Friday, 29 April 2016

Sylised Pine-Tree (1910)


Quantification: A History of the Meaning of Measurement in the Natural and Social Sciences (1961)

Quantification: A History of the Meaning of Measurement in the Natural and Social Sciences.
Edited by Harry Woolf.

Some Aspects of Quantification in Science. By S. S. Wilks

The subject of quantification in science is an enormous one with many aspects. The foundation of quantification is measurement, and any discussion of the nature of quantification must necessarily begin with a discussion of the nature of measurement. In this paper I shall not try to do more than to direct your attention to some of the basic concepts and requirements involved in measurement and quantification as we see them today, without attempting to trace the origin and development of these concepts historically.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

The boke of measuryng of landeas well of woodland as plowland, & pasture in the feelde: & to compt the true nombre of acres of the same. Newly corrected, & compiled by Sir Richarde de Benese. (1537)

From an Early English treatise on land surveying: The boke of measuryng of landeas well of woodland as plowland, & pasture in the feelde: & to compt the true nombre of acres of the same. Newly corrected, & compiled by Sir Richarde de Benese. 

 Image from HERE

For more on area and map measurement see HERE.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

More on Nomograms

More HERE on the lost art of Nomograms. Below - from the Pynomo website - a Python program for creating PDF nomograms. The body surface area (BSA) of the human body.

Nomographie, Les Calculs Usuels Effectues au Moyen Des Abaques (1891)

Before 1891, no book had been published on the technique of geometric computation. In 1891, Maurice d'Ocagne published  Nomographie, Les Calculs Usuels Effectues au Moyen Des Abaques. More on d'Ocagne HERE.

Below is Plate I from the book - a relatively simple nomogram that relates the weight of water vapour that air can hold at different temperatures. 

 The image is form a digitised copy of the book HERE.

Monday, 25 April 2016

Classification of Pictures (work in progress)

This is work in progress. The figure is based on Figure 3 Classification of Pictures from HERE.
The new elements are added in blue text.

Saturday, 23 April 2016

The Counting Eye

Here are a few pages from the latest chapter I am writing for Intense Seeing called The Counting Eye.

Wednesday, 20 April 2016

Yellowstone National Park

From the amazing collection of Pictorial Maps at the David Rumsey Map collection HERE.

Looking from the north across Yellowstone National Park toward Grand Teton in the south, panoramist Heinrich Berann depicts scenic park features and the 28- by 48- mile caldera, or basin, created by a massive volcanic eruption 600,000 years ago.


Saturday, 16 April 2016

Ancient Mexican Wooden shield with Turquois Mosaic.

Image from Turquois Mosaic art in ancient Mexico by Marshall H. Saville (1922). Full volume HERE.

Friday, 15 April 2016

The Art of Conjuring Made Easy; an entertaining selection of diverting tricks, deceptions, & experiments in sleight of hand and legerdemain

Old and Rare Scottish Tartans (1893)

A selection of examples from Old and Rare Scottish Tartans  by Donald William Stewart (volume HERE).

Rowallan Castle Ayrshire (1887)

A water colour of Rowallan Castle, Ayrshire, painted in 1887 by the Scottish architect Alexander Nisbet Paterson (1862-1947). More on Paterson's career HERE. The image is from HERE.

Thursday, 14 April 2016

Dundrum Bay (1900)

Dundrum Bay By Edward Montgomery O'Rorke Dickey (1894-1977) from HERE.


A New Voyage and Description of the Isthmus of America. Lionel Wafer (1699)

Lionel Wafer (1640-1705) was a Welsh surgeon, explorer and sailor.

In 1680 he began an adventure that he latterly published in this volume.

From Wikipedia:

A ship's surgeon, Wafer made several voyages to the South Seas and visited Maritime Southeast Asia in 1676. The following year he settled in Jamaica to practise his profession. In 1679 two noted buccaneers named Capt John Cook and Linen convinced him to become a surgeon for their fleet.

In 1680, Wafer met William Dampier at Cartagena and joined in a privateering venture under the leadership of Capt Bartholomew Sharp.

After a quarrel during the overland journey, Wafer was marooned with four others in the Isthmus of Darien in Panama, where he stayed with the Cuna Indians. He gathered information about their culture, including their shamanism and a short vocabulary of their language. He studied the natural history of the isthmus. The following year, Wafer left the Indians promising to return and marry the chief's sister and bring back dogs from England. He fooled the buccaneers at first as he was dressed as an Indian, wearing body-paint and ornamented with a nose-ring. It took them some time to recognise him.

