Monday, November 24, 2008

Dumpster Diving

Gaspard Grollier de Servière (son of Nicolas) 1751 'Recueil d'Ouvrages..'

Book Wheel

IN: 'Recueil d’Ouvrages curieux de mathématique et de mécanique..' (collection of curious mathematical and mechanical works) by Gaspard Grollier de Servière, 1751 (original version of this image appeared in 1719) [source]

The book wheel first appeared as a concept drawing in the famous machine book by Ramelli in 1588. Redesigns (or copies) were published in a number of subsequent works by other authors. (see Facetation) Nicolas Grollier de Servière had criticised Ramelli's complicated design and the present image shows a more simplified gimballed mechanism, published by Grollier de Servière's son. It was to be the final appearance of the proto-internet design in an Early Modern machine manual.

Thomas Watson 'A Copy Book Enriched With Great Variety of the Most Usefull & Modish Hands' 1707

Copy Book Enriched with Great Variety
Of the Most Usefull & Modish Hands
Adorned with a whole Alphabet of Great Letters,
(One before every example),
Composed of Divers New Devised Knots
and beautified with many other Curious Shapes & Flourishes
Fitted for the Profit and Delight of Ingenious Youth
by Thomas Watson Teacher of a Writing School
at Newport & Lagnell in the County of Bucks (and others)
London printed for I. Sprint and I. Nicholson, in Little Britain
Originally published in 1683, this copy-book "is distinguished from all others of his period by the gigantic capitals which appear on each page". 3rd Ed. 1707. [source]

Henry Noel Humphries - 'The Illuminated Books of the Middle Ages' 1849

Titlepage from 'The Illuminated Books of the Middle Ages', 1849 by Henry Noel Humphries. This lavish book is an early masterpiece of chromolithography and features illustrations by the great Owen Jones of illumination examples covering the 4th to 17th centuries. [source]. Amazon.

Lilian Westcott Hale - 'The Open Door', before 1963

'The Open Door'

(before 1963, but probably early 20th century) © the Estate of Lilian Westcott Hale [bio]

A mesmerising charcoal portrait sketch on paper of an unnamed or unknown girl. [source]

Helen Jacobs 'Pixie Painters'

'Pixie Painters'

Original watercolour sketch © the Estate of Helen Jacobs

"The fine watercolour shows three pixies armed with paint, brushes and a ladder trudging off to work. Traces of former mounting suggest that some of the picture, including the second signature, were originally obscured by the mount." [source]

Jacobs was an early 20th century fairy tale illustrator. Bio; works; works. Oddly enough, "pixie" does not appear in the archives here, but troll does.

Filippo Bonanni 'Recreatio Mentis et Oculi in observatione Animalium' 1684

This is one of a half dozen mask-like grotesques (after Arcimboldo) that appear in the first book devoted to shells, 'Recreatio mentis et oculi in observatione animalium testaceorum curiosus naturae inspectoribus' by Filippo Buonanni, 1684. [source]

Buonanni was an Italian Jesuit and pupil of Athanasius Kircher. He was also one of the curators of Kircher's museum and (of course) an avid collector of shells. Bio; Buonanni's Chiocciole; portrait; book.

Agostino Mitelli 1688 maschere series (father of Giuseppe Maria)

This eccentric depiction of hats appears in a small album of engraved masks from 1688 by Agostino Mitelli. [source] His son, Giuseppe Maria Mitelli, also published a series of fantastic masks in the same year. (GM Mitelli was seen in the last post)

angel lithograph


lithograph of dark passageway, moonlight and bats

'The Coliseum'

Scott Lindberg contacted to say that he had uploaded some illustrations by Czech graphic artist Hugo Steiner-Prag of poems by Edgar Allan Poe from 1943. Scott also recently commenced the Alvin & Elaine Lustig Design group on Flickr.

Iakov Tugendkhol'd - 'Aleksandra Ekster kak Zhivopisets i Khudozhnik Stseny' 1922

This cubo-futurist lithograph from before 1922 is (I assume) by Aleksandra Ekster.

