Callyonimus Orientalis Drawing

Researching some of these older works can sometimes lead to new mysteries. This vintage fish drawing is one of those times. The actual print is labeled Callyonimus orientalis. A Google search suggests spelling it Callionymus orientalis. But, either way, I’ve not been able to find any reference to this beautiful fish other than in reference to the book from which this drawing came from. Based on the name, one would assume that this lovely creature, or at least one quite similar, lived in the waters of the Orient. The shape reminds me a bit of a catfish.

Callyonimus orientalisWith no more to share about the fish itself, I’ll move on the the artist. His name was J.F. (Johann Friedrich) Hennig (b. ca. 1778). The most I can find out about Hennig is that he was a German painter and engraver. Most web references to him relate to his work on Systema ichthyologiae iconibus CX illustratum a work by Marcus Elieser Bloch (1723-1799) which was published in 1801. The book is full of beautiful fish book plates. I suspect, like much work of this time, the drawings were not done from real fish and therefore may not be true representations of the animals depicted. Additionally, I suspect my lack of information stems from the name being changed since this book was published.

Anyway, I really like this fellow. He seems almost friendly with a toothy smile and pink lips. The fish is speckled, even on his fins, and his body is colored in shades of orange. I did take the liberty of redoing the title on the plate – the scan had fuzzed it out a bit. I used a font similar to the original for the title but left the signature alone.

The Callyonimus Orientalis drawing shown here is a slightly smaller size to save bandwidth and fit the design of my site. Click on the drawing to see a larger version more suitable for printing and framing.

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