Archive for December 2003
Via evenings on the lake.
“Dionisio Minaggio, gardener to His Excellency the Governor of Milan was the creator, and he made [this] in the year 1618.” What he had made was a book of designs of birds and human figures, each picture composed entirely of birds’ feathers. Now in the collection of the Blacker-Wood Library of Biology at McGill University in Montreal, nothing is known of the history of the so-called Feather Book between the time of its creation and its turning up in a second-hand book sale in London in 1920.
From the pages of that redoubtable organ, the Otago Witness, lately arrived at the Ramage residence under the auspices of Papers Past, a resource of the National Library of New Zealand that showcases selected 19th century New Zealand newspapers and periodicals. The site currently contains digital images of over 600,000 pages from 30 publications.
The good denizens of Otago must have been no less than agog to learn, on June 6th, 1895, of “Some Remarkable Tastes and Customs” of certain European rulers:
Their minds still reeling from this information, they might have gone on to be beguiled by the thought that
suitably astounded by the discovery that
frankly astonished to learn that
and, no doubt, bewildered by the revelation that
Surely not corsets like these??
Being stout fellows, however, rather similar to Lord Macfarlane here:
they would have smartly pulled themselves together. Well, perhaps a tot of
just to be on the safe side. Wouldn’t do to get like those fellows in Wellington, eh?
(This last from an advertisement for the Frikart Medical Alliance, Wellington, from the roughly contemporary pages of the Star (Christchurch).
From Kodomo no kuni: Artists and Children’s Books in 1920s Japan, an exhibition at the International Library of Children’s Literature, part of the library of the National Diet, Japan’s national assembly.
Kodomo no kuni, (‘Children’s Land’), was an extremely forward-looking magazine, at least in the first decade after it was founded in 1922. Its edititorial policy, to quote the introduction to this fascinating exhibition, was “to encourage the free and unrestrained imagination of children by way of art and present fine works of decorative art that would foster the wholesome development of their best human qualities…” To that end, it featured work by many outstanding artists. Here are some examples:
Origami, by Takei Takeo, March 1927.
Goldfish at a Night Stall, by Hatsuyama Shigeru, July 1931.
Winter, by Koga Harue, January 1932.
The Insects’ Journey, by Kawakami Shiro, October 1927.
English holly, Ilex aquifolium, from ‘Traité des arbres forestiers: ou histoire et description des arbres indigènes ou naturalisés…..’ by Jean-Henri Jaume de Saint-Hilaire, Paris, 1824.
English ivy, Hedera helix, from ‘Herbarium Blackwellianum emendatum et auctum…’, by Elizabeth Blackwell, Nuremberg, 1750-1773.
Images © 1995-2003, the Missouri Botanical Garden Library Rare Book Collection, where 2,050 botanical illustrations are online, and whither I was sent by Kosmonautentraum.
A very happy Christmas to all my friends, old and new.
Joseph Cornell, born Christmas Eve, 1903:
Like Carlos at Mysterium, I too would commend to all and sundry Thames & Hudson’s magnificent new book ‘Joseph Cornell: Shadowplay Eterniday’, with its accompanying DVD-ROM, which offers you the oportunity to examine Cornell’s work, and, fascinatingly, his source material, in detail. It’s like you’re looking over his shoulder. Cognitive Applications, the company that put it together, should get all the awards going (and they’ve been nominated for a BAFTA) for this kind of thing. I can’t think of how interactive media about an artist’s work could be better done.
“At the very heart of the Grand Hotel Penny Arcade, encased in blue glass and pale as porcelain, floats a sleeping princess, gracefully coiling and uncoiling, clothed only in her own purity, her eyes open but unseeing.”
Robert Coover, ‘The Grand Hotels (of Joseph Cornell)’, Burning Deck, 2002.
Some sound advice, from Las Vegas of all places, courtesy of Houseplant Picture Studio:
They certainly have their own bag, but the nice thing is, they let you rummage around in it. Not just knitwear and houseplants, then, in case I didn’t make that plain. Three pages of peerless Americana, documenting a visit to Las Vegas, for starters.