Friday, September 30, 2005

Dard on Paper

If ever I manage to wrench out the great novel from within, it would be the epitome of elegance (but unlikely economic sense) to have a craftsman of the calibre of Dard Hunter hand make and publish each book.

Born into a printing family in 1883, Dard Hunter became skilled in a range of artistic fields and after visiting europe, devoted his life to studying, practising and recording all facets of the hand papermaking and printing-typographic trades.


Before his death in the 60s Hunter had written and published a number of limited edition gold-standard papermaking and associated books. All of these, plus some he had handmade for clients have been digitized and are displayed in the University of Utah Dard Hunter Exhibition.

I think his work is tastefully exquisite personally.

Thursday, September 29, 2005

Earthquake Images


Turkey 1509------- Mitilini, Greece 1867

There's something poetic about my abysmal html/graphic handling techniques being demonstrated in a post whose illustrations portray earthquakes. Click on the links below the pictures for larger images.


Moscow 1445--------- Istanbul 1556: comet AND earthquake

The National Information Service for Earthquake Engineering at University of California, Berkeley have the Jan T Kozak Exhibition: Historical Images of Earthquakes on display. There are a larger number of images than I expected (875!) and this includes photographs. They range from 464BC to 1932 and can be displayed chronologically or alphabetically.

The Master and Margarita


Irina Shipovskaia
Apt. 50 Unlucky Visitors Ch.18


S.A.Alimov
Veselaia kompaniia (The Happy Company) 1983

Mikhail Bulgakov had been dead 26 years when his fantasy politico-religious satire The Master and Margarita was released in 1966. It was written in Russia during the Stalin era. I must profess complete ignorance to its very existence until a short while ago. I'm now very intrigued.

I came across a website devoted to the The Master and Margarita which has a sizeable number of wonderful +/- disturbing illustrations associated with the book. There's also an exegesis of the work.

  • Here's an extended Wikipedia entry if you need anything more.
  • A Russian tv series was being produced last year to the consternation of some - Guardian article.


Irina Shipovskaia
from: Illustrations II

Addit: While we're on the subject, Stalinka digital display - from the University of Pittsburgh Digital Research Library - banners, photos, pins, sculptures, cartoons &c.

Strutt & Play


All images in this entry are from: The Sports and Pastimes of the People of England: including the Rural and Domestic Recreations. May Games, Mummeries, Shows, Processions, Pageants, and Pompous Spectacles, from the Earliest Period to the Present Time. 1801 by Joseph Strutt [edited and enlarged by JC Cox 1903]

Joseph Strutt (1749-1802) made a substantial contribution to English antiquarian historiography but there is a dearth of material available about him on the internet.

The study of games at every level of society - jousting and hawking for the nobility, chess and backgammon for the intelligentsia, wrestling and bowling for the commoners, and field games for the children - are all included in Sports. Strutt is referenced when interpreting some words in Shakespeare and is credited with popularizing golf and of having an influence in the origin of baseball.



He also wrote extended works on the antiquities of England and a dictionary on engraving but his other great achievement was documenting historical dress styles.

Strutt is said to have undertaken most of his social studies at the British Museum, using stained glass windows and illuminated manuscripts as inspiration to record the hobbies and dress customs going back to Roman times.

After Strutt died, Sir Walter Scott completed a lacklustre romance novel that Strutt had started, and he credited Strutt with influencing his subsequent writing of the famed Waverley novels.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Barn Owl (Tyto alba)

Title: Barn Owl, Alternative Title: Tyto alba, Creator: Zeillemaker, C.F., Source: CD#1_2783, Publisher: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Contributor: DIVISION OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS,Title: Barn Owl, Alternative Title: Tyto alba, Creator: Zeillemaker, C.F., Source: CD#1_2783, Publisher: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Contributor: DIVISION OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS.
Language: EN - ENGLISH, Rights: (public domain), Audience: (general), Subject: bird, birds, raptor, raptors, bird of prey.

Identification Tips: Length: 14 inches Wingspan: 44 inches, Large, nocturnal, predatory bird, Large, rounded head, Pale facial disks with dark frame, Tawny and gray upperparts with small black and white spots, White underparts with scattered dark spots, Sexes similar, Sometimes found in barns and silos.

The Barn Owl is easily distinguished from other owls by its face pattern. In flight, it lacks dark wrist marks found in Long-eared and Short-eared Owls.

File size: 246 KB, Format: JPEG image (image/jpeg), Dimensions: Screen: 1050px x 710px, Print: 7.00 x 4.73 inches, Resolution: 150 dpi (mid, presentation quality), Depth: Full Color.

Unless otherwise indicated, resources in the Digital Library System are in the public domain. No restrictions or copyrights are placed upon these materials. You may credit the source of the resource using the information contained in the "Creator" or "Rights" field of the resource record. Download Full High Resolution Image

File size: 753 KB, Format: JPEG image (image/jpeg), Dimensions: Screen: 2500px x 1691px, Print: 10.00 x 6.76 inches, Resolution: 250 dpi, Depth: Full Color.

