Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Botanical Illustrations by Georg Ehret




Martynia - flower illustrations by Georg Dionys Ehret


Polianthes by Georg Ehret






After studying horticulture in his native Germany, Georg Dionys Ehret (1708-1770) moved to Holland where he pursued botanical illustration. In a suitable testament to his distinguished talents, the great Carl Linneaus was among the first supporters of Ehret, with whom he collaborated on a book recording the contents of the renowned Georg Clifford estate ('Hortus Cliffortianus', 1838).

Ehret spent the second half of his life in England and was to become one of the most respected and influential botanical artists of the 18th century. He had already become known to the physician and passionate botanist, Chrisoph Trew, who acted as patron and publisher to Ehret for decades. Their collaboration produced one of the finest botanical works of the century in 'Plantae Selectae', which was published over about 20 years until 1769.

Linneaus wrote to Trew:

"The miracles of our century in the natural sciences are your work of Ehret's plants. Nothing to equal them was seen in the past or will be in the future."
The images above come from a small and very rare self-published series that Ehret engraved and personally coloured, the 18 illustrations being issued between 1748 and 1759. 'Plantae et Papiliones Rariores' is online at the University of Strasbourg and they have huge images available.
- The University of Maryland have a review of this series and discussion about both Ehret and Linnaeus by James L Reveal.
- Georg Ehret at Wikipedia.

Monday, February 26, 2007

The Infinitesmal II

Hydatinaea pili mashup

Gonium, Eudorina, Syncrypta, Sphaerosira, Synura etc

Bacillaria, Euastrum

Vorticellina, Epistylis

Vorticellina, Stentor

Trachelina, Loxodes, Bursaria

Trachelina, Nassula, Amphileptus

Trachelina, Spirostomum, Phialina, Glaucoma, Chilodon

Vorticella, Carchesium

Ophydium, Tintinnus, Vaginicola, Cothurnia

Ophyrocercina, Amphileptus, Trachelocera

Philodinaea, Actinurus, Monolabis, Philodina

Stentor, Trichodina, Urocentrum

Hydatinaea, Pleurotrocha, Furlicaria, Monocera

Hydatinaea, Rattulus, Distemma, Triophthalmus, Eosphora, Cycloglena, Theorus

Ichthydina, Oecistina, Ptygura, Ichthydium, Chaetonotus, Glenophora, Oecistes, Conochilus

Megalotrochaea Floscularia, Microcodon, Cyphonautes, Megalotrocha, Lacinularia

Navicula, Cocconeis

The images above and in the previous post come from the 1838 book by Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg called 'Die Infusionsthierchen als Vollkomene Organismen'.

There is also another, earlier post - Microgeology - which has more of an outline about the extraordinary contributions to microbiology and paleontology made by Ehrenberg.

The Humboldt University Museum für Naturkunde have high resolution images from a number of works by Ehrenberg and they are all enormous. By way of justification to myself for blind downloading, I've added the image below which started out at a cool 65Mb (ouch!), from a work entitled 'Symbolae Physicae'.

The first image above is something of a mashup. Click everything for much larger versions.

Zoologica phytozoa

Update: I nearly forgot. Following on from past centenary post precedents, I extend an open invitation to anyone who has links to book/print/graphic material -- particularly from the less represented areas of the world, but really, from anywhere/anytime -- that is in keeping with the style of this site, to make contact either by mail {peacay ATT} or by adding a comment with a recommendation. I do look at everything. And no, the cupboard is not empty.

To those who have slipped links and pictures to me previously by way of email and delicious, if I haven't posted the material, there may be several reasons --- I haven't figured out how I might use it yet, the images are a bit small, there is a post somewhere here in the archives that covers it already, or it didn't grab me when I saw it the first time. I am nothing if not capricious. But I am grateful for any and all tips, pointers, website critiques, recommendations, life advice, date offers, dress criticism, recipes and the related somesuch. No need to be shy.

The Infinitesmal I

Hydatinaea, Notommata

Hydatinaea, Notommata - parasita, granularis, brachionus, tripus, clavulata ..

