Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Terror Incognito






Australia Terra Cognita William Blandowski 1855


Bennelong

Also: Early Images of the Australian Aborigines at Monash University (but the image quality is pretty terrible)

Grevy's Zebra (Equus grevyi)

Title: Grevy's Zebra, Alternative Title: (Equus grevyi), Creator: Stolz, Gary M., Source: WO5669-007, Publisher: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Contributor: DIVISION OF PUBLIC AFFAIRSTitle: Grevy's Zebra, Alternative Title: (Equus grevyi), Creator: Stolz, Gary M., Source: WO5669-007, Publisher: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Contributor: DIVISION OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS.
Language: EN - ENGLISH, Rights: (public domain), Audience: (general), Subject: Africa, Animals, Endangered species, Kenya, Mammals, Wildlife.

"Grevy's zebra is the largest of all the zebras and it is an endangered species. Grevy was not the discoverer of this species, but a President of France who received the first specimens known to the scientific world." Grevy's Zebra FULL TEXT

"Big heads, large and rounded ears, and thick, erect manes make the Grevy's zebra appear more mule-like than other zebras. In fact, many experts consider Grevy's zebras to be striped asses that are not closely related to other zebras." Grevy's Zebra - National Zoo FONZ FULL TEXT

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

Generally speaking, works created by U.S. Government employees are not eligible for copyright protection in the United States. See Circular 1 "COPYRIGHT BASICS" from the U.S. Copyright Office.

Leave a comment, make a request, Let this small sampling be a guide to better quality, more plentiful, public domain, royalty free, copyright free, high resolution, images, stock photos, jpeg, jpg, free for commercial use, clip art, clipart, clip-art. more at and or and

Dutch Colonial History

The mosque at Japara 1676 (Java) [detail]
In: Francois Valentyn's Oud en Nieuw Oost-Indiën

Birds Eye View of Batavia 1752 [detail]
Drawing by Mattheus Sager
[Batavia, Java]

Courtiers of the king at Pegu (Myanmar)
Woodcut in Isaac Commelin's Begin ende Voortgangh 1646

View of Banda Neira and Gunung Api 1726 (Indonesia) [detail]
In: Valentyn's Oud en Nieuw Oost-Indiën

View of Negapatnam (India) [detail]
Engraving in: Valentyn's Oud en Nieuw Oost-Indiën 1726












A village chief in Manipa and a man in local dress
[details from the same image]
in: Valentyn's Oud en Nieuw Oost-Indiën 1726

"The Atlas of Mutual Heritage (AMH) is an expanding digital academic catalogue of illustrations and data about settlements of the Dutch East & West Indian Company (VOC and WIC)."

This somewhat unusual site is a work in progress but at present they have upwards of 4000 images which can be retrieved in a number of logical ways (location, book author etc). The material comes from about 15-20 institutions and I guess that a slight majority of the database consists of maps and 'maritime' images. There is much more than this however, with many book illustrations and the occasional photograph.

I first found this site some months ago and have returned there on a number of occasions but there is now some background information available and I'm finding it a bit easier to move around. Speaking for myself, I ultimately found browsing via 'institution' to be the best/quickest way to see a reasonable cross-section of images on offer. Once you choose the method by which to browse (institution, author etc), click on 'show data' to generate the thumbnails - then click for a zooming flash interface.

"M. Erath"


That's the tiny signature near the bottom right-hand corner, in the Winter quadrant of this 50's era record jacket.

Not a very common name, and one I had never heard of in the context of children's book illustrators. Google image search turned up three pieces by a Margaret Erath, who won Best in Show from the Southern Arizona Watercolor Guild in 2000, 2002, and 2003. I tried contacting the guild but have so far recieved no reply.

Another quick search of the Arizona White Pages turned up a Margaret Erath, age 76, living in Tuscon, Arizona - but the number was unlisted. Could this be the same M. Erath who painted this lovely interpretation of the four seasons nearly half a century ago? And is there more work by M. Erath out there waiting to be discovered?

Only time will tell.

For those interested in childrens record jacket art, this great site has many scans!

Monday, January 30, 2006

Lincoln's Birthday, Abraham Lincoln

Abraham Lincoln, seated in chair, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division [reproduction number, LC-D416-31]TITLE: [Abraham Lincoln, seated in chair, full portrait], CALL NUMBER: LC-D416-31 [P and P], REPRODUCTION NUMBER: LC-D416-31 (b&w glass neg.), MEDIUM: 1 negative : glass ; 8 x 10 in., CREATED/PUBLISHED: c[between 1900 and 1920] RELATED NAMES: Detroit Publishing Co., copyright claimant, publisher.
Works published prior to 1978 were copyright protected for a maximum of 75 years. See Circular 1 "COPYRIGHT BASICS" PDF from the U.S. Copyright Office. Works published works before 1923 are now in the public domain.

