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16th century Prosthetics (1564)

- September 28, 2012 in Images, Images-16th, Images-Engraving-Line, Images-Science, medicine, non-article, prosthetics, surgery

Images of mechanical prosthetics as designed by Ambroise Paré in his book Dix livres de la chirurgie (Ten books of Surgery). Paré was the official royal surgeon for kings Henry II, Francis II, Charles IX and Henry III and is considered to be one of the fathers of surgery and modern forensic pathology. As well as a designer of surgical instruments, he was also a leader in surgical techniques and battlefield medicine, especially the treatment of wounds. (Wikipedia) (All images taken from the National Library of Medicine. Those published below have been cleaned and doctored a little .) Other illustrations from Dix livres de la chirurgie: 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 form below and click the link you receive via email to confirm your subscription!

Roundhay Garden Scene (1888)

- September 27, 2012 in cinema, early film, Films, Films: 19th Century, Films: Clip, first movie, louis le prince, non-article, roundhay garden scene

Roundhay Garden Scene is an 1888 short film directed by inventor Louis Le Prince, considered to be the world’s first film ever made using a motion picture camera. According to Le Prince’s son, Adolphe, it was filmed at Oakwood Grange, the home of Joseph and Sarah Whitley, in Roundhay, Leeds, West Riding of Yorkshire, United Kingdom on October 14, 1888. It features Adolphe Le Prince, Sarah Whitley, Joseph Whitley and Harriet Hartley in the garden, walking around and laughing. It was recorded at 12 frames per second and runs for only 2.11 seconds. Le Prince later used his camera to shoot trams and the horse-drawn and pedestrian traffic on Leeds Bridge. These pictures were soon projected on a screen in Leeds, making it the first motion picture exhibition. After returning to France, in September 1890, Le Prince was preparing to go back to the UK to patent his new camera, followed by a trip to the US to promote it. Before his journey, he decided to return home and visit friends and family. Having done so, he left Bourges on 13 September to visit his brother in Dijon. He would then take the 16 September train to Paris, but when [...]

Spring Morning in the Han Palace (17th.c)

- September 26, 2012 in china, chinese art, han palace, Images, Images-17th, Images-Landscapes, Images-People, ming dynasty, non-article

(Image above is very long, scroll to the right within the image to see the whole thing) A 17th century copy of Spring Morning in the Han Palace, a famous handscroll by the 16th century Ming Dynasty artist Qiu Ying [Ch'iu Ying]. It depicts imperial life at its most idyllic. During the years of the Qing [Ch'ing] Dynasty, copies such of this of Qiu Ying’s painting were popular because they were considered an excellent guide to elegant behaviour. (Above image stitched together from images, below, on Wikimedia Commons donated by Walter Art Museum). 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 form below and click the link you receive via email to confirm your subscription!

An Alphabet of Celebrities (1899)

- September 24, 2012 in Alphabet, celebrities, celebrity, non-article, texts, Texts: 19th, Texts: Fiction, Texts: Miscellaneous, Texts: Picturebooks, Texts: Poetry

An Alphabet of Celebrities, by Oliver Herford; 1899; Small & Maynard, Boston. Intricately rhymed and beautifully illustrated alphabet book on the world of late 19th century celebrity. It ends up creating quite wonderfully bizarre a-historical scenarios by throwing names with the same beginning letter all in with each other – for the letter N: “N is for Napoleon, shrouded in gloom,/ With Nero, Narcissus, and Nerdau, to whom/ He’s explaining the manual of arms with a broom.” The book is housed at the Internet Archive, donated by The Library of Congress. 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 form below and click the link you receive via email to confirm your subscription!

Bach’s organ works played by Albert Schweitzer (1935)

- September 21, 2012 in albert schweitzer, Audio, Audio: 1930s, Audio: Classical, bach, baroque, non-article, organ



Albert Schweitzer was a German (writing in French also) theologian, organist, philosopher, physician, and medical missionary. As well as his important theological work (he depicted Jesus as literally believing the end of the world was coming in his own lifetime), he developed various theories on music, in particular the work of J.S. Bach. He explained figures and motifs in Bach’s Chorale Preludes as painter-like tonal and rhythmic imagery illustrating themes from the words of the hymns on which they were based. They were works of devotional contemplation in which the musical design corresponded to literary ideas, conceived visually. Schweitzer’s interpretative approach greatly influenced the modern understanding of Bach’s music. His pamphlet “The Art of Organ Building and Organ Playing in Germany and France” (1906) effectively launched the 20th century Orgelbewegung, which turned away from romantic extremes and rediscovered baroque principles. In addition to his contribution to music theory, Schweiter also made many seminal recordings of Bach’s organ recitals. In mid-December 1935 he began to record for Columbia Records on the organ of All Hallows, Barking-by-the-Tower, in London – the recordings above. He developed a particular technique for recording the performances of Bach’s music known as “The Schweitzer Technique” which involved a new positioning of microphones. (Wikipedia)

MP3 Download
Internet Archive Link

Note these recordings are in the public domain in the EU, but may not be in other jurisdictions (e.g. the US). Please check its status in your jurisdiction before re-using.










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Illustrated initials from a German fairytale book (1919)

- September 20, 2012 in fairytales, Images, Images-20th, Images-Engraving-Line, Images-Illustrations, initials, non-article

Illustrated initials from Deutsche Märchen seit Grimm (German Fairytales since Grimm), a German fairytale book from 1919.

