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Evolution of household articles, animals etc. according to Darwin's doctrine. Colour lithographs by Fr. Schmidt, ca. 187-(?).

Schmidt, Fr., lithographer in Berlin, active approximately 1870.
[between 1860 and 1869?]

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Credit: Evolution of household articles, animals etc. according to Darwin's doctrine. Colour lithographs by Fr. Schmidt, ca. 187-(?). Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)

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The set of twenty satirical German lithographs about the theory of natural selection recently introduced into Germany through the first translation of Charles Darwin's book The origin of species, which was published in German in 1860. The title leaf recto depicts a hirsute Neanderthal taking leave of his relatives (a pack of tree-climbing monkeys) in pursuit of creatures more like himself. The title leaf verso contains a discussion between two professors of mathematics (A and B) , who have been reduced to geometrical configurations which they study: this takes its departure from a caricature which appears between the two figures entitled with English lettering 'Pretty faces and some sharp lines'. The work proceeds with lithographs, purportedly by Professor B, caricaturing Darwinian theory by depicting usually inanimate objects a tea-kettle, a bottle of ink, the helmet of a Prussian soldier metamorphosing into humans or animals


Berlin (Elsasserstr. 3, N. Berlin) : Invent., collect., lith. u. edirt v. Fr. Schmidt, lith. Anst, [between 1860 and 1869?]

Physical description

20 prints : lithographs, with watercolour ; sheets 16.3 x 21.3 cm +


Nach Darwins Lehre entw. u. lith. vom Herausgeber. Der erste Praeadamite (geb. ? etwa i. J. 180,500 v. Chr. G.) nimmt Abschied von seinen Verwandten ... Invent., collect., lith. u. edirt v. Fr. Schmidt, lith. Anst. N-Berlin, Elsasserstr. 3

Publications note

Not mentioned in Janet Browne, 'Darwin in caricature: a study in the popularization and dissemination of evolution', in The art of evolution, Hanover, N.H.: Dartmouth College Press, 2009, pp. 18-34; nor in Pamela Kort, Darwin: art and the search for origins, exhibition catalogue, Schirn Kunsthalle, Frankfurt, 2009


Wellcome Library no. 680406i


Taf. 1. Wie aus einer Theekanne sich ein Fischreiher entwickelt. [How from a teapot a heron evolves]
Taf. 2. Was sich aus einer Scheere mit der Zeit herausbilden kann. [What with time can be developed from a pair of scissors [i.e. a ballet dancer]]
Taf. 3. Wie aus einem russischen Paukenträger ein Engel entstehen kann. [How from a Russian drummer an angel can come into being]
Taf. 4. Und wiederum: wie aus einem holden Engel ein altes Weib entsteht. [And again: how from a pretty angel an old women comes into being]
Taf. 5. Entstehung eines Backfisches aus einem Backfisch. [development of a Backfisch (fish) into a Backfisch (teenage girl)]
Taf. 6. Wie selbst aus dem Theatervorhang der Director entstehen kann. [How from the stage curtain the theatre director can evolve]
Taf. 7. Die Entwickelung des Ingenieurs aus einem Zirkel. [The evolution of the engineer from a pair of compasses]
Taf. 8. Wie aus einem Panduren der Garibaldi entstanden ist. [How from a Croatian guardsman Garibaldi came into being]
Taf. 9. Wie aus einer russischen Pickelhaube eine Friedenstaube entsteht. [How from a Russian helmet a dove of peace comes into being]
Taf. 10. Beweis: wie aus einer Mücke ein Elephant werden kann. [How from a mosquito an elephant can come into being]
Taf. 11. Wie aus einer Katze eine Violine werden kann. [How from a cat a violin can come into being]
Taf. 12. Wie aus einer Tintenflasche ein Russe entsteht. [How from an ink bottle a Russian soldier comes into being]
Taf. 13. Wie ein Nachtfalter entsteht. [How a moth comes into being, from a dandy]
Taf. 14. Wie aus einem Pflasterstampfer ein Pflastertreter werden kann. [How from a paving pounder a flâneur can emerge]
Taf. 15. Wie der Knabe zum Manne reift. [How a boy eating bread matures into a man with a beard]
Taf. 16. Wie aus einem Waggon ein Kroate entsteht. [How a railway waggon evolves into a Croat]
Taf. 17. Die Entstehung einer Kaffeeschwester aus einer Kaffeekanne. [The development of a "coffee sister" (old biddy) from a coffee pot]
Taf. 18. Was aus einer Wutky-Flasche werden kann. [A vodka bottle evolves into a Russian priest]
Taf. 19. Wie aus dem Schwerte eines Ungläubigen ein sehr Gläubiger werden kann. [How from the scimitar of the infidel a person of great faith can come into being]
Taf. 20. Entwickelung des Bücklings aus einem Bückling. Wir und unsere 19 Vorbilder empfehlen uns zur gefälligen Verbreitung mit vorzüglicher Hochachtung. [Evolution of a herring into a bowing gesture ...]


  • German

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