Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Ballet Sketch

Spanish Dance

Afro-Congo Ballet


Fire study 3. Theatre des Champs Elysees, July 4, 1927.

Congo Dancer Rowan Maiden

Joseph Paget-Fredericks (1905-1963) inherited his parents love for collecting theatre memorabilia and studied art at the University of California and in Europe. His family had close ties to the elite ballet companies and he was appointed Artistic Director for Anna Pavlova's world tours in the early 1930s.

He went on to become the first lecturer in dance in the United States, taught colour and design and released several childrens books; and also a book about Pavlova from a planned series of ballet recollection pieces.

The online version of the Joseph Rous Paget-Fredericks Dance Collection, ca. 1913-1945 consists of 8 thumbnail pages (3 of photographs) of 368 images at UC Berkley's Bancroft Library. The material is either original drawings by Paget-Fredericks or material he collected. It would be fair to say that Anna Pavlova dominates the web collection, one way or another. Summary and biography.
"The categories by subject include: Isadora Duncan; Loie Fuller; Vaslav Nijinsky; Anna Pavlova; Ruth St. Denis; other dancers; decor and costume designs for ballets; other figure and costume studies; illustrations and graphic design; miscellaneous drawings and paintings; juvenilia; historic dance costumes; printed pictures and clippings; photographic prints; portraits; and works by other artists in various media."

Coins and Conscience

La Poire Tapée
Lithograph by unknown artist ~1848
"A pear-headed [King] Louis-Philippe runs from an angry crowd while money falls out of abag he carries. The title is a play on words—it can mean a pear that has been dried in the oven, or it can refer to the slang meaning of "taper," to borrow money from someone."

Marriage for Wealth Officiated by the Devil
Engraving by Jan Saenredam ~1600
"The second of three numbered engravings after Goltzius called the Marriage Trilogy. A devil joins the hands of a couple as she blows a stream of coins and smoke, symbolizing the transience of honor and material possessions."

The Two Deaths
Late 16th century engraving by Hieronymus Wierx after Marten de Vos
"A narrative in two parts. At left, a pious man receives riches from heaven; at right, Death prepares to strike a miser amidst his wealth."

[detail from above]

The Unhappy Lot of the Rich
Engraving by Phillip Galle 1563
"Plate one of his series of six engravings after Heemskerck with this title, published in 1563. A later state, shown here, called Divitum Misera Sors, was issued by Joannes Galle. Illustration of Matthew 19:23-24. A rich man tries to enter the gate to Heaven, but his money bags hold him back. Behind him, three men try to lead a camel through the eye of a needle."

De Beurs Stock Exchange
Early 17th century engraving by unknown artist
"The Amsterdam exchange, situated on the Amstel River, was designed by Hendrick de Keijser and opened in 1611. Trading was carried on in the open inner court."
(still going)

Der Bruder Esel mit dem Gelt [detail]
"An ass is pictured defecating coins while peasants, merchants, and noblemen run to catch them."

Midas, Transmuting all into Gold Paper
Engraving by James Gillray 1797
"[S]atire on the creation of legal tender bank notes by the Bank of England. William Pitt is pictured spewing paper money out of his mouth, while gold coins are locked up in his stomach."

Le Cornard Contant
Early 17th century engraving by CLD Ciatres
"Possibly a plate from his Oiseaux et Grotesques. The "happy cuckold" does not mind his lost honor, because his "horns of plenty" bring him immeasurable happiness. (French caption)."

Coins and Conscience - Popular Views of Money, Credit and Speculation is a presentation of 70 satirical, allegorical, religious, parodic and caricaturic prints (among some other faithfully rendered works) from the Bleichroeder Collection at Harvard Business School's Baker Library.

I think this is a brand new exhibition, which I found completely by accident, searching for a map of all things. There are high resolution images available and I know I've posted a couple of these prints before, including yesterday, but these Harvard files are of a very high quality. The exhibition includes an introductory essay.

Monday, February 27, 2006

Monster Devilry

(after) Liber Floridus by Lambert de Saint-Omer : 'Le diable Beenoth'
15th century parchment miniature from Musée Condé, Chantilly.

Le grand diable d'argent : patron de la finance (the great money devil)
undated but the printer was active 19th century.
from: Musée National des Arts et Traditions Populaires

Le Loup Garou : The text beneath reads something like:
'The ferocious beast named hyena eats humans, particularly women and children, tearing out their hearts and ripping off their heads. It reeked carnage in the Auvergne region of France'.
This copper plate engraving bears the date 1767.
from: Musée National des Arts et Traditions Populaires

Approximately says: The state of a sinner in denial who thinks of other things
that he sees around him and in his soul (at least, that's what I think it says)
17th/18th century
from: Musée National des Arts et Traditions Populaires

Frontpiece by Phillip Galle for a late 16th century edition of the
Hunting series of illustrations by Johannes Stradanus.
from: Musée National de la Renaissance, Ecouen.