Digital ID: det 4a25929 Source: digital file from intermediary roll film Reproduction Number: LC-D416-31 (b and w glass neg.) Repository: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA Retrieve uncompressed archival TIFF version (139 kilobytes)

NOTES: Title devised by cataloger; caption on negative: Portrait of Abraham Lincoln. Photograph of a painting at the Brooklyn Museum. Detroit Publishing Co. no. M 31., Gift; State Historical Society of Colorado; 1949

PART OF: Detroit Publishing Company Photograph Collection, REPOSITORY: Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA, DIGITAL ID: (digital file from intermediary roll film) det 4a25929, hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ CARD #: det1994002916/PP

Credit Line: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division [reproduction number, LC-D416-31]

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Grant's Zebra (Equus burchelli boehmi)

Title: Grant's Zebra, Alternative Title: (Equus burchelli boehmi), Creator: Stolz, Gary M., Source: WO5667-007, Publisher: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Contributor: DIVISION OF PUBLIC AFFAIRSTitle: Grant's Zebra, Alternative Title: (Equus burchelli boehmi), Creator: Stolz, Gary M., Source: WO5667-007, Publisher: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Contributor: DIVISION OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS.
File size: 190 KB, Format: JPEG image (image/jpeg), Dimensions: Screen: 1083px x 723px, Print: 7.22 x 4.82 inches, Resolution: 150 dpi (mid, presentation quality), Depth: Full Color.

"Grant’s zebra can be found in the grasslands, savannas and open country of Africa, including Southern Sudan and Ethiopia, down to central Angola and eastern South Africa." San Francisco Zoo Animals Grant’s Zebra

"SWAHILI NAME: Punda Milia. Zebras are odd-toed ungulates. They have excellent eyesight, a keen sense of smell and are able to run at high speeds. In many ways, zebras are closer to asses than horses, having long ears, short stiff manes, tufted tails, and "chestnuts" confined to the front legs." Grant's Zebra FULL TEXT.

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

Generally speaking, works created by U.S. Government employees are not eligible for copyright protection in the United States. See Circular 1 "COPYRIGHT BASICS" from the U.S. Copyright Office.

Leave a comment, make a request, Let this small sampling be a guide to better quality, more plentiful, public domain, royalty free, copyright free, high resolution, images, stock photos, jpeg, jpg, free for commercial use, clip art, clipart, clip-art. more at and or and

Great Illustrations - A Quarter Each


Its amazing what you can still buy for 25 cents. A half-century-old record with a great illustration on the cover, for instance.

Artist Neil Boyle (1931- ) was previously unknown to me, but I quickly found three albums illustrated by him in various local Goodwill stores and second-hand shops. Turns out that the Society of Illustrators (LA) has heard of Boyle, though... he received a Life-Time Achievment Award from them - among his many other honours, according to Walt Reed's "Illustrator in America".



Lee Youngman Galleries, just one of seventeen galleries that represent Boyle's work, offers this biography:

"Neil Boyle, of Fort Macleod, Alberta, Canada, first studied at Banff School of Fine Arts. He continued his studies at Chouinard and Art Center School of Design in Los Angeles. He is a successful illustrator, having done work for many major publications and corporations such as The Ford Motor Company, Rand Corporation, Reader's Digest and Cosmopolitan. Four of his works were chosen by the U.S. Postal Service for the commemorative Bicentennial stamp series, "Contributors to the Cause", and over forty of his works have been chosen for the U.S. Air Force historical exhibits in the Smithsonian and the Pentagon and Traveling Show.

Neil Boyle has taught at Chouinard Institute, Art Center School of Design, California State University Long Beach, and California State University, Northridge.a partial list of Boyle collectors include ABC Television, Atlantic Richfield, Chrysler Corporation, Cosmopolitan Magazine, Ford Motor Company, Franklin Mint, Gardner Ranch in Santa Barbara, Golden West Broadcasting, Good Housekeeping, IBM, La Costa Spa, Ladies Home Journal, Melissa Manchester, NASA, Saturday Evening Post, Willie Shoemaker, Universal Studios, Walt Disney Studios, Capital Records, and RCA.His recent awards include an "Award of Excellence" from the Oil Painters of America, Alan Wylie award from the Federation of Canadian Artists' Faces & Figures, third place in the figurative Painting in the California Art Club's Gold Medal Show, and Artists' Choice Award at the Southwest Art in the Wine Country Show."

