Blairs elephant
Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) at
Abraham Sever in Netherlands

dead elephant ☨ ♀ Blairs elephant  dead elephant
Blairs elephant displayed as museum specimen.
Blairs elephant as museum specimen. Tabula II Represents the Sceleton of the Elephant, as it was mounted by my direction, and now stands in the Repository of Rarities’, from P. Blair, Osteographica elephantina (1713)
A drawing of the elephant with his trainer Jan Baptista Jaanz, at the time it was paraded in Stuttgart for entertainment, 1695.
A drawing of the elephant with his trainer Jan Baptista Jaanz, at the time it was paraded in Stuttgart for entertainment, 1695.
Alternative name: Verhagens Olifant (Netherlands), Ebracher Elefant (Germany), Dundee elephant (Scotland)
Taxidermy locationThe Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, , United Kingdom



Species:Asian elephant (Elephas maximus)
Sex and age:Female ♀
Born:* wild
Birth place: in Asia unspecified location
Dead: 1706-04-27
Death location: Abraham Sever Dundee
Death reason: accident: drowned
Locations - owners
Present / last location:Abraham Sever, in Netherlands

Date of arrival

1683-00-00Abraham Sever
from Jean Baptista Jansen

Jean Baptista Jansen
from Bartel Verhagen

Record history
History of updates2021-07-10: merged with previous 7505, it seems to be the same elephant

Latest document update2021-07-13 07:21:37
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† Blairs elephant is a dead Female ♀ Asian elephant (Elephas maximus), , who died 1706-04-27 at Abraham Sever, in Netherlands, . Official death reason described as drowned.

Museum locationThe Museum specimen remains of this animal is within the collection at The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge, in , United Kingdom.


Blairs elephant was born wild at Asia unspecified location.

Comments / pictures

Blairs elephant in Abraham Sever
The elephant with his trainer Jan Baptista Jaanz, Stuttgart 1695.

Blairs elephant has also been referred to as the Verhagens Olifant in Netherlands, the Dundee elephant in Scotland, and in Germany as "Der Ebracher Elefant".

Records from Elephant Notes and News, Elephant Research Foundation
Blair's elephant was a female Asian (Elephas maximus) that died near
Dundee, Scotland, in 1706 and was thoroughly dissected and described by
Patrick Blair in 1710. Her mounted skin and Skeleton were on display in the
Repository of Rarities in Dundee (see Elephant, 2(1):41 and 86-93). In 1982,
while in the United Kingdom, the editor contacted the Repository in Dundee in
order to visit the skin and Skeleton of Blair's elephant and found out
...that someone had heard that some proverbially thrifty townsman had had
the bones ground down to make a top dressing for some of the fields in
Strathmore (a village not far from Dundee), and so the 'poor beast' of
Blair's narrative got back to earth again." (pages 265-266 from the
Transactions of the Botanical Society of Edinburgh, April 1907, as sent to
the editor on 23rd of February 1983 by Richard K. Brinklow, Keeper of Natural
History, Museums and Art Galleries, Dundee). The skin was not found either.
The editor thanks Kim Bryan of the British Museum (Natural History), London, England, for her help in locating the Repository, in Dundee, Scotland. [1]

Locations from which there are written documentation about the elephant [2]: 1688 Leipzig
1689 Vienna
1689 Berlin
[1689] Steglitz, near Berlin
1690 Hanover
1690-1691 Bologna
1691 Lucca
1692 Bremen
1692 Szczecinski (Stargard), Poland
1692 Leipzig
1693 St Gallen, Zürich and Basel
1694 Elbling, Kaliningrad (Königsberg) and Gdansk (Danzig)
1695 Kassel, Munich
1695 Würzburg, Ebrach, Altorf, Nuremberg
1695-1696 Vienna?
1696 Rothenburg, Künzelsau and Frankfurt am Main
1697 Stuttgart
Year unknown Amsterdam
1698 Paris
1700 Nantes
1701 London
1702 London
1705 Edinburgh
1706 Hamilton, Scotland
1706 death near Dundee

Legends tell about that Abraham Sever kept this elephant upstairs in his apartment in Edinburgh, causing a baker downstairs a lot of problems, but the story seems very unlikely. There is a letter from Sever to Edinburghs officials where he apply to show the elephant in Edinburgh.
Blairs elephant in Abraham Sever

After collapsing of fatigue on the road to Dundee in 1706, the elephant drowned when a ditch that had been dug to support her weight was filled with water during torrential rain.

Matthew Jarron, museum curator at Dundee University and general secretary at the Abertay Historical Society, described how surgeon and anatomist Dr Patrick Blair rushed to dissect the animal in the street: He said: “A huge crowd gathered, and he had to give up. “By the time he returned someone had made off with one of the elephant’s Feet. “I believe it was recovered later, and Dr Blair took the ‘Dundee elephant’ away to dissect it properly.

Jarron claim that the museum where the Skeleton was exhibited, doesnt exist:
“The Skeleton was then believed to have been displayed in a museum called the Hall of Rarities, but this place exists only in legends.”

Osteographia elephantina: or, a full and exact description of all the bones of an elephant, which died near Dundee, April the 27th. 1706. with their several dimensions. To which are premis'd, 1. An Historical Account of the Natural Endowments, and several wonderful Performances of Elephants; with the manner of Taking and Taming them. 2. A short Anatomical Account of their Parts. And added, 1. An exact Account of the Weight of all the Bones of this Elephant. 2. The Method us'd in preparing and Mounting the Skeleton. 3. Four large Copper Plates, wherein are represented the Figures of the Stuff'd Skin, and prepared Skeleton, as they now stand in the Publick Hall of Rarities at Dundee; with the separated Bones in several Views and other Parts of this Elephant. In a Letter to Dr. Hans Sloane, Fellow of the College of Physitians, and Secr. R. S. By Patrick Blair, M. D. F. R. S.
Blair, Patrick, -1728.

Blairs elephant in Abraham SeverTabula I Represents the Stuff'd Skin of the Elephant, as it now stands in our Hall’, from P. Blair, Osteographica elephantina (1713)

In Austria, an artistic work doesnt really seem to be very accurate, since it depicts a male with Tusks.
Blairs elephant in Abraham Sever
Reference list


Koehl, Dan, (2024). Blairs elephant, Asian elephant (Elephas maximus) located at Abraham Sever in Netherlands. Elephant Encyclopedia, available online retrieved 5 March 2024 at (archived at the Wayback machine)

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Categories1706 deaths | The Royal Society of London for Improving Natural Knowledge Taxidermy | Elephants from Abraham Sever | Netherlands | Asian elephants

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