This truly horrible image is the stuff of nightmares. I can’t quite relate the birds, if indeed they are birds, to anything in nature, so I will assume that the etcher, one J. B. Kenrick, was on something at the time, or just had a rather lurid imagination.
But exactly who was the etcher? I’ve tried every source, but cannot find anyone matching that name in any reference work listing artists. The only candidates I can locate are Joseph and Josephus Kendrick, who were both sculptors. It is possible that one of these may have decided to drop the letter ‘d’ in their name. And as I also acquired two other, much smaller, much less accomplished etchings with the same signature, which depict some sinister monkeys sitting in a circle, it could be that one of these sculptors amused himself with etching some time in the early or mid nineteenth century. Or the etcher could be a gifted amateur called Kenrick who has escaped the attention of art historians.
It did occur to me that in depicting monkeys Kenrick might have been attempting a satiric comment on Darwin, but the horrific ‘ birds’ don’t seem to be satirical in any way. I would, however, welcome any interpretation of this image ---the more outlandish the better. [RH]