(All images from an online copy of the book housed at the Internet Archive, donated by the University of Connecticut Libraries. Hat-tip to Pinterest user Michele Finnegan)















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Curiosities of Puritan nomenclature (1888)

- September 18, 2012 in names, naming, nomenclature, non-article, puritans, texts, Texts: 19th, Texts: Miscellaneous, Texts: Non-fiction


Curiosities of Puritan nomenclature, by Charles W. Bardsley; 1888; Chatto and Windus, London.

A fascinating look at some of the more bizarre names given to children during the 17th century in England. Among the names explored are “From-above”, “Free-gift” & “More-fruit” for unexpected additions to families; “Humiliation”, “Abstinence” & “Sorry-for-sin” to express those qualities considered to be virtues; and just the plain brilliant/weird/mean, such as, “Job-rakt-out-of-the-asshes” and “Dancell-Dallphebo-Marke-Antony-Dallery-Galleiy-Caesar”.

The book is housed at the Internet Archive, donated by the California Digital Library










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Tarzan of the Apes (1918)

- September 17, 2012 in Films, Films: 1910s, Films: Fantasy, Films: Silent, non-article, tarzan



The very first Tarzan film ever made, based on Edgar Rice Burroughs’ original novel Tarzan of the Apes of only 4 years earlier. The film is directed by Scott Sidney and stars Elmo Lincoln, Enid Markey, George B. French and Gordon Griffith. It is considered the most faithful to the novel of all the film adaptations, though only tells the first part of the novel, the remainder becoming the basis for the sequel, The Romance of Tarzan (also from 1918 but directed by Wilfred Lucas).

Download from Internet Archive

Note this film is in the public domain in the US, but may not be in other jurisdictions. Please check its status in your jurisdiction before re-using.










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The Hyginus Star Atlas (1482)

- September 12, 2012 in astrology, astronomy, hyginus, Images, Images-15th, Images-Engraving-Line, Images-Maps, maps, non-article, star atlas

Hyginus’ Poeticon Astronomicon is a star atlas and book of stories whose text is attributed to “Hyginus”, though the true authorship is disputed. During the Renaissance, the work was attributed to the Roman historian Gaius Julius Hyginus who lived during the 1st century BC, however, the fact that the book lists most of the constellations north of the ecliptic in the same order as Ptolemy’s Almagest (written in the 2nd century AD) has led many to believe that the text was created by a more recent Hyginus. The text describes 47 of the 48 Ptolemaic constellations, centering primarily on the Greek and Roman mythology surrounding the constellations, though there is some discussion of the relative positions of stars. The first known printing was in 1475, attributed to “Ferrara”, though it was not formally published until 1482, by Erhard Ratdolt in Venice, Italy. This edition carried the full title Clarissimi uiri Hyginii Poeticon astronomicon opus utilissimum. Ratdolt commissioned a series of woodcuts depicting the constellations to accompany Hyginus’ text. As with many other star atlases that would follow it, the positions of various stars are indicated overlaid on the image of each constellation.. however, the relative positions of the stars in the woodcuts bear little resemblance to the descriptions given by Hyginus in the text or the actual positions of the stars in the sky. As a result of the inaccuracy of the depicted star positions and the fact that the constellations are not shown with any context, the Poeticon astronomicon is not particularly useful as a guide to the night sky. The illustrations commissioned by Ratdolt did, however, serve as a template for future sky atlas renderings of the constellation figures. (Wikipedia)

(All images taken from The United States Naval Observatory’s Naval Oceanography Portal).









































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The Hyginus Star Atlas (1482)

- September 12, 2012 in astrology, astronomy, hyginus, Images, Images-15th, Images-Engraving-Line, Images-Maps, maps, non-article, star atlas

Hyginus’ Poeticon Astronomicon is a star atlas and book of stories whose text is attributed to “Hyginus”, though the true authorship is disputed. During the Renaissance, the work was attributed to the Roman historian Gaius Julius Hyginus who lived during the 1st century BC, however, the fact that the book lists most of the constellations north of the ecliptic in the same order as Ptolemy’s Almagest (written in the 2nd century AD) has led many to believe that the text was created by a more recent Hyginus. The text describes 47 of the 48 Ptolemaic constellations, centering primarily on the Greek and Roman mythology surrounding the constellations, though there is some discussion of the relative positions of stars. The first known printing was in 1475, attributed to “Ferrara”, though it was not formally published until 1482, by Erhard Ratdolt in Venice, Italy. This edition carried the full title Clarissimi uiri Hyginii Poeticon astronomicon opus utilissimum. Ratdolt commissioned a series of woodcuts depicting the constellations to accompany Hyginus’ text. As with many other star atlases that would follow it, the positions of various stars are indicated overlaid on the image of each constellation.. however, the relative positions of the stars in the woodcuts bear little resemblance to the descriptions given by Hyginus in the text or the actual positions of the stars in the sky. As a result of the inaccuracy of the depicted star positions and the fact that the constellations are not shown with any context, the Poeticon astronomicon is not particularly useful as a guide to the night sky. The illustrations commissioned by Ratdolt did, however, serve as a template for future sky atlas renderings of the constellation figures. (Wikipedia)

(All images taken from The United States Naval Observatory’s Naval Oceanography Portal).









































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