Hydatinaea, Notommata collaris, najas, aurita, gibba , ansata, decipiens, felis

Hydatinaea, Notommata, Synchaeta

Floscularia, Melicerta, Limnias

Floscularia, Tubicolaria, Stephanoceros

Fragilaria, Meridion, Odontella, Isthmia

Gallionella, Actinocyclus, Navicula, Cocconeis, Eunotia, Synedra

Brachionaea, Brachionus, Pterodina

Brachionaea, Noteus, Anuraea

Colacium, Distigma, Eipipyxis, Dinobryon, Amoeba

Diffluglia, Arcella, Cyphidium

Enchilia, Leucophrys, Holophyra, Prorodon

Brachionaea, Brachionus

One of the sweetly sad pleasures of casually trawling the history of science literature is discovering works and characters of incredible depth and diversity that are not widely known. One of these prolific and brilliant pioneers is Christian Gottfried Ehrenberg who might otherwise be described as a microscopist extraordinaire.

He released 2 great monographs which basically divide between the living and non-living worlds examined under magnification during the 19th century. I have previously posted about the non-living: the microgeological and fossil samples Ehrenberg assiduously examined and recorded that gave rise to a new field within paleontology.

The wonderfully alien images above (and in the following post) come from his earlier 1838 treatise, 'Die Infusionsthierchen als Vollkomene Organismen', in which he identified a large number of unicellular organisms, particularly from the protist diatoms, and chief among them the radiolarians.

The Humboldt University Museum für Naturkunde have a large selection online from the enormous quantity of written and illustrated material Ehrenberg left behind. I have still not properly examined the contents. There is a very good reason for this: all of the images are huge, averaging around 10Mb each, with no thumbnails available. So although you will find much larger versions if you click on the images here, they have had to be scaled down substantially.

Unsurprisingly, Ernst Haeckel, who shared a common interest in radiolaria, is featured haphazardly in the Museum collection. The image and details below were only identified as: 'Haeckel, 1865, plate 1.' I don't think that particular double page illustration has been posted elsewhere.

Haeckel 1865, Plate 1

Haeckel 1865, Plate 1 (detail a)

Haeckel 1865, Plate 1 (detail b)

Haeckel 1865, Plate 1 (detail c)

Saturday, February 24, 2007

Tuileries Tournament

Le duc de Guyse, roy ameriquain

Comparse des cinq quadrilles dans l'amphitheatre

Mores portans des singes, et menans des ours

Pages romains

Timbalier et trompette ameriquains

Timbalier et trompette persans

Trompettes romains

Mareschal de camp ameriquain

Mareschal de camp indien

Mareschal de camp persan

Emblematic devices

Estafiers, cheval de main, et palfreniers indiens

Estafiers, cheval de main, et palfreniers persans

Estafiers, cheval de main, et palfreniers turcs

Le prince de Condé , empereur des turcs

Escuyer et page ameriquains

Escuyer et page turcs

Estafiers, cheval de main et palfreniers ameriquains

Le roy, empereur romain
[click for full size versions; mouseover for titles]

Prior to the royal court moving to Versailles, a festival was held by Louis XIV at Tuileries Palace in Paris in 1662 as a way of celebrating the birth of his son, Louis, le Grande Dauphin, the previous year.

After a procession past monuments in the streets of Paris the entourage entered the arena at (or adjacent to) the palace, which held 15,000 spectators. There followed an equestrian pageant {this book has an informal name of 'Circius Regius' or Royal Circus} in which the participants from the upper echelons of society and the Court were divided into groups, representing the 5 great nations: Romans, Moors (Indians), Turks, Persians and American Indians.

In the style of a medieval tournament the horsemen engaged in equestrian tests such as jousting through rings, and racing. The riders were all decked out in the finest jewel-encrusted silk brocade, streamers, feathered headwear and wigs with some of the saddles said to be covered by leopard and tiger skins. Although this is self-evident from the engravings perhaps, these kind of details are confirmed by eyewitness accounts, so the illustrators weren't always exaggerating.

The engravings, in a dramatic baroque style, were produced by François Chauveau and Sylvain Sylvestre. If you only enlarge one of the above images, look at the first one - the embellished grooming is fantastic, in all senses of the word. Such stylistic elements no doubt contributed to the book's popular reception when it was published in 1670. [As best as I understand it, there were no actual Americans or Turks etc in the parade - it was all a theatrical piece played out by Dukes, Princes and similar Lordly types, including Louis XIV himself who was unsurprisingly the Roman King]

The accompanying text was written by (the later) renowned fairytale writer, Charles Perrault {previously}, who was brother to the favoured architect of the Court at the time, Claude Perrault {previously}, designer of some major additions to Le Louvre.

Creative Commons License