Wednesday, May 30, 2007

On The Fly

Map: Angling in Troubled Waters

'Angling in Troubled Waters', 1899 by Fred Rose
see this CatholicGauze post for details [via]

Russian pile of books - Radakov

1920 print by Aleksei Radakov
(Maybe I've posted this image before? Oh well.)

Russian airship fight

'Painting depicts aerial battle with airplanes and airships.
Text underneath describes modern aerial warfare' - 1914 lithograph.
Both from the Hoover Institution Russian Empire and Soviet Poster Collection.

Russian History titlepage

Giles Fletcher 'The history of Russia' titlepage [2nd Ed. 1643]
"This is the history of Russia before the founding of St. Petersburg ... Published originally as 'Of the Russe Common Wealth', 1591, this is the second edition of the first English book about Russia. Well more than a century before Sankt Pieter Burkh was a gleam in Peter's eye or Peter a gleam in his parents' eyes, Englishman Giles Fletcher was dispatched to Russia on a diplomatic mission to attempt to gain trade concessions for English merchants of the Muscovy Company. The indignities to which he was subjected by Russian authorities were detailed in his account written on the road home. Queen Elizabeth heard the story and registered a complaint upon which the merchants of the Company had the book suppressed, fearing the damage it could do to English/Russian trade relations. In some subsequent editions the offensive passages were removed."

Albertus Sebus - wunderkammer image of animals

Albertus Seba, 'Locupletissimi Rerum Naturalium Thesauri' 1734-1765.
"Anteaters for the Tsar! If this New World native, the anteater, could write an account of how he made it to the Kunstkammer in Sankt Pieter Burkh in the early 18th century, it would be a best-seller. Peter the Great had begun to purchase natural history collections (birds, fishes, insects, monsters, anatomical preparations) during his pre-Petersburgian travels in the West, with an eye to the development of medicine in Russia. Albertus Seba was a wealthy Dutch apothecary, merchant and traveler whose collection of natural history objects was the largest of its kind in his day. His collection would form the nucleus of the Russian national collections in St. Petersburg after purchase by Peter."
Both of the above images come from the excellent 'Frosted Windows - 300 Years of St Petersburg Through Western Eyes' exhibition site at the University of Kansas Spencer Research Library.

*Speaking of Russia: a large eclectic set of late 19th/early 20th century adverts via Ben Hayattaken.

Illuminated Haggadah

'Highly decorated text, including border decoration of a centaur
shooting at an owl and a hunter with his dog catching rabbits.'

Jewish Haggadah 14th century - Exodus

'The exodus from Rameses: Egyptians watch from windows as the
Israelites march out armed, encouraged by Moses and Aaron to
the left. Below: Pharaoh's army arrives at the Red Sea.'

Jewish Haggadah

'Dining rooms and kitchens. In the kitchen a sheep in slaughtered
while a large fish is turned on a spit. A young couple eat in one
dining room while an older gentleman is served in another.'

13th century illuminated Jewish Haggadah

'The Parting of the Red Sea: Moses leads the Israelites across
the Red Sea, Egyptian soldiers drown in the waves.'

For no particular reason, I've always had this notion that Jewish manuscript and textual tradition was generally bereft of significant illustrations or illumination work and I guess it's fair to say that, although I've come across examples from time to time, I haven't exactly pursued the genre with any gusto. So I was happy to find these beautiful pages from a mid-13th century Haggadah from Catalonia at the University of Manchester's Rylands Library (there are no more pages online).
"The Haggadah--a compilation of biblical passages, prayers, hymns, and rabbinic literature--was probably assembled sometime during the Second Temple period in Palestine and was meant to be read during the Passover Seder, a ceremony held in Jewish homes to commemorate the Israelite redemption from Egypt in biblical times. The earliest extant version, however, appeared in a 10th century prayerbook in Babylonia. The Haggadah became a beloved and cherished text for Jews all over the world and nowhere is this high regard more evident than in the illustrations lavished on it by generations of Jewish artists from mediaeval times to the present. These illuminations represent Biblical scenes as well as scenes from rabbinic legends. Many illuminated Haggadot, most of which were produced in Europe in the middle ages, depict the preparations for the holiday and the celebration of the Seder itself thus giving us a visual image of Jewish life in earlier times."

The quote comes from 'The Passover Haggadah in the Yale University Libraries Collection' - a great exhibition site with example pages from many different manuscript and printed book forms. Thanks to D for passing on the link (months ago) - which prompted my searching out the Hebrew MS 6 at Rylands Library.

Nebraskan colonial gothic mansion

The residence of Dr. V.H. Coffman, at the corner of St. Mary's Ave. &
Sheridan St., Omaha, Nebraska IN: 'The official state atlas of Nebraska', 1885.

winged cricket

eclipse sketches

'Greatest number of eclipses in one year'
IN: 'Smith's illustrated astronomy' by Asa Smith, 1850.

Birds eyeview San Francisco

'Birds eye view of the city of San Francisco and surrounding country'.
Lithographic print by George H. Goddard, 1868. 'view looking east over ocean
beach to the city, with the East Bay and Sierra; Golden Gate at the lower left'

1800s world map and information broadsheet

'World At One View' - broadside, 1854.

