Friday, October 31, 2008

Fencing School

Joachim Meyer - Gründtliche Beschreibung des Fechtens 1570j

Joachim Meyer - Gründtliche Beschreibung des Fechtens 1570i

Joachim Meyer - Gründtliche Beschreibung des Fechtens 1570h

Joachim Meyer - Gründtliche Beschreibung des Fechtens 1570g

Joachim Meyer - Gründtliche Beschreibung des Fechtens 1570f

Joachim Meyer - Gründtliche Beschreibung des Fechtens 1570e

Joachim Meyer - Gründtliche Beschreibung des Fechtens 1570c

Joachim Meyer - Gründtliche Beschreibung des Fechtens 1570b

Joachim Meyer - Gründtliche Beschreibung des Fechtens 1570a

Joachim Meyer - Gründtliche Beschreibung des Fechtens 1570

'Gründtliche Beschreibung des Fechtens' (approx: Background description of fencing) by Joachim Meyer was published in 1570 and is available from the Bavarian State Library. (click 'Minaturansicht' for thumbnail images) A second edition version from 1600 is also available.

"Meyer was a professional master-at-arms of the Strasburg Marxbrueder fighting guild whose important work, 'Kunst der fechtens' ("Art of Fighting") was produced in 1570. His stunning work (illustrated by Tobias Stimmer), "A Thorough Description of the Free Knightly and Noble Art of Fencing", focused on the entire arsenal of weapons: langenschwert, shorte-sword & dagger, Dusack*, long & short staffs, pole-arms, dagger, Pflegel (flail), and wrestling. While the architecture and backgrounds of the woodcuts are fictional, the figures are literal. Meyer also included a section on the new rapier & dagger largely compiled from Italian works such as Viggiani and Di Grassi."
*the peculiar, machete-like training weapon imported from Bohemia


(below) 'Fecht-kunst' by Nicoletto Giganti, 1622 is available from Wolfenbüttel Digital Library. {this is the German translation of the original 1606 rapier manual called 'Scola overo Teatro'}

Best known for fully describing the lunge, Giganti was a fencing master from Venice. He is thought to have also plaigiarised a rapier manual by Savlator Fabris (I don't think it's this one below) in 1606. There's not too much around online.

Fecht-kunst - Nicoletto Giganti, 1622 f

Fecht-kunst - Nicoletto Giganti, 1622 e

Fecht-kunst - Nicoletto Giganti, 1622 d

Fecht-kunst - Nicoletto Giganti, 1622

Fecht-kunst - Nicoletto Giganti, 1622 a

Fecht-kunst - Nicoletto Giganti, 1622 b

Fecht-kunst - Nicoletto Giganti, 1622 c

Monday, October 27, 2008


Act of Capitulation - monogram of Ottoman Sultan Achmed (30 June 1612)

Monogram of Ottoman Sultan Achmed (Ahmed) from June 1612 on a (Dutch) Treaty of Capitulation. As best I understand it, this type of Act/Treaty or privilege essentially granted local legal protection for non-Ottoman citizens, exemption from Ottoman taxing and strengthened the trading ability of the signatory state. In part, an instrument of good will from the Ottoman Empire, these originally benign treaties came to be exploited by European states as the Empire weakened. (see: one {in Dutch, about the monogram}, two, three, four) [image spliced from segments: source]

The Herball or General Historie of Plantes Gathered by John Gerarde

'The Herball or General Historie of Plantes Gathered by John Gerarde' - frontispiece from a reissue of the enlarged 2nd Ed. of 1636.

"Gerard, a London botanist, horticulturalist and barber-surgeon, whose own garden at Holborn contained "all the rare samples," did more than merely compile a list; he stressed the plant's medicinal qualities, drew attention to their ornamental and food values, and included extensive comments on culture and history."

"John Gerard was a member of the Barber-Surgeons' Company, but his true interest lay in botany. He published a catalogue of his garden in 1596, the first complete catalogue ever done. The appearance of the Herball was controversial. The publisher John Norton had originally commissioned Dr. Robert Priest, a member of the College of Physicians, to translate Rembert Dodoens' 'Stirpium historiae pemptades sex', first printed in 1583. Priest died before he finished the translation and the manuscript was acquired by Gerard, who finished it. He rearranged the order of the plants from the method of Dodoens to that of Matthias de L'Obel, who was asked by the publisher to correct errors, of which there were many. The book is not a straight plagiary, for it is filled with Gerard's own observations." [also]

Hosted online by Botanicus, this frontispiece must be close in sequence to the recently passed milestone of 1,000,000 pages now digitally available, courtesy of Missouri Botanical Garden Library. It is far and away the most comprehensive and accessible online repository for historical books and journals on botany.

