18TH CENTURY ARTWORK REPRINTED BY HAND BY VPCo ON ORIGINAL PAPER FROM THE 18TH CENTURY.
From a book called "A Description of Above Three Hundred Animals", published in 1795.
Inside this book are hundreds of images of beasts, some real (and some not so) all with corresponding descriptions.
Below is the accompanying text from the book which tells us what was known about the elephant two hundred and twenty-six years ago (including the elephant's love of wine).
THE ELEPHANT is bred in the hot East and South countries: That of India is the largest, being about 13 feet high, and seven broad; and is much the largest of all land animals.
It is for the most part of a mouse colour, or black. The skin is so hard, that a sharp sword cannot penetrate through it, especially on the back; the most tender part being under the belly. Its eyes are like Swine's.
It has four teeth on each side, with which it grinds its meat like meal; besides these, it has two others, which hang out beyond the rest; in the male downwards, in the female upwards: Those of the male are the largest; those of the female are smaller, but sharper. One of them keeps always sharp, to revenge injuries; and with the other it roots up trees and plants for its meal. The teeth of the male of this beast grows to be ten feet long; some Elephant's teeth have been seen, that (they say) have weighed singly three hundred pounds weight. The teeth of the female are reckoned more precious than those of the male. They can lose once in ten years; which falling off, they carefully bury in the earth, (as is thought) on purpose that men may not find them. The two teeth hanging out beyond the rest are ivory.
The Elephant's tongue is very small, but broad: his trunk, through which he draws breath, serves him as an hand to receive his food; it is crooked, gristly, and flexible. At the root, next to the nose, in the trunk, are two passages, one into his body and head, by which he breathes, and one into his mouth , whereby he takes up his food. With this he fights in war, and can take up small piece of money from the ground.
It has joints in its legs, which can bend at pleasure. Its feet are round like a horse's and vastly broad.
The original print
It is a great lover of wine, and will drink, (if same be true) about fourteen gallons at a time of either wine or water.
It goes with young, according to some writers, three years, and others but two years; and brings forth but one at a time, and that but little bigger than a Calf, and grows till thirty.
When it crosses a river, the dam takes her young up with her snout, with which she grasps it, carries it safe over.
The female is more strong and courageous than the male, and will bear a greater burden: but in war the male is more graceful, because taller. When it is most loaded, it will go swift; and can carry a wooden tower up on its back, and thirty men, with their ammunitions and provisions of war.
It is one of the most docile of all animals, and may be taught to do many things. If it receives no hurt, it will live an hundred years, and sometimes two hundred. The blood of an elephant is observed to be the coldest of all animals.
28 x 17 cm, 11 x 6 3/4 inches
Handmade in the 1790s by J Taylor at Basted Mill, Kent.
380 x 245 mm, 15 x 9 7/8 inches (approx)