Hollar's famous etching of a mole
By HOLLAR, W[enceslaus] , 1646

[Dead Mole]

Natural History, Science & Medicine
  • Author: HOLLAR, W[enceslaus]
  • Publication date: 1646.
  • Physical description: Etching.
  • Dimensions: 70 by 140mm. (2.75 by 5.5 inches).
  • Inventory reference: 18315


One of Hollar’s most well-known prints depicts a dead mole laid on its stomach, facing right. While animals were a common feature in sporting and landscape prints at this time, they were largely limited to grander forms of wildlife such as dogs, horses and birds. Although Hollar’s mole undoubtedly stands out among this more majestic menagerie, the true subject of the etching is the fur. Fur muffs also feature in a number of Hollar’s still-life and fashion prints, and it may be that the present image was made in preparation for those, or simply as a study in capturing the material. Apart from the four claws and nose of the mole, the etching is entirely focused on the fur, which Hollar depicts with immense skill, capturing not only its texture but also the natural tufts and layers that make the image so realistic.


  1. NHG Hollar 908
  2. Pennington 2106
  3. RCIN 804452.