It appears in a Russian monograph called 'Aleksandra Ekster kak Zhivopisets i Khudozhnik Stseny' (Aleksandra Ekster as an Artist and a Theatre Designer) by Iakov Tugendkhol'd. [source]

Rigolovanovich from the Polchinelles set by Erik Nitsche - abstract figure


Zapatapete from the Polchinelles set by Erik Nitsche - abstract figure


Abstract Commedia Delle'Arte-inspired figures called Polchinelles by graphic artist, Erik Nitsche. I'm glad to see that Derrick & Katie have continued to periodically upload material by Nitsche to the set that inspired a post from early last year.
[Note: Derrick set these 2 above to private so they're not visible anymore (March 2014)]

Oder Hundert Ausbündige Narren (Abraham St Clara) HAB

Oder Hundert Ausbündige Narren (Abraham St Clara) HAB a

These two illustrations - also inspired by the Commedia Dell'Arte genre - appear in the 1709 work, 'Oder Hundert Ausbündige Narren' by Abraham St Clara, available from Herzog August Bibliothek Wolfenbüttel (lots more illustrations available).

To the best of my understanding St Clara -(aka Ulrich Megerle: see here & here, that 2nd link also has some further Commedia Dell'Arte images)- was attempting to give a 'modern' interpretation to the classic 15th century 'Ship of Fools' ('Das Narrenschiff') book by Sebastian Brandt.

Kurtzer Entwurff des Eigentlichen Natur-Alphabets (Hellmont 1667)

Kurtzer Entwurff des Eigentlichen Natur-Alphabets (Hellmont 1667) a

These four page images appear in the fairly obscure - perhaps that description is a little superfluous on this site - 1667 work, 'Kurtzer Entwurff des Eigentlichen Natur-Alphabets' [at HAB], by Franciscus Mercurius van Helmont (Hellmont).

Van Helmont was a Flemish alchemist and writer with a particular interest in the Jewish Kabbalah. Although there is every possibility I'm wrong, I got the feeling that this work (which contains many more illustrations similar to the above examples) was attempting to show that Hebrew was the 'natural' language for humans to speak; hence the cross-sectional anatomical figures showing how the sounds are made. [see for instance, this translated page. Not too much else around that I could find]

UPDATE: When in doubt, consult with an oracle. I am indebted to Mo from Neurophilosophy for passing on a link to a very useful reference work available from Googlebooks. The following passages (out of sequence) give some indication of the fascinating background to this work and are quoted from chapter 4 in:
'The Impact of the Kabbalah in the Seventeenth Century: Life and Thought of Francis Mercury Van Helmont (1614-1698)' by Alison Coudert, 1998. [Amazon] --

"The full title of van Helmont's book translated into English reads as follows, 'A Most Compendious and truly Natural Draught of the Hebrew Alphabet, which at the same time furnishes a method whereby those who are born deaf may be so informed that they may not only understand others speaking but also may themselves arrive at the use of speech'.

It was not, as the title might suggest, a clinical treatise but a philosophical work arguing that Hebrew was the divine language of creation in which words exactly expressed the essential natures of things. Van Helmont contended that while time and ignorance had led to the corruption of Hebrew he had rediscovered its original form. He expected great things from this, believing it would bring an end to the religious controversies which had precipitated the Reformation and embittered its aftermath. He envisioned a natural Hebrew alphabet by which men would live in religious peace and social harmony. [..]

Van Helmont began the 'Alphabet of Nature' while imprisoned by the inquisition. The train of thought which led him to conclude that Hebrew is a 'natural' language began with speculations about teaching a deaf mute to speak: [..]

By proving he could teach the deaf and dumb to read and speak Hebrew through pictures, Francis Mercury hoped to discredit the arguments brought against the concept of 'natural language'. [..]

By showing that deaf mutes could easily learn to speak Hebrew, van Helmont thought that he could demonstrate the two premises on which his theory of the natural alphabet was based: first, that there were such things as innate ideas; they had only to be activated to come into conciousness. And second, that Hebrew language perfectly represented these innate ideas. [..]