Text Credit: Credit: U.S. Geological Survey, Department of the Interior/USGS, Length and wingspan from: Robbins, C.S., Bruun, B., Zim, H.S., (1966). Birds of North America. New York: Western Publishing Company, Inc.

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Designer Aboriginals



Book Illustrations ©Bronwyn Bancroft

Minute Bodies




MICROGRAPHIA: OR SOME Physiological Descriptions of MINUTE BODIES MADE BY MAGNIFYING GLASSES with OBSERVATIONS and INQUIRIES thereupon. 1665.

Robert Hooke (1635-1703) could list in his not inconsiderable curriculum vitae, inventor, physicist, astronomer, biologist and architect among other talents. Sir Isaac Newton, who was mutually despised by Hooke, first wrote "If I have seen further, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants" as a sarcastic barb in a letter to Hooke, who was short in stature.

When he published Micrographia in 1665, Samuel Pepys described it as "the most ingenious book I have ever read in my life." Hooke accurately described his observations from use of a compound microscope in it and it was very popular following release.

About the flea image above he wrote:
"..a'dorned with a curiously polished suite of sable Armour, neatly jointed.."
and in relation to the cork cell illustration above he observed:
"..I could exceedingly plainly perceive it to be all perforated and porous, much like a Honey-comb, but that the pores of it were not regular....these pores,....or cells,...were indeed the first microscopial pores I ever saw, and perhaps that were ever seen.."
which announced the discovey of the cell. The third image is the head of a fly.

Hooke was also notable in being the official Surveyor of London following the Great Fire of 1666 and, together with Sir Christopher Wren, designed a number of replacement buildings in and around London. Curiously, no known portrait of Robert Hooke exists.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Southern Nature


The original sketch for the copper plate book engraving in Travels Through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and West Florida, the Cherokee Country, the Extensive Territories of the Muscogulges or Creek Confederacy, and the Country of the Chactaws; Containing an Account of the Soil and Natural Productions of those Regions, Together with Observations on the Manners of the Indians by William Bartram 1791.

.
Leaves of Liquid Amber and other trees; Magnolia altissima
from Hortus Europae Americanus by Mark Catesby 1767.

These images come from the American Philosophical Society's Southern Nature: Scientific Views of the Colonial American South Exhibit, [cache]which includes single page accounts of the lives and works of over a dozen authors (including Thomas Jefferson) with sample images, from the Society's Library manuscript and rare book holdings.

Passarola

Passarola, 1709

Brazilian Jesuit priest, linguist and mathematician, Bartolomeu Lourenço de Gusmão might have demonstrated to King João V of Portugal in 1709 that a device heavier than air could fly. Supposedly he floated a paper balloon construction indoors by means of a small fire in a clay crucible. There is only slim support for the notion that he successfully flew a bird-like 'balloon' some 60 or 70 years prior to the Montgolfier brothers of France however. It is also suggested that Gusmão's papers with substantiating evidence were destroyed during the Inquisition. Various forms of the Passarola (portuguese for flying ship) have appeared in print over the years. It's the stuff of patriotic legend.

The image above is from the 2-page MIT Institute Archives and Special Collections: Balloon Prints from the Vail Collection.

The Featherbook




Dioniosio Minaggio worked as a gardner to the Governor of Milan. During his tenure he made Il Bestiarrio Barocco in which 156 pictures were crafted entirely from bird feathers and skin. It was completed in 1618 and is housed today in the Blacker-Wood Library of Biology's Rare Book Collection at McGill University in Montreal.

Thumb page views (high resolution images are available) -

Birds I, Birds II, Birds III, Birds IV, The Hunters, The Comedians, The Musicians, The Tradesmen
Addit: I finally found the information page. Either McGill has some funny linking happening or I wasn't paying close enough attention wandering around their sites.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Rare Books of the Japanese Diet Library



Bar-tailed Godwit (Limosa lapponica)

Title: Bar-tailed Godwit, Alternative Title: Limosa lapponica, Creator: Bowman, Tim, Source: DI-TB-btgo_b1, Publisher: (none), Contributor: ASSISTANT REGIONAL DIRECTOR-EXTERNAL AFFAIRS.Title: Bar-tailed Godwit, Alternative Title: Limosa lapponica, Creator: Bowman, Tim, Source: DI-TB-btgo_b1, Publisher (none), Contributor: ASSISTANT REGIONAL DIRECTOR-EXTERNAL AFFAIRS.
Language: EN - ENGLISH, Rights: (public domain), Audience: (general), Subject: Birds, Shorebirds, Aquatic Birds, Godwits, Alaska.

Shorebirds are a diverse avian group. These groups form the 49 species of shorebirds that are common in North America. They generally have small bodies, long, thin legs and no webbing on their feet. One of the interesting facts about shorebirds is their amazing variety of bill shapes and sizes. Differences in bill length and shape allow the many species of shorebirds to forage for food on dry soil or in shallow water.