You can find a few examples of Boyle's more recent work at their site.

Desktop Decongestant

Santvoort 1664**
[BibliOdyssey 400 years ago]

Philibert van Borssele, Binckhorst (1613)
This is a detail from the frontpiece of a book - no other images in it -
whose commentary makes little sense to me even when translated.

Laughing Girl
Etching by Isabel Bishop 1936
From: The Power of Woe, The Power of Life - Images
of Women in Prints from the Renaissance to the Present

at Bayly Art Museum, University of Virginia.

The Birch Bark Book © Martin Grund -
click flag for english explanation -
a book made from the bark of a birch tree
during a 4 month stay in Siberia
[via Metafilter]

Fulvio Fontana 1711 Etchings of Penitents ..Imagini**
There's a whole series of these self-flagellators and on
another day I might have made a post just about them.
But the series I saw was quite repetetive.

Joseph Ferdinand Fromiller 1744 Austria**

**These don't turn up on a regular google search so I presume I snagged them from FotoMarburg/Amsterdam University+/-PicturePedagogica image databases, where I've been rummaging of late.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Chris Buzelli









Illustrations © Chris Buzelli.

President's Day, Delivering the address

Delivering the address--President's Day, Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division [reproduction number, LC-USZ62-95892]TITLE: Delivering the address--President's Day, CALL NUMBER: PRES FILE - McKinley, William, 1843-1901 [P&P], REPRODUCTION NUMBER: LC-USZ62-95892 (b&w film copy neg.), SUMMARY: William McKinley making speech to crowd from flag-draped stand.
MEDIUM: 1 photographic print., CREATED/PUBLISHED: c1901., NOTES: Copyright by C.D. Arnold., No. 744.

Works published prior to 1978 were copyright protected for a maximum of 75 years. See Circular 1 "COPYRIGHT BASICS" PDF from the U.S. Copyright Office. Works published works before 1923 are now in the public domain.

Digital ID: cph 3b42022 Source: b&w film copy neg. Reproduction Number: LC-USZ62-95892 (b&w film copy neg.) Retrieve uncompressed archival TIFF version (1,736 kilobytes)

DIGITAL ID: (b&w film copy neg.) cph 3b42022 hdl.loc.gov/loc.pnp/ , VIDEO FRAME ID: LCPP003B-42022, CARD #: 91787247, View the MARC Record for this item.

Credit Line: Library of Congress, Prints and Photographs Division [reproduction number, LC-USZ62-95892]

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Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis)

Title: Giraffe, Alternative Title: (Giraffa camelopardalis), Creator: STansell, Kenneth, Source: WO5095-023, Publisher: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Contributor: DIVISION OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS.Title: Giraffe, Alternative Title: (Giraffa camelopardalis), Creator: STansell, Kenneth, Source: WO5095-023, Publisher: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Contributor: DIVISION OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS.
Language: EN - ENGLISH, Rights: (public domain), Audience: (general), Subject: animals, wildlife, Africa, mammals.

Giraffe/Giraffa comes from the Arabic word "zarafah", which means "one who walks swiftly" (Gotch, 1995). Camelopardalis = camel (camelus), leopard (pardus); Latin. Centuries ago, it was thought that giraffes were part camel and part leopard. Local names: Twiga (Swahili), Nduida (Kikuyu), Oloodo-kirrangata (Masai). There are numerous other names in various local languages -Kingdon (1979) lists 20 Giraffe (Giraffa camelopardalis) Fact Sheet, 2003.

"Giraffes are superbly adapted to exploit a food source that is out of reach for other hooved animals. They feed almost entirely on leaves of acacia, mimosa, and wild apricot trees. The 18-inch tongue is wrapped around a branch and as the head is pulled away, leaves are stripped off." Giraffa camelopardalis: The Giraffe

File size: 111 KB, Format: JPEG image (image/jpeg), Dimensions: Screen: 1050px x 703px, Print: 7.00 x 4.69 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

Generally speaking, works created by U.S. Government employees are not eligible for copyright protection in the United States. See Circular 1 "COPYRIGHT BASICS" from the U.S. Copyright Office.

Leave a comment, make a request, Let this small sampling be a guide to better quality, more plentiful, public domain, royalty free, copyright free, high resolution, images, stock photos, jpeg, jpg, free for commercial use, clip art, clipart, clip-art. more at and or and

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Renaissance Discoveries and Inventions

Frontpiece of the series showing example advancements,
including Columbus and his America.
[click the images for larger versions]

Mola Aquaria 'Water Mill'
"Whoever thinks that watermills were invented in ancient times is all wrong"**
Sacks of grain are brought in, weighed and ground by millstones
driven by water power. Note the mid-stream watermills in the
background (right) to take advantage of stronger currents.

