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The British Library’s “Mechanical Curator” million

- December 19, 2013 in British Library, collections, Digital Copy: No Additional Rights, Images, Images-17th, Images-18th, Images-19th, Images-Animals, Images-Design, Images-Engraving-Line, Images-People, Images-Photography, Underlying Work: PD Worldwide

Last week the ever-incredible British Library announced that they were gifting more than 1 million images to the world, uploaded to Flickr Commons under the public domain mark, meaning complete freedom of re-use. The range and breadth of images is phenomenal. As they say in their post announcing the release the “images themselves cover a startling mix of subjects: There are maps, geological diagrams, beautiful illustrations, comical satire, illuminated and decorative letters, colourful illustrations, landscapes, wall-paintings and so much more that even we are not aware of”. Each image was extracted from its respective home (books making up a total of 65,000 already digitised volumes) by a program known as the ‘Mechanical Curator’, a creation of the British Library Labs project. A crowdsourcing application is being launched in the new year (likely using tools developed by our very own Open Knowledge Foundation!) to help describe what the images portray – and the British Library is also putting out a general plea for people to innovate new ways to navigate, find and display this incredible array of images. (Email BL Labs here). Although, of course, it will one day be wonderful to be able to sort and filter these images into […]

Hand coloured photographs of 19th century Japan

- December 17, 2013 in albumine, collections, Digital Copy: No Additional Rights, early photography, felice beato, Images, Images-19th, Images-People, Images-Photography, japan, Library of Congress, Underlying Work: PD Worldwide

A selection from a series of 42 hand coloured albumine prints – a process which used the albumen found in egg whites to bind the photographic chemicals to the paper – taken around 1880. The presence of the pictures in the Dutch National Archieff reflects a long relationship between Japan and the Netherlands, the result of an exclusive commercial relationship that would last for more than two centuries (1641-1855). Housed at: Flickr: The Commons | From: Nationaal Archieff Underlying Work: PD Worldwide | Digital Copy: No Additional Rights Download: Right click on image or see source for higher res versions The following pictures from the collections of the Library of Congress are by the Italian–British photographer Felice Beato (probably also the creator of the images above), one of the first people to take photographs in East Asia and one of the first war photographers. Library of Congress Underlying Work: PD Worldwide | Digital Copy: No Additional Rights Download: Right click on image or see source for higher res versions HELP TO KEEP US AFLOAT The Public Domain Review is a not-for-profit project and we rely on support from our readers to stay afloat. If you like what we do then […]

Edward Lear’s Walk on a Windy Day (1860)

- December 12, 2013 in Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library, birds, collections, Digital Copy: No Additional Rights, edward lear, flying, humour, Images, Images-19th, Images-Animals, Images-Illustrations, Images-People, Underlying Work: PD Worldwide

An Edward Lear story concerning a man, referred to simply as E.L., taking the grave risk of going out for a walk on a windy day and living the consequences. These ten rare sketches are in a bound edition living in the Frederick R. Koch Collection at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library in Yale University. Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library Underlying Work: PD Worldwide | Digital Copy: No Additional Rights Download: Right click on image or see source for higher res versions HELP TO KEEP US AFLOAT The Public Domain Review is a not-for-profit project and we rely on support from our readers to stay afloat. If you like what we do then please do consider making a donation. We welcome all contributions, big or small - everything helps! Become a Patron Small angel : £3.00 GBP - monthly Medium sized hero : £5.00 GBP - monthly Large emperor : £10.00 GBP - monthly Vast deity : £20.00 GBP - monthly Make a one off Donation SIGN UP TO THE NEWSLETTER Sign up to get our free fortnightly newsletter which shall deliver direct to your inbox the latest brand new article and a digest of the most […]

Fortunio Liceti’s Monsters (1665)

- November 20, 2013 in collections, Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine, Images, Images-17th, Images-Animals, Images-Engraving-Line, Images-People, Images-Science, Internet Archive, Underlying Work: PD Worldwide

Highlights from the illustrations in the 1665 edition of Fortunio Liceti’s De Monstris, originally published, without the illustrations, in 1616. Liceti’s work, although not the first on the topic of deformities in nature, was perhaps the most influential of the period. In the wake of the book there was a huge rise in interest throughout Europe in “monstrosities”: pygmies, supposed mermaids, deformed fetuses, and other natural marvels were put on display and widely discussed, becoming the circus freak-shows of their time. However, unlike many of his contemporaries Licenti did not see deformity as something negative, as the result of errors or failures in the course of nature. Instead he likened nature to an artist who, faced with some imperfection in the materials to be shaped, ingeniously creates another form still more admirable. ‘It is said that I see the convergence of both Nature and art,’ wrote Liceti, ‘because one or the other not being able to make what they want, they at least make what they can.” Housed at: Internet Archive | From: Francis A. Countway Library of Medicine Underlying Work: PD Worldwide | Digital Copy: Pending Clarification Download: Right click on image or see source for higher res versions […]

Robert Cornelius’ self-portrait: The First Ever “Selfie” (1839)

- November 19, 2013 in collections, Digital Copy: No Additional Rights, first ever photographic self-portrait, Images, Images-19th, Images-People, Images-Photography, Library of Congress, robert cornelius, selfie, Underlying Work: PD Worldwide

Today the Oxford Dictionaries announced their word of the year for 2013 to be “selfie”, which they define as “a photograph that one has taken of oneself, typically one taken with a smartphone or webcam and uploaded to a social media website.” Although it’s current rampant incarnation is quite recent, the “selfie” is far from being a strictly modern phenomenon. Indeed, the photographic self-portrait is surprisingly common in the very early days of photography exploration and invention, when it was often more convenient for the experimenting photographer to act as model as well. In fact, the picture considered by many to be the first photographic portrait ever taken was a “selfie”. The image in question was taken in 1839 by an amateur chemist and photography enthusiast from Philadelphia named Robert Cornelius. Cornelius had set his camera up at the back of the family store in Philadelphia. He took the image by removing the lens cap and then running into frame where he sat for a minute before covering up the lens again. On the back he wrote “The first light Picture ever taken. 1839.” Housed at: Wikimedia Commons | From: Library of Congress Underlying Work: PD Worldwide | Digital Copy: […]