Wafer reunited with Dampier, and after privateering with him on the Spanish Main until 1688, he settled in Philadelphia.

By 1690 Wafer was back in England and in 1695 he published A New Voyage and Description of the Isthmus of America, which described his adventures. It was translated into French (1706), German (1759), and Swedish (1789).

Wafer includes a beautiful engraved map in the book, shown below. The scale bars are marked in Italian Miles.  

One of the interesting aspects of the book is Wafer's description of the Cardinal numbers and counting system used by the indigenous Cuna peoples of the Isthmus. Wafer observes that their counting system is similar in style to the Gaelic used in Ireland and the highlands of Scotland.

The French translation of Wafer's travelogue is also available HERE, which includes the map below.


Wednesday, 13 April 2016

The Art of Insight in Science and Engineering by Sanjoy Mahajan (2014)

The latest from Sanjoy Mahajan. Free to download HERE.


Tuesday, 12 April 2016

Church of St Mary and St David, Kilpeck (1140)

From the Memorials of old Herefordshire by Compton Reade. The carvings around the South door of Kilpeck Church.


Saturday, 9 April 2016

Artistic Anatomy of Animals (1905)

Quain's Elements of Anatomy (1876)

A diagram of a transverse oblique section of the pelvis and hip-joint, cutting the first sacral vertebra and the symphysis pubis in their middle, from a male subject of about nineteen years of age. From HERE.

Note the distinctive trabecula structure of the interior of the head of the femur.

A Course of Practical Histology (1877)

A Course of Practical Histology (1877), by the father of English physiology Sir Edward Albert Sharpey-Schafer FRS (1850-1935). 


A Story Sharp as a Knife

A description and drawing of a cedarwood Haida totem pole, with an interpretation of the symbolism by the anthropologist John Swanton.  It was the patient and dedicated work of Swanton with Haida storytellers that has allowed Robert Bringhurst to create his trilogy on Haida myth: A Story as Sharp as a Knife : The Classical Haida Mythtellers and Their World  (review HERE).  This artefact is now in McCord Museum.

Friday, 8 April 2016

Yenshu Ryu Ikebana hiak bin no zu (1897)

Images from a volume on flower arrangement in the Enshu style.

A statement of the condition and circumstances of the Cathedral Church of Hereford (1842)


Certain old Chinese notes or Chinese paper money (1915)

From HERE.

Detail Pictures of Japanese Money (1879)

HERE is an incredible volume of images of Japanese Money from 1879.

Studies in the decorative art of Japan (1910)

 HERE by Sir Francis Taylor Piggott (1852-1925)

Jacopo Sannazaro Collected Works (1570)

The frontispiece of the collected works (Opera Omnia) of Jacopo Sannazaro (1458-1530).
The book was published by the Venetian publisher Aldus Manutius.
A woodcut of the author is on the left and the printers mark for Aldus is on the right.
The book was printed in both Italic and Roman type faces and is a reprint of the 1535 edition.

Leçons de perspective positive (1576)

The Burying of the Mass (1845)

Rede me and be nott wrothe
For I saye no thynge but trothe. 
I will ascende makynge my state so hye
That my pompous honoure shall never dye.
O Caytyfe when thou thynkest least of all
With confusion thou shalt have a fall 

A facsimile reprint in black letter of a satire in verse directed against the priesthood and monastic orders, especially Cardinal Wolsey. Sometimes entitled "The Burying of the mass."

Title in red and black, with satirical cut of Wolsey's arms. Edition of 100 copies.


Thursday, 7 April 2016

Simon Rodd. The Fisherman (1921)

A woodcut by Paul Nash. To illustrate an essay on Simon Rodd the fisherman from HERE.

Guggenheim Museum 1960s

Japanese Temple Design manual (1200?)

A wonderful book of Japanese temple design rules from HERE.

Wednesday, 6 April 2016

Traitté des siéges et de l'attaque des places (1707)

A wonderful hand drawn illustration of miner's tools (Outils des Mineurs) from a hand written document on military technology written by Sébastien Le Prestre de Vauban (1633-1707) in 1700 or 1707. The document is addressed to Monseigneur Le Duc de Bourgogne (HERE).

Vauban was the architect of the UNESCO world heritage fortified town of Neuf Brisach.

