Thursday, July 26, 2007


American Clown book vignettes

These are page decorations from an instruction book(let) called 'American Clown: Athletic Dance for Men or Boys' by George Caskey (1886) - 2nd Ed. 1927 at the Rare Books and Special Collections site at the University of South Carolina.

Doctor Panurgus allegorical print

'Doctor Panurgus', engraved by Martin Droeshout in the first half of the 17th century, after an engraving by Matthaus Greuter from 1600, after a 1596 emblem from the printshop of Theodore de Bry. That gives some indication as to the complicated nature of the print and it gives me some solace to learn that the professionals regard the substance and meaning of this work to be complex (welcome to my world). It's another of the Print of the Month entries at the British Printed Image to 1700 website, from where I've poached a couple of illustrations previously. I keep returning hoping to find more of the promised collection, but I'm probably in for an extended wait as the searchable database won't be completed until late next year.

Skeleton statue allegory and worshippers
'Noites jozephinas de Mirtilo, sobre a infausta morte do serenissimo senhor D. Jozé, principe do Brazil..., Lisboa, 1790' by Luís Rafael Soye {at the Portuguese National Digital Library}
[Elegiac poem on the death of D. José - containing an array of allegorical illustrations produced by 8 of the leading artists in Portugal in the late 18th century - source]

Musical Instrument frontispiece

Frontispiece from a 1685 musical theory book by Manuel Nunes Silva called: 'Arte minima, que com semibreve prolaçam tratta em tempo breve, os modos da Maxima, & Longa Sciencia da Musica..' at the Portuguese National Digital Library.

O Antonio Maria - Portuguese satirical mag

O António Maria - Portugal 19th century

O António Maria - satirical magazine

O António Maria - Portuguese satirical magazine

O António Maria - 19th cent. satirical magazine

'O António Maria' was a popular satirical magazine in Portugal in the last twenty years of the 19th century. Lampoon targets were often drawn from contemporary social and political life in Lisbon, but there are some wickedly funny elements among the caricatures that have outlasted their local origins. Chief among contributing illustrators was Rafael Bordalo Pinheiro, Portugal's first major cartoonist.

Jakob Böhme - Seraphinisch

Jakob Böhme - Web Zu

Jakob Böhme - Weg Zu Chr.

Jakob Böhme allegorical motif

Jakob Böhme - mystical allegory

Jakob Böhme - mystic philosopher

The above series of illustrations are from posthumously released books by Jakob Böhme, the German theosophical mystic [previously]. Wolfenbüttel Digital Library recently uploaded 'Weg zu Christo' (Way To Christ) [1634] and 'Seraphinisch Blumen-Gärtlein' [1700] --- although there are quite a few similarly impressive illustrations pertaining to Böhme online, these are the largest and best quality that I've come across. {Wolfenbüttel have a few more Böhme books, but I don't recall seeing further illustrations when I was scanning through them.}

The Tatler frontispiece - Volume the Second

The Tatler was a thrice weekly gentleman's periodical founded by Joseph Addison and Richard Steele and published between 1709 and 1711. Jonathan Swift may have been a contributor. Through a pseudonymous author, the journal reported local and foreign news, gossip, entertainment and literature. The news eventually gave way to a campaign for civility and politeness. The image comes from New Zealand's University of Otago exhibition website - A Quick Stab at the Eighteenth Century, a thematic presentation covering a wide variety of topics. [See also: The Tatler Volume 1 at Project Gutenberg; The Spectator Project at Rutgers University (contains all issues of The Tatler); Issuing Her Own: The Female Tatler, a student project from the University of Michigan)

The Fable of John Bull and Uncle Sam - Titlepage

'The Fable of John Bull and Uncle Sam' 1900 by Jeremiah O'Leary with illustrations by L Helmholz Junker is online among the Joseph McGarrity books at Villanova University Digital Library. It is, by any measure, a very very strange book and also, very orange, but certainly interesting from a typographic standpoint. It's something of a compilation of newspaper articles/arguments and associated editorial cartoons.