Distillatio ('Distillation')
"In the fire, the juice of all bodies is turned by art into
a mighty billow, clear and most potent."**
[Interestingly, a different painted version of Distillatio is displayed
at the Levity website as an example of an alchemical laboratory]


Polituva Armorum ('Polishing Armor')
"Swords, battle-axes and all the weapons of war,
are polished in our time, not in antiquity."**
Waterwheels below the workshop power the polishing apparatus.

Conspicilla ('Spectacles')
"Also invented were eyeglasses which remove dark veils from the eyes"**
Note the advertising banner outside the optician's shop
and the seeing-eye dog in the far background.
The optical aids without arms resembled pince-nez glasses.

Color Olivi ('Oil Paints')
"The famous master Eyckius (Jan van Eyck) discovered oil
as a convenience for painters"** {early 15th century}

Mola Alata ('Winged Mill')
"The winged mill which now wants to be driven by the
winds is said to have been unknown to the Romans"**

Sculptvra in Æs ('Engraving on Copper')
"By a new art the sculptor carves figures on beaten
sheets and reproduces them on a press"**
{Developed by Florentine goldsmiths in the 1400s}

[**Translation by Dr Rosen of latin descriptors below
each engraving which are cut off in the above images.]

Jan or Johannes Stradanus (originally: Jan van der Straet or Straeten) (1523-1605) was a Flemish artist and after an apprenticeship at an Antwerp publishing house, he spent the majority of his productive life in Italy, particularly Florence.

With the patronage of Cosimo I de Medici, Stradanus painted frescoes and designed tapestries. He also combined his talents with the Galle family of engravers (Antwerp) to produce a series of successful prints including the examples above. Probably his most well known legacy is a series of engraved prints of hunting that developed from a tapestry commission he received.

24 engravings from drawings by Stradanus were included in the Nova Reperta - 'New Discoveries' - collection, which was a print series celebrating renaissance progress in art, science and technology from ~1580. There's an obvious advocacy for viewing these discoveries and technologies as wholly belonging to the age in which the prints were issued.

There may not be a wealth of direct biographical or even descriptive material on Stradanus on the web, but it's hard not to come away without the impression that this was a very influential artist whose work was copied by the best. "After Stradanus" is an often repeated phrase.

"New discoveries; the sciences, inventions, and discoveries of the Middle Ages and the Renaissance as represented in 24 engravings issued in the early 1580s" is a book or portfolio collection from 1953 from a translation by Dr E Rosen with notes by Bern Dibner and is online at the Carnegie Mellon University's Posner Libary (click 'view book pages'). It's easy to navigate - an illustration every 2nd page in small, large or HUGE format. Posner library is one of the best resources on the internet for rare book images, despite having poor search ability and no way to move through books efficiently.

Giant Panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)

Title: Giant Panda, Alternative Title: (Ailuropoda melanoleuca), Creator: Stolz, Gary M., Source: WO8455-002, Publisher: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Contributor: DIVISION OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS.Title: Giant Panda, Alternative Title: (Ailuropoda melanoleuca), Creator: Stolz, Gary M., Source: WO8455-002, Publisher: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, Contributor: DIVISION OF PUBLIC AFFAIRS.
Language: EN - ENGLISH, Rights: (public domain), Audience: (general), Subject: Animals, D.C., Endangered species, Mammals, National Zoo, Washington, Wildlife, captive propagation.

Giant pandas are found only in the mountains of central China -- in small isolated areas of the north and central portions of the Sichuan Province, in the mountains bordering the southernmost part of Gansu Province and in the Qinling Mountains of the Shaanxi Province.

Giant pandas live in dense bamboo and coniferous forests at altitudes of 5,000 to 10,000 feet. The mountains are shrouded in heavy clouds with torrential rains or dense mist throughout the year.

Giant pandas have existed since the Pleistocene Era (about 600,000 years ago), when their geographic range extended throughout southern China. Fossil remains also have been found in present-day Burma. Giant Panda (Endangered Species), Wildlife Species Information: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service

File size: 156 KB, Format: JPEG Image (image/pjpeg), Dimensions: Screen: 1050px x 703px, Print: 7.00 x 4.69 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

Generally speaking, works created by U.S. Government employees are not eligible for copyright protection in the United States. See Circular 1 "COPYRIGHT BASICS" from the U.S. Copyright Office.