Stapelia ambigua (1797)

Stapelia ambigua

IN: 'Stapeliae novae, or a collection of several new species of that genus, discovered in the interior parts of Africa', by Henri Masson, 1796-1797.
"[A]n important monograph on the carrion plant. Masson was the first plant-hunter sent to Africa under the auspices of the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew. In his introduction Masson notes that heretofore only two species of Stapelia had been noted: "In my various journeys through the deserts I have collected about forty, and these I humbly present to the lovers of Botany".
Image spliced together from screencaps from a current Sotheby's auction.

"Fig. 120.--Drawing of the skeleton of the great extinct armadillo-like animal called Glyptodon from the Pleistocene of the Argentine state in South America. The unjointed bone armour of the body, tail, and top of the head is shown. This figure is lent by the Trustees of the British Museum" (detail)
IN: 'Extinct Animals' by Edwin Ray Lankester, 1904 at SICD. {click 'see digitalized document' then the folder icon top left for thumbnail pages}

Related: 'Extinct Birds' by LW Rothschild, 1907 at Wisconsin University {click 'Display gallery view' in the sidebar)

L'Assiette au Beurre (refroidis) 1904 []

L'Assiette au Beurre (refroidis) 1904 (

Page layouts from 'L'Assiette au Beurre' by Gustave Henri Jossot, 1904, recently uploaded by the wonderful Coconino World site. [found via their 2nd newsletter - you can sign up here to get the email: it's only occasional and well worth subscribing if you like rare historic illustrations/cartoons]

What I Saw in the Fire by Alfred Crowquill 1861 (coconino)

"What I saw in the Fire"
By Alfred Crowquill (pseudonym of the Forrester brothers)
1861: I think this was published in Punch Magazine
{also sourced from Coconino World}

carnaval, gallo, guaje, morral (Lotería Huasteca)

'El Carnaval', 'El Gallo', 'El Guaje' and 'El Morral'

Contemporary woodblock prints from the Lotería Huasteca series; each print displaying "an aspect of the cultural diversity of the huasteco region in Mexico".
© Alec Dempster, a Mexican-Canadian print artist.
{via my intrepid, spider-chasing, globetrotting mate, Dinesh}

Codex Telleriano-Remensis, Mexican (Stanford - Chicana Art)

Manuscript page from the 16th century Codex Telleriano-Remensis (Mexico).

It was found among the Chicana Art Collection at Stanford University. [launch the Luna InsightBrowser halfway down the page here. Supposedly only for campus use but, *shrug*, it works. >1,300 images available]

Sketch of Two Figures Wearing Masks and in Costume by FH Cushing ( - siris)

Coloured pencil graphite and watercolour "Sketch of Two Figures Wearing Masks and in Costume, Standing On Either Side of Corn Stalk, and Holding Staff in One Hand And Stalk in the Other", undated but ~1880-1890, by Frank Hamilton Cushing. [from somewhere in Siris - must be a leftover from the recent Kiowa Pochoir Prints post]

Steam powered factory (1802)

'Aquarel van stoommachine', 1802

[detail of] Cross-sectional views - spliced together from segments - for a steam-powered factory. It's perhaps just theoretical; I can't make out what the system actually does. [source]

The Oriental Album by Joseph van Huerne (late 18th early 19th c.)

Image from spliced screencaps of an illustration in Joseph van Huerne's 'Oriental Album' (Oosters Album) {~55 pages}.
"The Oriental Album is a jewel from the collection of Joseph collector of Huerne.
The Album (late 18th-early 19th century) illustrates especially the big fascination for the exotic from China these days. The colorful illustrations of daily life are mainly the work of three artists Bruges (Ledoulx, Steyaert, Verbrugge), but the album also includes some original Chinese documents."
Source: Bruges Museum Print Room (click 'consulteren' in the sidebar)

Victor Gruen (

'Drawing Number 13 of Evry, France', © the Estate/Company of Victor Gruen.
(dated to 1969 according to the attached label)

From the University of Wyoming Digital Collection [another Luna InsightBrowser set; search on creator for 'gruen, victor']

Gruen is best known for having designed the first shopping mall, for which we all should be thankful annoyed medicated.

Also: 'Mall Maker - Victor Gruen, Architect of an American Dream' by MJ Hardwick, 2003 / review.

A Partial View of London and the Environs 1813 (Villanova U)

'A Partial View of London and the Environs'

IN: 'Utopia Found: being an Apology for Irish Absentees Addressed to a Friend in Connaught by an Absentee Residing in Bath', 1813 by (or published by) E Mangin.

This illustration comes from the Image Collection at the ever excellent Villanova University Digital Library - a great source for historic Irish material, among other things. [the whole of the 'Utopia Found' book is available at googlebooks, but there are quite a few botched page scans]

Campi Phlegraei - William Hamilton - cabinet exhib. Harry Ransom Center

Rock fragments - Plate XXXXVIII {Hand-colored engraving after sketches in situ by artist Peter Fabris.} IN: 'Campi Phlegraei (Burning Fields): observations on the volcanoes of the two Sicilies' by Sir William Hamilton , 1776.

