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The Dust That Measures All Our Time

- October 13, 2021 in Uncategorized

From the mythical Sandman, who participates in dream and vision, to an irritating grain lodged in the beachgoer’s eye, sand harbours unappreciated power, however mundane. Steven Connor celebrates this “most untrustworthy” type of matter.

Lithographs from M. E. Descourtilz’s *Atlas des Champignons* (1827)

- October 12, 2021 in Uncategorized

Set of prints which sort mushrooms found in France and elsewhere into three classes: edible, suspect, and poisonous.

*The Ascent of Mont-Blanc* (ca. 1855)

- October 7, 2021 in Uncategorized

John MacGregor’s four “views” of Mont Blanc, printed in color by George Baxter, reveal a different side of the mountain when compared to well-known Romantic depictions.

A Monster in the Heart: Edward May’s *A Most Certaine and True Relation* (1639)

- October 5, 2021 in Uncategorized

This 17th-century medical treatise still puzzles researchers centuries after it was written. Was it a serpent in John Pennant’s heart? Or something more mundane?

Mermaids and Tritons in the Age of Reason

- September 29, 2021 in Uncategorized

For much of the eighteenth century, Western intellectuals chased after tritons and mermaids. Vaughn Scribner follows the hunt, revealing how humanity’s supposed aquatic ancestors became wondrous screens on which to project theories of geographical, racial, and taxonomical difference.

Adolf Schmidt’s *Atlas der Diatomaceenkunde* (1890)

- September 29, 2021 in Uncategorized

A 19th-century catalogue dedicated to showcasing diatoms (a type of unicellular microalgae) in all their intricate glory.

A Modest Apology for the Man in the Bottle (1749)

- September 27, 2021 in Uncategorized

A confession from the supposed man who caused a riot at the Haymarket Theatre in 1749, when he failed to shrink himself and crawl inside of a bottle.

The Human Voice (1921)

- September 21, 2021 in Uncategorized

Educational film from Bray studios all about that “marvellous sound producing instrument, the voice box”.

Circassian Beauty in the American Sideshow

- September 16, 2021 in Uncategorized

Among the “human curiosities” in P. T. Barnum’s American Museum was a supposed escapee from an Ottoman harem, a figure marketed as both the pinnacle of white beauty and an exoticised other. Betsy Golden Kellem investigates the complex of racial and cultural stereotypes that made the Circassian beauty such a sideshow spectacle.

700 Years of Dante’s *Divine Comedy* in Art

- September 14, 2021 in Uncategorized

To celebrate Dante's 700th anniversary, a look at how illustrators have tackled his most enduring work.