Van Helmont's 'Alphabet of Nature' [..] is a utopian work and one of the many books written on the subject of a natural language during the seventeenth century. The belief that symbols and sounds could reflect reality and therefore be 'natural' or 'real' rather than conventional had a long history before Helmont wrote his own book."

Philippe Étienne Lafosse 'Cours d'hippiatrique' 1772

From: 'Cours d'Hippiatrique' by Étienne Lafosse, 1772. [source]

Larosse was a French veterinarian, famed for his series of books on horse care. {related: see the Five Centuries of Veterinary Medicine site}

Claude-François Menestrier - 'Traité des tournois..' 1669 (detail)

Detail from 'Traité des Tournois, Joustes, Carrousels, et autres Spectacles Publics' by Claude-François Menestrier, 1669. [source]

Menestrier was a Jesuit and antiquarian and director of many festivals held in honour of Louis XIV, which 'Traité..' documents.

'Vision de bajar riñendo' IN- Witches and Old Women Album by Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes (date is still debated 1797 to 1825)

'Vision de Bajar Riñendo'
(Vision: they go down quarrelling)

by Francisco José de Goya y Lucientes
(date is still argued: between 1797 and 1825)

I recommend reading the essay on Goya - previously - that accompanies the above image at the source site:
"In 1796 Goya, at the age of fifty, began filling pages of albums with drawings of people observed in various attitudes and occupied in various ways, singly or in groups. He was to keep up this practice until the end of his life, some thirty years later. In all he created eight albums of varying length and size which originally included some 550 drawings. [..]

Two women are falling through the air: one, grinning broadly, grabs the hair of the other who screams in pain. It is hard to know if the two figures (is it a couple?) who are floating at the top (one is holding a tambourine) are embracing each other or are in the midst of a serious fight. The descent of the figures is emphasized by the movement of their clothing. Intense patches of black and grey tones along with overlaid rapid, free strokes and the scraping creating lighter areas also help to suggest the falling movement. The two figures at the top are completely covered by dark wash almost as if they are only shadows. In contrast, portions of the bodies of the two old women in the foreground are left blank, conveying an almost sculptural quality and giving the illusion that they are ready to spring from the page."

Aleksei Kruchenykh 'Na Bor''bu s Khuliganstvom v Literaturie' [Against Hooliganism in Literature] 1926

Cover image by G Klutsis for the radical poetry book, 'Na Bor''bu s Khuliganstvom v Literaturie' [Against Hooliganism in Literature], by Aleksei Kruchenykh, 1926. [source]

See also:
-Russian Avant-Garde books at The Getty.
-Tango with Cows: Book Art of the Russian Avant-Garde, 1910–1917 {new}
-Soviet Posters at the International Institute for Social History

Félicien Rops frontispiece in Baudelaire's 'Les Épaves' 1866

Felicien Rops frontispiece for 'Les Épaves' by Charles Baudelaire , 1866. [source]

Furtwängler, Adolf - Olympia (heidelberg)

Sketches of bronze gargoyle-esque griffin heads discovered during the German archaeological dig at the Olympia site in Greece in 1875. The illustration plate appears in a volume [1890] from a series called 'Olympia: die Ergebnisse der von dem Deutschen Reich veranstalteten Ausgrabung' by archaeologist, Adolf Furtwängler; online at Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg. {click 'Titelblätter' and then 'Vorschau' for thumbnail views}

Hieronymus Fabricius 'Opera Chirurgica' 1684

From 'Opera Chirurgica' by Hieronymus Fabricius, 1684. [source]

Fabricius was Professor of anatomy and surgery in Padua and discovered valves in veins. William Harvey - who developed the theory of circulation - was a student under Fabricius. I can't imagine a scenario in Early Modern history where injuries requiring a near-full body splinting apparatus wouldn't have killed the victim outright. Perhaps the illustration - by John George - is intended as an ostentatious demonstration of the potential of medical science rather than as a serious instrumentation regime for a singular case?