The image was kindly supplied by the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas in Austin and belongs to a current exhibition, 'A Cabinet of Drawings', on display until 4 January 2009 (note there is video under the display frame [which I haven't watched]; also: the press release has a bit more information)

[For the interesting background and links to all the plates - eg. - from Hamilton's work, definitely see this great Mefi post and this post from the slumbering nonist]

Sri Lanka map (Ceylon - 1751)

1751 map of Ceylon (Sri Lanka)

[click through to the large version; huge version is also available]

Dedicated to the Dutch Indies Governor, Gerrard J Vreeland, and signed by B van Lier, this exceptional map, surrounded by fort schematics, is very much worth seeing in high resolution, whether you are into cartography, typography or art. Really beautiful. The image was pieced together from segments [source]. 'Serendip', as it was once (very appropriately) known, was the first foreign country I ever visited and, irrespective of the ongoing internal problems, the people are some of the happiest and gentlest I've ever met. I would return without any qualms.

Carte de l'Australie, (partie sud-ouest de l'Oceanie). Redigee par A. Brue a

[click through to the large version; huge version is also available]

Vetch proposal for Australian states

This assiduously researched map of Australia (all the text lower left cites their sources) is an ?1842 update of an earlier map by Adrien Hubert Brue and published by Charles Picquet IN: 'Atlas Universel de Geographie Physique, Politique, Ancienne & Moderne' [source]

What's interesting here of course is the embedded mini-map (the detail picture immediately above) showing a suggested 10-state naming system for Australia: I would now be a Guelphite rather than a New South Welshman -
"Australia, according to the Proposed divisions" from The Journal of the Royal Geographical Society, Volume 8, 1838 to accompany "Considerations on the Political Geography and Geographical Nomenclature of Australia by Captain Vetch, Royal Engineers, F.R.S." {see: one ('Australia, Proposed Divisions, 1838'), two, three, four}

Act of Ratification (between Napoleon, French Emperor and Dutch King - calligraphy) for annexation of Holland by France 1810

Act of Ratification (between French Emperor Napoleon and Dutch King) for annexation of Holland by France 1810 [source] - spliced together from segments.

Other things...

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Architecture of Fantasy II

Twee verticale trofeeën

Twee verticale compartimenten met harnassen

Vier verticale trofeeën

vertical trophies with cannons

doublet of musical blazon trophies

Cartouche with heart shaped calligraphy

Cartouche with calligraphy

ornamental calligraphy

Trapeziumvormige vlakdecoratie

Trapeziumvormige vlakdecoraties met grotesken

trapezoidal decorations with grotesques, garlands and trophies

Rechthoekige cartouche

Rechthoekige cartouche omgeven door moreskentitel

Cartouche met grotesken, middenonder staat een kindtitel

Ovale cartouche met Venus


Cartouche Fragments

Twee fonteinentitel

Known in the lowland countries as the 'King of Architects', Hans Vredeman de Vries [aka Johan Frisio] (~1527-~1606) apprenticed in his native Friesland as a painter before travelling widely in the Holy Roman Empire, partly as a result of religious persecution. He was most active in Antwerp, Liège, Wolfenbüttel, Hamburg, Danzig, Prague and The Hague.

De Vries' interest in architecture developed from studying and copying the works of Serlio and Vitruvius, augmented by a commission he received to complete another artist's unfinished painting on perspective. These themes of classical architecture and perspective dominated De Vries' design work, which belongs more in the realm of theoretical rather than practical architecture. He was responsible for the construction of a few modest buildings, a number of triumphal arches for ceremonial entries of royal dignitaries and he worked as a fortification surveyor-architect at one stage; but it was his innovative design sketches that proved to be most influential.

Although de Vries is thought not to have visited Italy, his purely ornamental designs - borrowed from classical antiquity - for vases, furniture, scrolls, grotesques and trophies, constituted an inventory of Renaissance decoration and served as an important conduit for the Italian styles to be disseminated throughout northern Europe. The motifs were cast in the fantasy Mannerist style, as was the custom of the day, and, combined with de Vrie's rich inventiveness - anticipating themes of Baroque decoration - the ornamental designs are particularly notable for straddling, or at least linking, all three major artistic traditions: Renaissance, Mannerist and Baroque styles.

The majority of de Vries' sketches were engraved by other people - Gerard de Jode, Hieronymus Cock, Phillip Galle, Hendrik Hondius - in a variety of cities and printshops, thereby laying the foundation for their widespread copying and circulation. Collections of these prints were intended as instructional models for artists and architects but the motifs could be adapted by goldsmiths, tapestry makers or sculptors. The assembly of images in this post and the previous entry are intentionally skewed towards the decorative studies; but in truth, de Vries' two volume treatise on perspective and his more formal works on orders and details of architecture had the more lasting influence in northern and central European (and even British) architectural circles.

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