Saturday, October 22, 2005

Images of Thought

Johannes Hevelius in Machina coelestis Volume I, 1673. He is a founder of lunar topography. He used this device to project an image of the moon which he proceeded to map.

"The Würzburg monk Johannes Zahn is obsessed with optical phenomena connected with vision and the use of lenses." 1685

Smelting furnace design 1806.

"For a time the Italian Tuccaro is gymnastics instructor to the young King of France, Charles IX" 1599

Image from Alexander Doyle's 1719 book, Voltagier-Kunst.

Jacques Besson(i), Il Theatro de gl' Instrumenti e Machine con una brieve dichiaration di tutte le figure di F. Beroaldo. 1582.

Andreas Cellarius 'The Battering Ram in Combat' from Architectura Militaris, 1645.

This collaborative Swedish site (in ~english) is the best digital exhibit I've seen since...well, let's just say it is brilliant and comprehensive and larger than expected. Kungliga bibloteket, Stockholms universitetsbibliotek, Umeå universitet, Uppsala universitetsbibliotek, and 8 other organisations have combined to present 'Tankens bilder - Images of Thought'.

Basically it tracks intellectual thought since the dawn of illustrative printing, covering anatomy, natural science, astronomy, engineering, warcraft, artistic perspective (and more) and with a particular devotion to the development of printing in relation to illustrations. It all stems from scans they present from rare books. This is truly a fantastic site for a book image junkie like myself. Note: the sidebar links will take you to one large section of this site; the icons on the main page will take you to another.

The Making of Chocolate

It was no doubt a shrewd editorial decision that saw the inclusion of an engraving of three exotic men in Lyon pharamcist Philippe Sylvestre Dufour's 1671 Traitez Nouveaux & Curieux du Café, du Thé et du Chocolate. Ouvrage également necessaire aux Medecins , & à tous ceux qui aiment leur santé. (The manner of Making Coffee, Tea & Chocolate)

The three men (above) represent the middle east, asia and the new worlds and are depicted drinking coffee, tea and chocolate, which didn't become particularly fashionable in europe until the latter part of the 17th century, due in no little part to Dufour's popular book. In it he describes methods for making each beverage and debates the medicinal benefits and drawbacks of the caffeine drinks; though he lifted much of the material from other sources it seems.

This was not the first that had been heard of chocolate or Theobroma cacao (food of the Gods) in europe. In the middle of the 16th century, two Aztec Indians produced the seminal botanical and herbal Badianus manuscript or Codex Barberini. Their work was sent to King Charles V of Spain and it was reported that the Aztec King Montezuma also drank chocolate before visiting his harem.

Body Mind Spirit

An elaboration upon the William Harvey analogy of a human being to a house structure in Tobias Coh(e)n's 1708 Ma´aseh Tobiyyah. I searched in vain for a full copy of this intriguing book, but there's another image at the Jewish Virtual Library. It is said to be a mini-encyclopedia on theology, anatomy, hygeine, astronomy and botany.
[The image detail here comes from the Library of Congress - highest resolution].

An Indian gouache image from c. 1825
demonstrating Ayurvedic procedures.

A woodblock image from Kokeisai kyuho that
depicts emergency treatments - Japan 1790.

From the Miao-tzu albums of late 17th century China -
it was thought important to empathize with all persons within
the border. Black Mia minority men playing mouth pipes.

The Wellcome Trust Library for the History and Understanding of Medicine have an excellent exhibit, Asia: body, mind, spirit. It charts the history of middle eastern/asia medicine with illustrations from rare texts. Navigate from the sidebar.

Holiday Snark

“Leave him here to his fate—it is getting so late!”
 The Bellman exclaimed in a fright.
“We have lost half the day. Any further delay,
 And we sha’nt catch a Snark before night!”

hunting of the snark illustration

These images are the original caricaturish illustrations by Henry Holiday that accompanied Lewis Carroll's 1876 comic poem, The Hunting of the Snark (An Agony in Eight Fits).

All 9 original Holiday illustrations are displayed, together with a reproduction of the text of The Hunting of the Snark at the University of Adelaide Library.

UPDATE (Feb. 2009): See this interesting pdf - mentioned by Goetz in a comment below - that provides some compelling evidence about the historical illustration origins/inspiration for Holiday's drawings in 'The Hunting of the Snark'.