Leave a comment, make a request, Let this small sampling be a guide to better quality, more plentiful, public domain, royalty free, copyright free, high resolution, images, stock photos, jpeg, jpg, free for commercial use, clip art, clipart, clip-art. more at and or and

DRAWING WITH YOUR BRAINS

On days when I have had cranky flakes for breakfast, faithful readers can find me here grumbling about the bleak state of drawing today.

In the words of Roberta Smith, "drawings are a direct extension of an artist's signature and very nervous system." The humble act of making a line with sensitivity and grace is one of the defining acts of humanity; it's the first thing our ancestors did when they evolved from Neanderthals to modern Cromagnons. So what are we to conclude from the state of drawing today? Artists such as Art Spiegelman and Chris Ware seem to be the current darlings of the illustration community, but largely because of the content of their message. Let's face it-- their drawing is just plain lame.












Chris Ware





















Art Spiegelman

In fact, a great many of the artists who helped shape the course of illustration over the past several decades-- Seymour Chwast, Edward Sorel, Garry Trudeau and others-- seem to lack fundamental drawing skills. To their credit, they don't try to conceal it. Chwast is among the first to say that he avoids techniques and media "that require craftsmanship and a drawing ability that I do not have." Sorel admits, “I have never had the confidence that I could draw.... To me, a person with drawing skill is a guy who can sit down to a piece of paper and draw upon his familiarity with the body and with gesture, and do whatever he wants to do.”

The message of their art may be brilliant, but most of them could not have found jobs as an apprentice sharpening pencils in the era of Noel Sickles, Robert Fawcett or Austin Briggs. There are thousands of marvelous drawings out there by now-forgotten artists whose work is far superior to the work that currently causes the critics to swoon. To illustrate the point, let's look at some random examples of quality drawing. Compare the contemporary "masterpieces" above with the vigor and complexity of the linework in this sketch by J.C. Coll :
























Some illustrators argue that, as the illustrator's message becomes more important, the need for a "slick," polished image diminishes. Yet, the brilliant Ronald Searle repeatedly proved over the past 50 years that an illustrator does not need to sacrifice artistic quality in order to convey biting content:
























For another example of visual form worthy of its content, look at this fabulous, robust drawing by Jean Dubuffet, appropriately entitled "pisseur a droite." The drawing is just as powerful as the subject matter, and it makes the contemporary drawings above seem anemic by comparison.
























Here is yet another approach: Alex Raymond could always be counted on to wield a pen and brush for a sparkling effect. Each of these four artists artists draws with a strength and a humanity that is often absent in an era where so much art has been processed through the photoshop deflavorizing machine.






















How can we explain our hypogeusia? For one thing, our primary interest in art seems to have shifted from aesthetic quality to intellectual content. Arthur Danto, the art critic for The Nation, observed:


The way things have evolved, art can look like anything, so you can't tell by looking.... [A]rt these days has very little to do with aesthethic responses; it has more to do with intellectual responses.

This is what happens when we draw with our brains. From my perspective, "intellectual responses" are dandy but they can't begin to compensate for the decline in aesthetic quality. I am, however, eager to be instructed by those who understand "concept" illustration better than I do. There are plenty of you out there because I see your worshipful blogs to Ware, Spiegelman etc. all over the place. You're the reason I wrote today's entry. Please comment and explain where I am missing the boat!

Revisiting Albert Tissandier

Tlingit Indian Houses at Killisnoo, Alaska

Tlingit Amulets

Hotel Banff, Alaska

View of Tlingit Chief's House

Houses at the Rear of Westminster Avenue, Vancouver

I checked an inbound google translation link today and in addition to concluding that I sound much more sophisticated in italian (not being able to actually read italian assists with this delusion), I was reminded to go back and examine the other half of the Albert Tissandier collection at the University of Utah. [the original post] The breadth of the collection and the quality of (most of) the work makes it deserving of another post to my mind.

Tissandier's drawings and etchings were produced during a number of cross country trips made in North America in the late 1880s and early 1890s and many were published in leading magazines in his French homeland. The images here come from his later journeys in 1890 and 1893, which took him to the Pacific North-West, Canada and Alaska.

Tissandier had trained as an architect at L'École des Beaux-Arts in Paris and applied his draftsman skills to faithfully documenting the 'wild west'. His published images were often the first reference point for potential European tourists. He has also achieved some level of lasting fame in conjunction with his brother as pioneers in ballooning history - I found some great material about this searching around today and I'll post something on it in the coming week.

Albert Tissandier - Drawings of Nature and Industry in the U.S. at the J. Willard Marriott Library at the University of Utah on behalf of the Utah Museum of Fine Arts. The site also includes lengthy excerpts from Tissandier's 1885 journal.