Harpie Male ~1840
either a newspaper broadsheet or a print (text down either side of the illustration) from: Musée National des Arts et Traditions Populaires

All these images were found wandering around L’agence Photographique section of the Réunion des Musées Nationaux. I actually went looking for a few of these images at their original repositories but I couldn't find them so I think the RMN has the only copies of example images for some of the institutions it represents. There are paintings and sculptures and pottery etc.
Love the monsters. [1st & 3rd images are slightly retouched]
Addit: english search page

Pan Pipes


The son of a lithographer, Englishman Walter Crane (1845-1915) was a leading children's book illustrator during the latter stages of the 19th century. He also enjoyed modest success with his oil paintings.

His lavish illustrations accompany 40 traditional songs in Pan-Pipes, first released in 1883. [Thanks to Meggiecat - this is a wonderful site!]

Sunday, February 26, 2006

Erbario di Firenze

This (anonymous I assume) Florentine manuscript from the latter part of the 15th century is online at the Biblioteca Riccardiana in Florence via F. Datini. So it predates Aldrovandus (Ulisse Aldrovandi).

Persian Splendour










Splendeurs Persan at the BNF.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Cruickshank Almanacks

"He has told a thousand truths in as many strange and fascinating ways; he has given a thousand new and pleasant thoughts to millions of
people; he has never used his wit dishonestly; he has never, in all
the exuberance of his frolicsome humor, caused a single painful or
guilty blush." [William Makepeace Thackeray]

The most prolific satirist, book illustrator and caricaturist, George Cruikshank (1792-1878), son of a humorist painter and father to some 15,000 etchings and engravings, continued in the english artistic tradition of predecessors, Hogarth and Gilray.

Cruikshank began by engraving political cartoons and would eventually contribute illustrations to much of the literature and childrens stories of his day. He collaborated (and collided) with Dickens on a couple of books and was a fervent supporter of the temperance movement.

The images above come from The Comic Almanack, an Ephemeris in Jest and Earnest -
"The Comic Almanack, was started in 1835, organized around the etchings of George Cruikshank with textual contributions by Thackeray and others. In addition to an increased emphasis on visual satire, The Comic Almanack distinguishes itself from its predecessors by its moderation and the mildness of its satire, its embrace of reform instead of reaction or revolution".

Over the last several months when I'd been hunting down particularly interesting material I often came up empty handed and a recurring frustrating result from my searchings was a defunct repository at the University of Brighton in the U.K. So in the last 10 days it has been very pleasing to find that Chris Mullen (after some sort of dispute with Brighton University) has been reposting much of this same material onto his own website.

I've posted images from at least 5 of these books in the last week and I've hardly even scratched the surface - I really don't know the extent of the material available but it's all rare and only a small amount of what I've seen is online anywhere else.

The downside is that, despite there being a large amount of illustrated material at the Fulltable site, the server is exceedingly slow. It was that fact which made me refrain from shouting it out previously. Chris is still actively uploading material and the link to the Almanack etchings has only been fixed in the last few hours. To the best of my knowledge/searching only a few of the 40 or so Almanack illustrations are elsewhere on the web.

Thought Forms

"As knowledge increases, the attitude of science toward the things of the invisible world is undergoing considerable modification. Its attention is no longer directed solely to the earth with all its variety of objects, or to the physical worlds around it; but it finds itself compelled to glance further afield, and to construct hypotheses as to the nature of the matter and force which lie in the regions beyond the ken of its instruments.

The fact is that science has pressed its researches so far, has used such rare ingenuity in its questionings of nature, has shown such tireless patience in its investigations, that it is receiving the reward of those who seek, and forces and beings of the next higher plane of nature are beginning to show themselves on the outer edge of the physical field."

First published in installments in Lucifer, the book Thought Forms was brought out by theosophist and activist, Annie Wood Besant in 1905.

I have only limited public liability coverage and as I cannot guarantee that space cadets readers are wearing a properly fitted tinfoil chapeau, I feel duty bound not to elucidate upon the meanings of these illustrations.
Addit: I've possibly come across as disparaging Annie Wood Besant unfairly with my flippant remarks. She is certainly much more complex and her accomplishments much more tangible than this singular work might otherwise suggest. She was in fact a groundbreaking feminist, trade union organizer and political reformer in both the UK and India; beyond any slanted attitudes her adherence to the Theosophical Society might inspire. More at Victorian Web.

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