Shorebirds range in size from a few ounces to a pound or more and come in a variety of colors. Shorebirds migrate over incredible distances. The migratory paths used by shorebirds are influenced by geography and wind. Shorebirds are thought to have an internal compass for directional orientation which may be influenced by the sun, moon, position of stars, polarized light, magnetism, wind, photoperiod, or even olfactory cues (Kerlinger, 1995).

Shorebirds are closely associated with wetland areas but do not swim. They are found in intertidal mudflats, salt marshes, and estuaries. Though many species can be found on ocean shores, a great many also use interior fresh water wetland areas of North America along their migratory routes and in breeding areas.

File size: 133 KB, Format: JPEG image (image/jpeg), Dimensions: Screen: 1050px x 713px, Print: 7.00 x 4.75 inches, Resolution: 150 dpi (mid, presentation quality), Depth: 24 color(s).

Unless otherwise indicated, resources in the Digital Library System are in the public domain. No restrictions or copyrights are placed upon these materials. You may credit the source of the resource using the information contained in the "Creator" or "Rights" field of the resource record. Download Full High Resolution Image

Text Credit: U. S. Fish and Wildlife Service Kerlinger, P., 1995. How Birds Migrate. Stackpole Books, Mechanicsburg, PA.

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Sunday, September 25, 2005

Architectura Navalis Mercatoria




Frederik Chapman from Göteborg Sweden was partly educated in England and came to be regarded as one of the greatest shipbuilders and naval architects of all time. He approached design scientifically (going so far as to have legends and measurements in 3 languages) in contrast to the empirical/discussion methods of boating construction beforehand. One of his great works, Architectura Navalis Mercatoria, was published in Sweden in 1768 and contains a large number of diagrams from which the above were selected.

All the book illustrations (to my knowledge) are available at the Swedish subsite ChapmanNet. There is no english available that I could find. I somehow think there's a bit/lot more around on the parent site.

Arctic Tern (Sterna paradisaea)

Title: Arctic Tern in Flight Overhead, Alternative Title: Sterna paradisaea, Creator: Bowman, Tim, Source: DI-TB-arte_b8a, Publisher: (none), Contributor: ASSISTANT REGIONAL DIRECTOR-EXTERNAL AFFAIRSTitle: Arctic Tern in Flight Overhead, Alternative Title: Sterna paradisaea, Creator: Bowman, Tim, Source: DI-TB-arte_b8a, Publisher: (none), Contributor: ASSISTANT REGIONAL DIRECTOR-EXTERNAL AFFAIRS.
Language: EN - ENGLISH, Rights: (public domain), Audience: (general), Subject: Birds, Terns, Aquatic Birds, Alaska.

GENERAL APPEARANCE. A predaceous, black and white, gull-like bird, with a hooked bill, sharp claws, and webbed feet. Length, including the long, slender central tail feathers, 21 inches

IDENTIFICATION. In flight the long central tail feathers form the best identification mark for this species. When perched on the tundra the white breast of this bird is visible at a considerable distance.

DISTRIBUTION. It breeds in the Arctic regions of Europe, Asia, and America. It is usually found during the nesting season in the neighborhood of wet or marshy tundra.

File size: 41.8 KB, Format: JPEG image (image/jpeg), Dimensions: Screen: 1050px x 725px, Print: 7.00 x 4.83 inches, Resolution: 150 dpi (mid, presentation quality), Depth: 24 color(s).

Unless otherwise indicated, resources in the Digital Library System are in the public domain. No restrictions or copyrights are placed upon these materials. You may credit the source of the resource using the information contained in the "Creator" or "Rights" field of the resource record. Download Full High Resolution Image

Text Credit; FAUNA OF THE NATIONAL PARKS OF THE UNITED STATES, BIRDS AND MAMMALS OF, MOUNT MCKINLEY NATIONAL PARK, By JOSEPH S. DIXON

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Emblemata

The Author's Meditation upon sight of his Picture
[large jpeg]

What I Was, is passed by;
What I Am, away doth flie;
What I Shal Bee none do see;
Yet, in that, my Beauties bee.
George Wither 1635*

Frontpiece* George Wither 1635

*A collection of Emblemes, Ancient and Moderne, Quickened with metricall illustrations, both Morall and divine: And Disposed into lotteries, that instruction, and good counsell, may bee furthered by an honest and pleasant recreation. George Wither 1635 in 4 volumes.

Emblem books were a popular form of moral publication in 15th and 16th century Europe. The idea was that you would meditate upon the pictures (typically woodcuts) with varying possible allegorical interpretations, and then read the adjacent text to fully understand the meaning. Thus, a sort of dual form of communication was used by the author to impart religious or secular ethics. The original emblem book, Emblematum liber was written by an Italian, Andrea Alciato in 1531, but this style of book was most popular in Belgium, Holland and Germany.

George Wither, puritan, satirist and poet of modest renown, was imprisoned a number of times for his blunt libels against the reigning powers. He was ulimately employed by a publisher to contribute emblematic verse to extant book plates by Crispin van Passe, but emblem books never grew to be as popular in Britain.

Pennsylvania State University have a number of scanned emblem books online as part of The English Emblem Book Project. There is some minor background commentary, but it's mostly about the research project.