the Tsarskoye Selo Picture No. 1
In 1891 Dr. E. Büchner found in the private library of the Tsar in Tsarskoye Selo a manuscript diary of the naval officer Sven Waxell*)Bering's deputy on board the St. Peter
, and in it a map with this carefully elaborated picture showing fur seal, sea lion to the left of the seacow (not below or above as in the other examples). He published it in "Die Abbildungen der nordischen Seekuh"
as Tsarskoye Selo Picture Nr. 1
Head and eyes are very large; the rather short body shows exaggerated transverse folds, even across the fluke. The large fluke is shown in perspective rather than, as in the previous depictions, plain vertical. The fluke has a wavy edge, probably representing the frayed consistency described by Steller. A jet of water blows from the nostrils, which are shown at the forward tip of the head. There is no line along the backbone. The arm is distinctively claw-like.
Büchner believed that a different individual seacow is illustrated here than on the other three contemporary pictures. According to the proportions of the body it might represent a juvenile (large head, distinct neck, short trunk, size of fluke).
Waxell wrote: "At one time we killed a calf, which at low tide had stayed behind between some rocks, and could not get out again. It weighed about 1200 pounds and tasted delicious."
(for comparison the picture of a baby manatee, after Buffon)
Probably however this is, as Heptner believed, a "heavily distorted" copy. The seals also are caricatures of the living animals.
Already 1867 von Middendorf had discovered in the library of the
the Middendorf Picture
(in "The Voyage of the Vega")
Petersburg Academy a similar drawing inserted in an old map, (the so called Middendorf-Picture) and published it in his "Die Thierwelt Sibiriens"
. The folds at the side of the head in the Tsarsko Selo original have been misinterpreted here as outer ears and no bristles are shown. In the following years several versions of this map with German and English inscriptions were found (for instance one in Uppsala by Dr. Dall).
Middendorf's illustration and the other versions were obviously "crude copies"*)Büchner 1891, S. 20
of the (already distorted) Tsarskoye Selo original. It can be assumed that no Plenisner sketch was available to the artist.