Saturday, October 06, 2007

Arcana Entomologica

big beetle

close up beetle

large winged insect a

beetles and plant

butterflies and flower

butterflies and plant b

colourful beetles


five beetles and flower

flying beetle

flying beetles and plant a

flying beetles and plant

flying insects and plant a

large beetle

flying insects and plant

four beetles and plant

four more beetles and plant

large winged insect and plant

stink bugs

two butterflies

winged grasshopper

winged stick insect


beetles and flower

large insect

Although John Obadiah Westwood (1805-1893) completed a law degree, he pursued a very successful career based around his interests in entomology and archaeology.

He was a prolific scientific author and a respected illustrator, well known both for his detailed insect drawings and for his reproductions of Anglo-Saxon and Medieval manuscript illuminations.

Westwood helped found the Entomological Society and was an active member of the Linnean Society where he encounted Charles Darwin. Although he never subscribed to the Theory of Evolution because of his devout Christian beliefs, Westwood nonetheless retained great respect for Darwin's scientific acumen.

In the wealthy Frederick Hope, Westwood had an enthusiastic patron whose vast insect collection Westwood catalogued and eventually curated after it was donated to Oxford University. He also became the first Hope Professor of Zoology at Oxford, a position he held for more than thirty years.

'Arcana Entomologica; or, Illustrations of Rare, and Interesting Exotic Insects' (1841-1845) included 96 coloured plates. Westwood was able to obtain specimens from the far flung colonies as well as from Societies and private collections in England. He described the behaviour and habitats of the specimens and the illustrations attempted to display the insects in a natural state with plants from their normal environment.

The images above have all been at least slightly cropped and occasionally background cleaned, and the close-ups are spliced screencaps from the zoomify interface.

Thursday, October 04, 2007

Petershausener Sakramentar
















Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Atlas van Stolk

hyena taming

lion tamer with tiger and lion

lion tamer rests on lion

taming boa constrictor snake

devils dancing around world

woman at tub + man smoking pipe

man with street organ

shoemaker and man sitting

2 images of man carrying scythe

woman with basket + man carrying scythe

woman ironing + man sitting

man leaning on counter + man with fishing net

2 views of beggar

2 views of journeyman

2 views of seated man

The first series, starting with the hyena tamer (!) depict the animal trainer Henri Martin from the first half of the 19th century.

Intermission consists of 'Absolute Zero' about (or for) Professor WJ de Haas (a physicist I think) - an undated political print by Leo Jordaan.

The sketches below are by Barend Hendrik Thier (~1743-1811), a Dutch artist about whom I didn't find much in the way of information. There are a few scenic watercolour paintings of his around online and the RijksMuseum recently purchased a dozen of his other sketch albums.

"The Atlas van Stolk is a large collection of prints, drawings and photographs documenting the history of the Netherlands, brought together by the Rotterdam timber merchant Abraham van Stolk (1814-1896). The collection was continued by his heirs and, since 1967, by the Rotterdams Historisch Museum. It contains illustrated books, broadsheets, catchpenny prints and cartoons, posters, old board and card games, as well as maps, prints, drawings and photographs, all illustrating historical events and daily life in the Netherlands up to the present day.*"
There are more than 35,000 images online from the collection. The sparse homepage leads ('collection' & 'search the collection' then 'Atlas van Stolk') to the database proper, which seems a little clunky at first but is actually quite powerful in a logical metadata sort of way, and allows at least english and dutch input. There is an example 100 images for an initial browse and you can search by index or free form (I think the latter is actually much faster. Try 'topography' or 'amsterdam' or 'caricature' for instance).

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