Asian elephant

    Date
    1766
    Creator
    Louis Boily (1735, French) , Printmaker
    After
    D Girille, Artist
    Object type
    Library reference
    RCN63249
    Material
    Technique
    Dimensions
    height (print): 232mm
    width (print): 315mm
    Subject
    Content object
    nature
       > animal
          > elephant
    Description
    Study of an Indian elephant, Elephas maximus indicus owned by Charles of Bourbon (1716-1788) later King Charles III of Spain. The mammal was the gift of Ottoman Sultan Mahmud I as a mark of good relations between the courts of Naples and Constantinople and was kept in the menagerie at the Portici palace (Palazzo Reale di Portici) in southern Italy from 1742 until the animal’s death in 1756. The elephant was preserved and is part of the collections of the University of Naples Zoological Museum.

    Mount Vesuvius is shown as a background detail. Portici Palace gardens are on the slope of the volcano.

    Plate 1 from the book Opuscula di fisico argomento…1 Descrizione dell’ Elefante… by Francesco Serao (Giuseppe de Bonis, Naples, 1766).

    The illustration is inscribed lower right: ‘D Girelle del. L Boily S.’ With a scale below, ‘Scala di dodica Palmi Napolotani’.

    Francesco Serao (1702-1783), Italian physician and anatomist.
    Associated place
    <The World>
       > Europe
          > Italy
    Credit
    ©The Royal Society
    Image number
    RS.11868
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