Lyuekker. The Royal Natural History. Illus- 
trated by Specht, Miitzel, Wolf, &c. Warne. In prog-ress. 

The illustrations copied from Wolf are confined for the most 
part to reprints of the cuts in Brehm's ThicrlebernXxc^-dY 
given, but without the acknowledgment of their author- 
ship. They are here signed ' G. M.' Among other instances 
in the first volume (for example) in which Wolfs work has 
been made use of, the following may be mentioned : — 



Page 150. White-cheeked Sapajou . 

,, 164. Variegated Spider Monkey 
,, 176. Humboldt's Saki 

Bald Uakari . 
,, 192. The Silver Marmoset 

. ,, 226. The Senegal Galago 
,, 217. The Gentle Lemur . 
,, 235. The Awantibo . 



See Proceedings of the Zoo- 
logical Society, 1865, plate 45. 

See Ditto 1867, plate 47. 

See Bates' Xattiralist on ihe 
River Amazons, \-o\. 2, |3. 306. 

See Ditto. 

See Proceedings of the Zoo- 
logical Society, 186S, plate 24. 

See Ditto 1863, plate 28. 

See Ditto 1863, plate 17. 

See Ditto 1864, plate 28. 



328 WORKS ILLUSTRATED BY J. WOLF 



Page 261. The Red-necked J'ruit Plat. 
Signed ' J. Wolf ' . . . 

The Pen-tailed Tree-shrew. 
Signed ' J. Smit.' 
,, 345. I'he Potomogale 

' The Struggle in the Stream ' . 



See Tennent's Sketches of /he 
Nat urn I History of Ceylon , 
p. 14. 

See Proceedings of the Zoo- 
logical Society. Mammalia 2. 
PVom a lithograph signed by 

J. Wolf, and natural size. 
Part only of ' The Struggle ' in 
Wild Animals. 
,, 363. The Lion at the Pool. 
,, 410. The Pishing Cat. ' After ^^"olf.' See Elliot's Monograph of the 

Felidic, plate 22. 
,, 489. The Eyra ..... See Ditto, plate 14. 
,, 437. The Northern I^'iiv . . See Ditto. 

,, 560. An Interesting Discover)- . . Part onlv of 'The -Shadow 

Dance ' in Wild Animals. 



1895. Piadminton Library, Big Ganic Slionfivg. Longmans. 1895. 

1 vols. In \'ol. I. E]c\-en reprocUictions of the drawings 
which were made to illustrate ^Ir. AV. C. Oswell's African 
Adventures. 



Page 40. Molopo Ri\-er. 
QO. Odds — 2i *^o I- 
,, 116. Feeling both Horns 

of a Dilemma. 
., T20. The Drop Scene. 
,, 128. Elephants — Znugn 

Flats. 
, T-jO. Threatening of Ele- 
phantiasis. 



Page 52. Death of Superior. 

66. A Xight Attack, Lupa]")i, 
70. 'Post ec|uitem sedet 
' ' fuh'a " cura.' The 
Lioness docs the scan- 
sion. 
102. Death of Stael. 
,, 131. Maneless Lions. 



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