Friday, October 21, 2005

Cook's Voyage to the Pacific Ocean

"From what I have said of the Natives of New Holland they may appear to some to be the most wretched people upon Earth, but in reality they are far happier than we Europeans; being wholly unacuainted not only with the superfluos but the neessary conveniences so much sought after in Europe, they are happy in not knowing the use of them. They live in a Tranquility wich is not disturb'd by the Inequality of Conditions: The Earth and sea of their own accord furnishes them with all things necessary for life, they covet not Magnificient Houses, Householdstuff etc., they live in a warm and fine climate and enjoy a very wholesome Air, so that they have very little need for Clothing and this they seem to be fully sensible of, for many to whome we gave Cloth etc. to, left it carelessly upon the Sea beach and in the woods as a thing they had no manner of use for. In short term, nor would they ever part with any thing of their own for any one article we could offer them; this in my oppinion argues that they think themselves provided with all the necessary of Life and that they have no superfluities."
James Cook in The Voyage of the Endeavour.

The National Library of Australia have 87 engraving plates on display from Captain James Cook's Voyage to the Pacific Ocean of 1784. Multiple resolution and pan/zoom options. Cook was speared and stoned to death in the Sandwich Islands (Hawaii) in February 1779.


Humuments © Tom Phillips.


The Dreadnought Project

The Dreadnought Project is a "collaborative effort to model and study the ships of 1890-1920".
[warning - the jpeg images in 'plans' are seriously b.i.g.] (click the above images for slightly larger versions)

Thursday, October 20, 2005

Heraldic Bookplates

"A shield with helmet, mantle and crest. Arms: quarterly; 1 and 4, azure a chevron argent between in chief two torches and in base a wing argent; 2 and 3, counterquartered, 1 and 4 or a fess chequy argent and azure within a tressure flory counterflory, 2 and 3 argent a savage shooting an arrow from a bow. Crest: an arm embowed, holding a torch, between two wings elevated and displayed."

"A shield with crest. Arms: parted per pale, baron and femme; first, quarterly, 1 - or a lion rampant sable, debruised by a bend gobony argent and azure [Fausett], 2 - argent three piles meeting in base vert, on a canton sable a lion’s head erased or [Bryan], 3 - sable a chevron between three pelican’s heads erased vulning themselves or [Godfrey], 4 - argent on a chevron between three greyhound’s heads erased sable collared or as many plates [Toke]; second, or a fess dancetté between three crosses crosslet fitchy gules [Sandys]; over all an escutcheon of pretence azure, a bend between three leopard’s faces or [Nott]. Crest: a demi-lion rampant sable, holding in its paws a column gobony argent and gules, the base and capitol or."

To unlock the meanings behind these blazonings, you'll need to consult with an heraldic dictionary.

Notre Dame University is compiling a database of bookplates (ex libris)
from around the world, the majority of which include the very specific, the very personal, armorial ensigns or heraldic features associated with the person for whom the bookplate was made. It has been fascinating seeing and reading about this world that I had largely not noticed previously. All 992 bookplates can be accessed from this page.

Tupinamba -v- Staden

German soldier Hans Staden sailed to Brazil on a couple of occasions and spent some years there working until his capture by a (now extinct) Tupinamba cannibal tribe from the south east of the country. He was held for a few months during which time his Spanish shipmates were executed, but he managed to escape. He published Hans Staden: The True History of His Captivity to great success in 1557.

Although simplistic, these woodcuts were the first images seen by europe of South American Indians that didn't derive from folklore or imagination. They formed the basis for emerging copper engravers such as Theodor de Bry to elaborate upon in publishing their own works about the new world.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

The Time of Sarum

"Books of Hours receive their name from the core text known as the Hours of the Virgin, a series of prayers in honor of the Virgin Mary which are to be recited at each of the canonical hours of the day."

I was less impressed with the occasional illumination in this Copenhagen edition of the Hours of Sarum (ed. Anthoine Vérard, French printer. c. 1503) than I was with the large ornate woodcut border images on all 300-odd pages of this vellum manuscript. These are all border images displayed here.


Illustrations © Portland Studios (flash)

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