PLUVINEL : Maneige Royal by Crispin de Passe 1623

'Le Maneige Royal' 1623 by Antoine De Pluvinel with illustrations by Crispin de Passe - a groundbreaking treatise on horsemanship. Image found on a bibliographic page at Vu de Loin. (more about the book)

di-gore hemispheric world map by Florian, 1556

"Map of the world in two thirty-six gore hemispheres. This image is the left sheet of a two-sheet map and is a north polar projection including North America, Caribbean islands, and northern part of South America. Cartographic elements include lines of latitude and longitude and some topographical details. Decorative elements include a medaillon portrait of Claudius Ptolemy. [..] The map is directly copied from Mercator's double-cordiform map of 1538." Found among the Archive of Early American Images (Insight browser) database at Brown University.

baton d'ivoire

'Le Baton Pastoral. Étude Archéologique' 1856 by Abbot Barrault and Arthur Martin - a study of the decorative heads of pastoral staffs as they have developed over the centuries, from ancient times. The book contains 150+ illustrations including five chromolithographs and is online [although I couldn't get through at the time of writing today] at the Portuguese National Library [BND].

John Speed map frontispiece

Titlepage from 'England Wales Scotland and Ireland described and abridged with ye historic relation of things worthy memory from a farr larger voulume' 1627 by renowned mapmaker/historian, John Speed. The image comes from somewhere in the Insightbrowser collection of Charting the Nation at the University of Edingburgh. [see: biography at mapforum and the John Speed map database at Occidental College, Los Angeles]

13th century medical miscellany

Folio 18r from MS Ashmole 399 at the Bodleian Library, Oxford University. Simply described as: "Anatomical illustration showing the veins, from a medical miscellany", produced in the late 13th century in England. Miscellaneous 13th-century manuscripts.

Sarco Bosco astronomical sketches

These are planetary orbital schematics from a 1485 version (by Erhard Ratdolt in Venice) of the famous 13th century 'De Sphaera', by Johannes de Sacro Bosco. 'De Sphaera' was a simplistic and accessible treatise that incorporated astronomical mathematics derived from Ptolemy and Arabic sources and outlined the spherical nature of the earth. That there were more than 100 editions released over 2 centuries serves to highlight the common held fallacy that medieval scholars believed the earth was flat. The image pastiche above was drawn from a digitised version of 'De Sphaera', among the Incunabula Collection at Mexico's University of Guadalajara.

birds in harness by Ruth Marten

'Birds in Harness' by Ruth Marten (2007). I suppose it's 'copyright Ruth Marten', who augments old engravings (in this case I think it's Georges Buffon's 18th century 'Histoire Naturelle'). Image from the Adam Baumgold Gallery. Artist website. She likes hair.

Cantatorium carved manuscript case cover

"The so-called Cantatorium of St. Gallen, the earliest complete extant musical manuscript in the world with neumatic notation. It contains the solo chants of the Mass and constitutes one of the main sources for the reconstruction of Gregorian chant. Written and provided with fine neumes in the monastery of St. Gallen between 922 and 926. Bound in a wooden box with an ivory panel on the front cover, most likely Byzantine c. 500, depicting scenes from the fight of Dionysos against the Indians. The ivory panel was once the possession of Charlemagne." See Codex 359 among the 144 medieval manuscripts online in the Digital Abbey Library of St. Gallen (CESG) in Switzerland.

Cowskulls sketch - 60 books project

'Cowskulls' by C Adams, 2005. (IN: Oregon) From the newest digital collection at the University of Wisconsin - Sixty Books Sixty Libraries. "This digital collection was a collaborative book arts, writing and journaling project for the people of south central Wisconsin. [..] The BFG book artists created sixty handmade blank books. Each book was catalogued into each of the sixty libraries in the South Central Library System. Unlike other library books, patrons were invited to write, draw, paint or collage in the books, producing community-wide collaborative works of art." I think it verges more towards ephemera than bookart strictly speaking, but there are some interesting contributions among the albums.

Flora Picta (tulip) by Braun, 1660

I think this is the most beautiful sketch of a tulip I've ever seen. In an album of 190 watercolour illustrations, Johann Bartholomäus Braun's 'Flora Picta' from ~1660 documented the garden of the Count of Baden-Durlach.

Chirurgia 1497 - combat injuries

Hieronymous Braunschweig's 1497 treatise, 'Chirurgia'. [previously]

The above two images (both spliced together from screencaps) come from an outstanding (German) exhibition site devoted to hand-drawn illustrations, manuscripts and bookbindings from ten centuries: 'Göttinger Kostbarkeiten - Handschriften, Drucke und Einbände aus zehn Jahrhunderten'. The links down the page go to introductions to each section and the links across the top go to all the illustrations - there are some rare and unusual items here - and you need to click through each image to the flashzoom screens to see the full illustration.

Other things:

portolan atlas zodiac

This gorgeous zodiac page (nearly forgotten) also comes from Brown University's Archive of Early American Images but unfortunately I didn't keep a record as to its name etc. Something about a portolan atlas...I think. [previously: The Portolan Atlas]


kReEsTaL said...