Paintings in Proust (Vol. 1, Swann’s Way)

- November 14, 2013 in collections, Digital Copy: PD Wikimedia, Images, Images-15th, Images-16th, Images-17th, Images-Painting, Images-People, marcel proust, Underlying Work: PD Worldwide

As a celebration of the centennial of the publication of Du côté de chez Swann (Swann's Way), the first volume of Marcel Proust's A la recherche du temps perdu, we have put together a few highlights of the many mentions of artworks to be found in the first volume, Swann's Way, in which the narrator recounts his experiences growing up, participating in society, falling in love, and learning about art.

Photographs from a séance with Eva Carrière (1913)

- October 31, 2013 in Boston Public Library, collections, Digital Copy: No Additional Rights, eva carrière, fraud, harry price, hoax, Images, Images-20th, Images-People, Images-Photography, Internet Archive, occult, seance, spirit photography, spiritualism, Underlying Work: PD Worldwide

This remarkable series of photographs are from a book entitled Phenomena of Materialisation by German physician and psychic researcher Baron von Schrenck-Notzing. The book focuses on a series of séances that Schrenck-Notzing witnessed between the years 1909 and 1913 involving the French medium Eva Carrière, or Eva C. Born Marthe Béraud, Carrière changed her name in 1909 to begin her career afresh after a series of seances she held in 1905 were exposed as a fraud. Her psychic performances as Eva C gained the attention of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle, author of the Sherlock Holmes mystery series, who believed she was genuine, and also Harry Houdini, who was not so convinced. Another researcher who became interested in her case was Albert von Schrenck-Notzing. A series of tests he devised between the years 1909 and 1913 convinced him that Eva C was the real deal and in 1913 he published his Phenomena of Materialisation detailing the sessions and the reasons for his belief. It has been noted that these sessions with Schrenck-Notzing verged on the pornographic. Carrière’s assistant (and reported lover) Juliette Bisson would, during the course of the séance sittings with Schrenck-Notzing, introduce her finger into Carrière’s vagina to ensure […]

The Sketchbooks of Jacques-Louis David

- October 22, 2013 in collections, Digital Copy: No Additional Rights, France, french revolution, Images, Images-18th, Images-Engraving-Line, Images-People, Jacques-Louis David, napoleon, rome, sketchbook, The Getty, Underlying Work: PD Worldwide

Selections from “Album 11″, a sketchbook belonging to the French neoclassical painter and revolutionary Jacques-Louis David. The sketches are from his student years in Rome in the 1770s, a time in which he became obsessed with the ancient and Renaissance art to be found in the city. During this period he made well over 1000 “Roman sketches” and relied on them as a visual resource throughout his career. Once returned to Paris, David dismantled his sketchbooks and reorganised the leaves into albums according to type, numbering 12 in total. This 11th album – held by the Getty Research Institute and included in The Getty’s Open Content program – is mainly concerned with studies of the bas-reliefs and sculptures from prominent Italian collections, including the ancient Roman paintings unearthed in Pompeii and Herculaneum. David was arguably the most influential European artist of the late 18th century, his thoughtful style of “history painting” marking a change in the moral climate at a crucial time in European history: the end of the Ancien Regime and birth of the French Revolution. David, a close friend of the revolutionary leader Maximilien Robespierre, was an active supporter of the French Revolution (he voted for the execution […]

Auto Polo (ca.1911)

- October 3, 2013 in auto polo, cars, collections, Digital Copy: No Additional Rights, Flickr: the Commons, ford, Images, Images-20th, Images-People, Images-Photography, Library of Congress, polo, sport, Underlying Work: No Known Copyright Restrictions

Four photographs depicting dramatic scenes from an "auto polo" match, a version of polo played using cars rather than horses. The sport - thought to have been invented as a publicity stunt by a Ford automobile dealer from Topeka to sell Model Ts - was popular at fairs, exhibitions and sports venues across the United States and several areas in Europe from 1911 until the late 1920s.

The Coronation of King Ladislaus of Poland (1633)

- September 5, 2013 in collections, coronation, Digital Copy: No Additional Rights, Europeana, Images, Images-17th, Images-Engraving-Line, Images-People, king, monarchy, National Digital Library of Poland, poland, Underlying Work: PD Worldwide

Illustration from a book celebrating the coronation of King Ladislaus of Poland in February of 1633. A rather rotund looking Ladislaus (presuming the figure is, in fact, the king) hovers in the clouds with the Latin words Ingenium Naturae on a banner above his head, literally translating as “natural talent”. National Library of Poland Underlying Work: PD Worldwide | Digital Copy: No Additional Rights Download: Right click on image or see source for higher res versions HELP TO KEEP US AFLOAT The Public Domain Review is a not-for-profit project and we rely on support from our readers to stay afloat. If you like what we do then please do consider making a donation. We welcome all contributions, big or small - everything helps! Become a Patron Small angel : £3.00 GBP - monthly Medium sized hero : £5.00 GBP - monthly Large emperor : £10.00 GBP - monthly Vast deity : £20.00 GBP - monthly Make a one off Donation SIGN UP TO THE NEWSLETTER Sign up to get our free fortnightly newsletter which shall deliver direct to your inbox the latest brand new article and a digest of the most recent collection items. Simply add your details to the […]