The marine decapod Crustacea of California (1921)

The marine decapod Crustacea of California, with special reference to the decapod Crustacea collected by the United States Bureau of Fisheries steamer "Albatross" in connection with the biological survey of San Francisco bay during the years 1912-1913. By Waldo Schmitt (HERE). Below a diagram of a generic shrimp like decapod (where James Franklin's definition of a diagram is useful: "a picture, in which one is intended to perform inference about the thing pictured")



Tuesday, 5 April 2016

Heptacarpus pictus (Brandt 1851)

When describing the transparent shrimp Heptacarpus pictus Ed Ricketts says that, ‘there is such a fairylike beauty to this ephemeral creature that the inexperienced observer will be certain that he is seeing a rare form’ and goes on to explain that:  . . .once captured, the living specimen should be confined in a glass vial not much larger than itself and examined with a hand lens. The beating heart and all the other internal organs can be seen very plainly through the transparent body.

Voyages de Gulliver dans des contrées lointaines (1856)

In 1726 at the Middle Temple Gate in Fleet Street, the publisher Benjamin Motte published a volume of travel memoirs. The author was unknown, but the title suggested an autobiography; Travels into Several Remote Nations of the World, in Four Parts. By Lemuel Gulliver, First a Surgeon, and then a Captain of several Ships. Motte guessed that the book would become popular so he arranged to have it printed by five printing houses. He wasn't disappointed. It was immediately popular and has never been out of print since.

The real author of the volume was the Irish writer Jonathan Swift (1667-1745).  Although Swift was a satrist who responded to what he saw as ludicrous in the society he saw around him, in Lemuel Gulliver he created a hero who transcended the local issues of 18th century London. 

In section III of Gulliver's Travels our hero Lemuel Gulliver visits the flying island of Laputa and then visits the Grand Academy of Lagado. This academy was a thinly veiled parody of the Royal Society of London. In the academy a number of ridiculous projects are being carried out. For example, a project to extract Sun-Beams out of Cucumbers

Whilst in the Academy, Gulliver meets with a Professor of speculative learning, who is engaged in a number of literary projects. In one of these projects the Professor has a team of students turning cranks on a complicated mechanical frame that generates random strings of words. When the students find `three or four words together that might make part of a sentence', they read them out and they are recorded by a team of scribes. The small phrases created by this mechanism are being collected into a Folio that the Professor believes will, `give the world a compleat Body of all Arts and Sciences'. 

Below is the writing machine of Lagado, illustrated by J.J. Grandville (1803-1847) for a French translation of Gullivers Travels from 1856 (HERE). 

Monday, 4 April 2016

Flora of Japan: in English: combined, much revised and extended translation (1965)

An illustration of Uncaria rhynchophylla from HERE.

Drawing of fish observed in the Hawaiian Islands (1838)

From the fascinating Field Book Project over at the Smithsonian (HERE), this beautiful field sketch of four fish drawn by John Richard, observed or collected from the Hawaiian Islands during the United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842.

Thursday, 31 March 2016

On Japanese Aesthetics (2007)

A short essay HERE : On Japanese Aesthetics by Aisaku Suzuki (... three essential aspects of Japanese aesthetics: economy in using space, asymmetry and sensual perception).  And below from his site an image of one of his vases.

Role of Katachi in Development of Abstract Design (2000)

From a paper on the Role of Katachi in Development of Abstract Design (HERE)

PATAKI TAMÁS: Turtle shield tiling system (1995). The various large repeating units seem Japanese like in the sense, that in Japan units of structural combinations (i.e. writing) are larger then those in Western Eurasia.


Monday, 28 March 2016

The Art of the Transfer Lithograph

Johann Alois Senefelder (1771 – 1834) invented lithography in 1796 (his description of how he invented the technique is HERE).  In this printing technique a polished stone is used as the basis for creating an image. The artist applies a water repelling medium on the stone where they want the ink to be in the final image. 

An associated technique is Transfer Lithography. In this technique the artist uses a specially treated paper to create the original image, which is then transferred onto the surface of a prepared lithographic stone and printing begins. 

Joseph Pennell (1857-1926) was one of the most prolific producers of lithographs using the transfer lithograph process (see HERE). Below is an image from Pennell's book of images of the Panama Canal made in 1912 from HERE.    

Sunday, 27 March 2016

By their very nature all biological structures are non-random.