There a many good reproductions of Jakob Böhme's, Michael Maier's and Robert Fludd's pages, as well as many others', in Taschen's "Alchemy and Mysticism", by Alexander Roob.

ortelius said...

What can I say ?
outstandig as usual.

Unknown said...

I took a look at the Brown University Archive. Oddly enough, the first thing I clicked on was "Brazil", and there was the final image in your post.
Here's the info:

Accession number: 04376
Record number: 04376-2
JCB call number: Codex Z 3 / 2-SIZE
Image title: [Zodiac]
Place image published: [Venice]
Image date: [1543-1545?]
Image function: plate [2]
Technique: manuscript
Image dimension height: 21.2 cm.
Image dimension width: 27.5 cm.
Page dimension height: 25.1 cm.
Page dimension width: 32.7 cm.
Materials medium: ink, colors, gilt
Materials support: vellum
Languages: Latin
Description: A zodiac surrounds an image of the earth including North and South America. The border contains fish, dolphins, hedgehogs, butterflies, snail, eagles, double-headed (Hapsburg) eagle, and birds.
Source creator: Agnese, Battista, fl. 1530-1564
Source Title: [Atlas of Portolan Charts]
Source place of publication: [Venice]
Source date: [1543-1545?]
notes: Given by Charles V, Holy Roman Emperor (Charles I of Spain) to his son, who ruled as Philip II of Spain, this atlas consists of fourteen maps. Agnese, a prolific Genoese mapmaker working in Venice, and his workshop produced a number of decorated manuscript maps. Seventy-one surviving Agnese atlases were identified by Henry R. Wagner in 1931.
Time Period: 1492-1600
Subject Area: Flora and fauna; Geography, maps, city views and plans
geographic area: Guianas; Caribbean Islands; North America; Brazil; Spanish America
Subject headings: Emblems; Western Hemisphere--Maps
Visual categories: Emblems (Allegorical pictures)
References: Wagner, H. R. "Manuscript Atlases of Battista Agnese," Papers of the Bibliographical Soceity of America, XXV (1931), p. 1-110
Provenance/Donor: Acquired in 1893.
Owner and copyright: ©John Carter Brown Library, Box 1894, Brown University, Providence, R.I. 02912

peacay said...

Heh. Thanks mmblz. I was juggling so many things in my mind and hadn't been back to Brown U in a week or more. I feel quite chuffed that I had the 'portolan' reference correct!

Karla said...

The mind boggles (yet again). Clown dances to zodiac with everything in the world in between? All those Boehm eyes...

L. Helmholz Junker was evidently an assiduous student of Celtic interlacing. He (she?) seems to predate George Bain's book on how to do it.

Unknown said...

Great post.

Can anyone translate "je langer, je lieber?"

Best regards!

Unknown said...

Got it: "the longer, the better."

pRiyA said...

hi pk,
as always, wonderful selection.
just wanted to share these two links with you:

hope you enjoy them as much as i did!

peacay said...

Hi priya, thanks for the links. I had seen them both before in passing but am thankful for the reminder.

Anonymous said...


I think you are a bit too modest about just being a curator. This is quite a masterpiece that you have put together here. It is so rich and so full of wonder, that I will have to come back several times to fully take it all in!

Thank you so much for your work in putting this all together. You have inspired me greatly today.


peacay said...

Thanks very much frenchtowner for the kind words.

You must be referring to the --"I'm just the curator"-- line from the profile page? (I've had more than a few emails referring to that)
Don't worry, I have a healthy (too healthy sometimes!) ego. I do a lot of work to make all this material appear to be sure, but by the same token, collecting and presenting is not the same as being an authority nor is it, to my mind, in the same ballpark as the actual production of artistic works. I'm proud of (most of) what's here in these pages but it's important that I put things in perspective and also not make it seem too much like "I" am too responsible beyond the clipping and tweaking and research and writing. So, thanks, but it's important to me that I err publically on the side of umm.. caution, let's say. Cheers!

Annette said...

Good Morning, does this web blog - which is excellent and offers information I studied while at the University, does this group have a newsletter? atk

peacay said...

Hi Annette. No, this one-person, non-group blog does not have a newsletter, though you can subscribe by email to the blog output. I was using Twitter for basic sharing of blog-type material. Having said that, I am just about retired: am seriously thinking about putting down the internet for anything other than media/email/info and returning to physical books.

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