Interestingly, among the information headings in this broadside (just readable if you click and enlarge the image) is 'Great Libraries', arranged according to book numbers (better zoom views from the Rumsey site). I wondered why the Library of Congress wasn't included on the list and went off to read up on its history. I discovered that 2/3 of its 55,000 books were destroyed by a fire in 1851. The broadside was first published in 1852, prior to the collection being restored. It may just be a coincidence or perhaps the broadside publisher was a supporter of the Smithsonian Institution, the only other rival at the time to become the official national library. Read about the history at, where else, the Library of Congress.

A very significant and welcome addition to the David Rumsey Map Collection site lately was the Directory page. Now you can easily browse (by who, what, when or where) the thousands of images in the collection - not all of them are cartographic - in thumbnail views and launch a desired image into a zoomable Insightbrowser interface, a piece of web architecture I've finally decided I like. The above 5 images come from here, including the cricket which is a teeny tiny detail from a now forgotten page/book.

etching symbolism

'The Triumph of Dionysus' by Pierre Brebiette (~1630-1640)

The National Gallery of Art in Washington have a small informative website, 'Fabulous Journeys and Faraway Places - Travels on Paper, 1450-1700' supporting a recently opened exhibition.

ratcatcher etching

'The Rat Catcher' (~1610-1635), an etching by Johan van Vliet .
Found in the Samek Art Gallery at Pennsylvania's Bucknell University (Insightbrowser)
See also: Antique rat and mouse trap gallery.

Hulgue - calligraphic beast


By sheer coincidence I went to check up the other day on an illustration project I'd known about for some time that was in part inspired by the calligraphy work of Hassan Musa (zoomorphic calligraphy) to find that an RPG book ('Reign') by Greg Stolze was just published on Lulu featuring the illustration work of Daniel Solis. See here and here. (Flickr set).

Acapulco view - Vingboons

Acapulco by Johannes Vingboons, 17th century.
(spliced screencaps from the Dutch exibition site, Vitrine)

New Amsterdam (New York) - Vingboons

'View of Nieuw Amsterdam or New York' by Johannes Vingboons, 1664.
New Amsterdam had approximately 1500 residents in 1664 when it was transferred from Dutch to British stewardship, becoming New York in the process. (from the Memory of the Netherlands site)

history of Jews in Switzerland

My notes say: 'History of Jews in Switzerland', from
somewhere in the Center for Jewish History digital collections.

Luca Cambiaso 16th century surreal drawing

This very intriguing - almost cubist/surreal - drawing is by the Ligurian artist, Luca Cambiaso (1527-1585) and I seem to remember reading that there are several hundred other sketches by him in existence. The image was snagged from a site posted in conjunction with a current exhibition at Palazzo Ducale and Palazzo Rosso in Genoa. I recall there are multiple pages and at least the first page is in english.

Ottoman script - Karahisar

16th century Turkish ottoman calligraphy

These two 16th century Ottoman-Turk calligraphy images are from the
album of Ahmed Karahisar, somewhere within the Museum With No Frontiers.

Irish satire 19th century

'A Family Party taking an Airing'
(anonymous, 1800)

Irish satire by Mecham

'Away with him! The wild mob's million feet will kick you from your place'
by William Mecham (aka Tom Merry), 1886.

The University of Dublin Trinity College Nicholas K Robinson Collection of Caricature have the most annoying and pervasive watermarks and the above images took ages to approximately restore to the artists' original display. There are more than 300 images covering 1773-1900. Many appear to be British (Rowlandson, Cruikshank & co) but there are definitely some Irish prints here.

Frascati birdseyeview

Frascati detail

Frescati birdseyeview detail

Engraved by Matthäus Greuter and printed by mapmaker Joan Blaeu in ~1620, the top image (details underneath) depicts the famed villas of the Papal nobility in the town of Frascati, just south of Rome [wikipedia have a list/links to articles/photographs of each villa]. The first free public school in Europe was opened in Frascati at about the time this engraving was made, just by the by.

Frascati theatre - Faldi

Frascati water feature

Palazzo Roma - Falda

The first two baroque garden etchings above are also in Frascati ('the great water theater of the Villa Aldobrandini' and 'View of the fountain of the theater of the Villa Aldobrandini Belvedere at Frascati at the summit near the top of the mount') by Giovanni Battista Falda IN: 'The Fountains of the Villas of Frascati, or Tusculum, With Their Views', 1691. [See: Metropolitan Museum of Art: another Falda water fountain image]
The final undated image is also by GB Falda of the garden design for Prince Pamphilio's Palazzo Roma {see also Venturini image at ebay - I *think* it's the same place.}.

All the Frascati and GB Falda images were obtained from the Catena Digital Archive of Historic Gardens and Landscapes (a consortium of predominantly New York libraries).

Other things...

