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A Set of Three 18th Century Engravings of Fish by Marcus Bloch, Circa 1780.

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A Set of Three 18th Century Engravings of Fish by Marcus Bloch, Circa 1780.


Marcus Elieser Bloch (1723 - 1799) was a German medical doctor and naturalist. He is generally considered one of the most important ichthyologists of the 18th century.

Bloch was born in Anspach and practised as a physician in Berlin. He is best known for his encyclopedic work in ichthyology. Between 1782 and 1795 he published his Allgemeine Naturgeschichte der Fische, a 12-volume, beautifully illustrated comprehensive work on fishes. The first three volumes describe fishes in Germany and were entitled Oeconomische Naturgeschichte der Fische Deutschlands, the remaining volumes dealt with fishes from other parts of the world and were entitled Naturgeschichte der ausländischen Fische.

Bloch's collection of about 1500 specimens is today preserved at the Museum for Natural History (Naturhistorisches Museum) of the Humboldt University in Berlin.

The nine fish are as follows:

Cyprinus Barbus, or Barbel. Found in Europe, excluding the Italian, Greek, and Iberian peninsulas. Popular game fish.

Rex Cyprinorum, or Common Carp. While now found globally, it originated in the Danube.

Cyprinus Jdus, or a species of carp.

Cyprinus Aspius, or Asp. Found in most European waters, excluding Denmark, France, Great Britain, Switzerland and Southern France. It is quite a rare species, eating fish and small aquatic birds.

Pleuronectes Platessa, or European Plaice. Found in the northern Atlantic from Greenland and Norway into the Mediterranean and the White Sea.

Salmo Fario, or Brown Trout. Found in the northeast Atlantic into central France.

Reuronectes Rhombus, or Brill. Found in the Eastern Atlantic, Mediterranean and Black Sea.

Cyprinus Carassius, or Crucian Carp. Found all over Eurasia, from Spain to southern China, it is "a well-established element of the fish fauna of Europe", and also "a potential pest."

Scomber Trachurus, or Atlantic Horse Mackerel. Found all over, fom the Atlantic to the Mediterranean and Black Seas, as well as the Indian and Pacific Oceans.