RS Kirby 'Kirby's Wonderful and Eccentric Museum' 1820

'Kirby's Wonderful and Eccentric Museum; or, Magazine of Remarkable Characters Including all the Curiosities of Nature and Art, from the Remotest Period to the Present time, drawn from every Authentic Source. Illustrated with numerous Engravings, chiefly taken from rare and curious prints or orginal drawings.' [source]

RJ Kirby's 6-volume compendium of factitious marvels was originally released as a periodical between 1803 and 1820 and joined a growing number of works that aimed to amaze and astound a receptive public. See the previous post, Remarkable Persons, for a number of related illustrations. Kirby's work (not sure if it's complete) is available from the Internet Archive.

Claude-Nicolas Ledoux 'l'architecture considérée sous le rapport de l'art' 1804

This illustration appears in 'L'Architecture Considérée Sous le Rapport de l'Art' (1804) by the Neo-classical French architect, Claude-Nicolas Ledoux. [source] {Wikipedia}

Georges Fournier 'Hydrographie contenant la theorie et la pratique de toutes les parties de la navigation' 1643

Georges Fournier: 'Hydrographie Contenant la Theorie et la Pratique de Toutes les Parties de la Navigation', 1643. [source]
"From 1629 until 1640 Georges Fournier was professor of mathematics at La Flèche, where he had been educated by the Jesuits, and then from 1640 until 1642 at Hesdin. The present work contains sections on navigation, the construction of ships, the rules of the sea, longitude, compasses, tides etc. It enjoyed enormous success and in 1667 a second edition was published (see next lot), containing a supplementary section, La navigation du roy d'Escosse Iacques Cinquiesme du nom, autour de son royaume & Isles Hebrides & Orchades, and an extremely fine engraved plate of a French warship, which was issued separately and is sometimes found added to copies of the first edition, as here."

John Charnock 'An History of Marine Architecture' 1800

John Charnock (1800): 'An History of Marine Architecture. Including an Enlarged and Progressive View of the Nautical Regulations and Naval History, both civil and military, of all nations, especially of Great Britain; derived chiefly from Manuscripts as well in Private Collections as in the Great Public Repositories; and deduced from the earliest period to the present time'

"The most authoritative book on eighteenth-century ship-building published in England" [source] [Google books]

[click on any image to go direct to a larger version]
some of the images were background cleaned
and some were spliced together from screencaps

Other things...


dr. hypercube said...

I don't have the book to hand, but I'm pretty sure Van Helmont is cited in Ecco's The Search for the Perfect Language (Ecco is included in Coudret's bibliography, so I'm not likely too far off base). I've run out my Google Books viewing privileges on Ecco's book, so I can't point you to the right place - sorry.

peacay said...

Well, I'm just about as ignorant on this topic as any that have ever passed across the 'editorial' desk of this site. But your memory is correct: the index at the 'Look Inside' amazon page does cite van Helmont in the Ecco book.

Bumpkin Hill said...

just came across your site - I love the pixie painters. I have just launched a range of illustrations on my blog where I'm also having a giveaway.

Kittybriton said...

"I can't imagine a scenario in Early Modern history where injuries requiring a near-full body splinting apparatus wouldn't have killed the victim outright. Perhaps the illustration - by John George - is intended as an ostentatious demonstration of the potential of medical science rather than as a serious instrumentation regime for a singular case?"
Is it possible that the illustration was a combination of possible splints, not actually intended to be used all at once?

peacay said...

That's kind of what I was getting at. Except I had to think my way to it out loud ;- )

Blythe said...

Came across this blog by bizarre happenstance...I am enthralled. Thank you!!

Conrad H. Roth said...

Surprised you didn't mention (or perhaps I missed it) that Coudert, incidentally a friend of my family's, has done an edition and translation of Helmont with Taylor Corse.

peacay said...

Conrad, the quote is taken from her older book on Van Helmont(1999) but thanks for that reference.

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