Johann Leonhard Frisch


Johann Leonhard Frisch (1666-1743)


Johann Leonhard Frisch had a diverse career, working as a singer, an interpreter in the German army, a headmaster of a school in Berlin, and finally artist and publisher. After settling in Berlin, Frisch became a member of the Society of Sciences in 1706, under the recommendation of the German mathematician Gottfried Leibnitz. Frisch was interested in natural history and collected specimens to form his own “Cabinet of Curiousities.” His drawings of birds from this collection would later become the basis for this publication, which included 252 bird illustrations.


Frisch began publishing Vorstellung der Vögel in Teutschland und Beyläuffig auch Einiger Fremden, mit Ihren Eigenschaften Beschrieben…und Nach Ihren Natürlichen Farben in 1733. The work was published in 14 parts, with a supplement, over a period of thirty years. It was completed after his death in 1763 by his sons, Leopold Frisch, who wrote the text, and Ferdinand Helfreich, who together with Philip Jakob Frisch, engraved and colored the plates. The last 30 plates were by Johann's grandson Johann Christoph Frisch. This rare work is divided into twelve parts for the different bird families, and covers European and some exotic species.