Monday, May 28, 2007

Proceedings of the Royal Society of New Zealand


To illustrate PARTIAL IMPACT, Article IV Volume 12, 1879

Rorqualas minor

Rorqualas minor Volume 2, 1869

Cnemiornis Calcitrans

Skeleton of Cnemiornis Calcitrans - Volume 6, 1883

Euphysetes Pottsli

Skeleton of Euphysetes Pottsli, Haast. 1 ninth nat size. - Volume 6, 1883

Mustelus Antarcticus

Mustelus Antarcticus Volume 15, 1882

Myosotidium Nobile

Myosotidium Nobile, Hook Volume 7, 1884

New Opistho-Branchiate Mollusca

New Opistho-Branchiate Mollusca. Volume 11, 1878


Aleurodidæ Volume 28, 1895

 Oreosoma atlanticum Cuvier

Oreosoma atlanticum Cuvier and l'Valenciennes. - Volume 44, 1911

Palinurus Tumidus

Palinurus Tumidus sp. nov Volume 12, 1879

Aegoeonichthys Appelii

Aegoeonichthys Appelii ClarkeEdgar R Wte del - Volume 44, 1911

Giant squid

To illustrate Paper by T. W. Kirk. Volume 20, 1887

Ardetta Maculata

Ardetta Maculata Volume 6, 1873

new zealand Rock Pictographs

Rock Pictographs. Opihi River & Howell's
Creek, Opihi River Volume 30, 1897

maori script and portraits

To illustrate Paper by E. Tregear. Volume 20, 1887

maori spirals

Maori Spirals (Tregear) Volume 32, 1899

Historic Maori Personages

Historic Maori Personages.—Downes. Volume 38, 1905

[click on images for much larger versions]
(some of the above images are from trimmed plates, are details
and/or have been cleaned up in the background a little)

The National Library of New Zealand joined forces with the New Zealand Royal Society to fully digitize the Proceedings and Transactions of the Royal Society of New Zealand 1868-1961 [click 'Picture Gallery']. This is an extensive collection with a zippy interface and both thumbnails and very large jpeg or pdf images.

via Tellurian. (Oh, and thanks TMN!). I still have something north of 500 unread items in the feedreader and continuing obligations elsewhere but I can nearly see some clear sailing ahead.

Sunday, May 20, 2007

The House Decorator and Painter's Guide

"the present age is distinguished from all others in
having no style which can properly be called its own"

style observed at pompeii
Style observed at Pompeii

Pompeiian style
Pompeiian style

classical style
Classical style

Italian style of residence
for the Italian style of residence

Italian ornament
Italian ornament

Moorish and perpendicular gothic styles
Moorish and perpendicular Gothic styles

Louis XIV style
Louis Quatorze style

Louis Quatorze style
Louis Quatorze style

Louis XV style
Louis Quinze style

Arabesque style of the cinq-cento
Arabesque style of the cinq-cento

Arabesque style of the cinq-cento a
Arabesque style of the cinq-cento

Elizabethan ornament
Elizabethan ornament

Elizabethan style
Elizabethan style

Elizabethan style a
Elizabethan style

Elizabethan style b
Elizabethan style

"In what beauty consists the philosopher and the artist are alike unable to determine, for it is impossible to find a judge. That which is exceedingly pleasing to one person, and impresses his mind with delightful sensations, is seen by another with indifference or disgust. That the process of eduacation has a great effect, there can be no doubt; and that natural propensities have an influence, is equally certain. Could we remove a wandering savage of America or Africa, whom we misname a savage, from the forest or desert over which he has been accustomed to roam without any other protective covering than the skins of beasts, or the spreading branches of trees, to the richly-decorated drawing-room of an European prince, he would, we doubt not, be overcome with amazement; but whether he would experience a sensation of pleasure is very doubtful.

We have seen the uncultivated tillers of our own soil, in apartments decorated with all the taste of modern art, who have found no other words to express the sensation produced upon them than, "How grand!" We have also seen in the same situation the artisan, who was not only accustomed to such scenes, but contributed his part to the production of the general effect; and he has, upon completion of the whole (especially when colour and light have added their effect, after his labour was finished), expressed himself in similar terms. But introduce an artist, how low soever may be his rank, and however unaccustomed he may be to the grandeur of a well-lighted and elegantly-decorated drawing-room; and as soon as his eye can bear the blaze of light and colour, which at first has an effect even upon him, he will point out the portions which are to him unpleasant, and those which he admires. In his opinion he may differ from others equally as well educated as himself; and what he calls beautiful another may object to as a defect. It would, therefore, seem probable that a certain degree of education is necessary for the appreciation of the decorations employed in our edifices; and that the sentiments of beauty experienced by individuals depend on habit of natural disposition, or both."

In the face of such understated and sage advice and equipped with only a modern day retrospective attitude of mocking disdain, I'll say nothing.

WH & A Arrowsmith: 'The House Decorator and Painter's Guide; Containing a Series of Designs for Decorating Apartments, Suited to the Various Styles of Architecture', 1840, newly uploaded to the Digital Library of the Decorative Arts and Material Culture at the University of Wisconsin. There are about 50 plates in total. Note the 'Gallery View' link in the margin.
{I remain hugely busy - with good reason - but hopefully things will pick up here again soonish}

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