From a Volume  called SCIENCE ON FORM: 3D Dynamic Morphometry for Bridge between Structure and Function, which was the edited form of the Proceedings of the Second International Symposium for Science on Form, held in 1988 at the University of Tsukuba in Japan.

In a paper called Morphometry of Non-Random Structures Related to Oxygen Flow in the Mammalian Respiratory System, the following description of the Dilemma of Morphometry by Prof Ewald R. Weibel:
By their very nature all biological structures are non-random. They come about by orderly morphogenetic processes which place the elements into precise relationships. A high degree of spatial order is, in fact, required for the execution of most bodily functions. The examples are rare where one could say that randomness is the governing principle of biological structure.

On the other hand, the most powerful methods for obtaining morphometric information, namely those of stereology, require stochastic conditions - that is random interactions between the measuring probes and the structures under study - because they are based on principles of geometric probability.

Weibel then goes on to describe some methods that are applicable to lung, a highly non-random tissue.

Cast of a human bronchial tree from Tompsett, D.H. (1952). A new Method for the Preparation of Bronchopulmonary Casts. Thorax. 7, 78. 

Lambert's Pictorial Anatomy (1851)

By Thomas Scott Lambert (1819-1897). Based on the works of Jean Marc Bourgery (1797-1849).
Book HERE.


Etchings with a Camera Lucida 1828

Captain Basil Hall (1788 – 1844) was a British naval officer, explorer and Fellow of the Royal Society. In this book he captures with a Camera Lucida a number of scenes from his extensive wanderings across North America.

Below is his image of Niagara Falls. More HERE.



Saturday, 26 March 2016

Graphic art of Czechoslovakia (1922)

HERE is a collection of Czech graphic art from 1922. The image is by František Kobliha (1877-1962), a Czech illustrator and wood-engraver. He was born into a family of small shopkeepers and was educated in Prague at the school of applied arts and Academy of Fine Arts. After university he adopted printmaking, in particular wood engraving, so he could work on black and white tonal variations. More on him HERE.


Annales de flore et de pomone (1839)

From the 1839 issue of the Annales de Flore et de Pomone. The image is of  Poire Bonne Louise d'Avranches. From HERE.

Butterflies collected in the Shire Valley, East Africa (1861)

From Butterflies collected in the Shire Valley, East Africa by Horace Waller (1861) 


Prints created by pressing or scraping the scales from butterfly wings onto slips of paper, with outlines and some hand-coloring added later. The paper slips are mounted on leaves of brown paper compiled into an album. It appears that two mounted prints may have been removed from one of the leaves, which show traces of adhesive.

Each print is identified by the scientific name of its species handwritten in ink. Captions may include information on the butterfly's appearance as a caterpillar, its behavior, usual habitat, location, color, or scarcity.

The Cullman Library has a list of the species name for each print on file.

The album was previously thought to have have been compiled by Sir John Kirk, as described in the original Russell E. Train collection catalog entry. The album may have been in Kirk's possession at some point.

The album has been digitized as part of the Smithsonian Field Book Project.

English anti-slavery activist and Anglican missionary for the Universities' Mission to Central Africa, which had a station established in the Shire Highlands where Waller was probably based between 1861 and 1862.

Book available HERE.

The image below is a Papilio demoleus.

Solomons Seal (Polygonatum biflorum)

HERE is a portfolio of water colour sketches of plants by Helen Sharp.

 Background information from HERE:

Eighteen albums of water-color sketches by Helen Sharp of flowering plants and shrubs common to the United States, especially New England, as well as to Bermuda and parts of Europe, dated between June 1888 and Sept. 1910. Sketches in water-color and ink on paper (26 x 18 cm. or smaller) include botanical captions in Latin, along with Sharp's notes on the common name and physical characteristics of each plant, and location and date of drawing. There is also a table of contents at the front of each sketchbook. The first 16 albums contain sketches of plants common in New England, in towns of Massachusetts such as Nantucket, Taunton, Boston, No. Andover, Marblehead, Hingham, Gloucester; Maine (York, Sorrento); New Hampshire (Surrey), and Connecticut. Volume 17 contains sketches of plants made by the artist while traveling in Switzerland, Italy, England, and France, while v. 18 contains sketches of tropical fruits and flowers of Bermuda, completed during Sharp's visits of 1892, 1893, and 1903.

Below is a Solomons Seal (Polygonatum biflorum) painted by Sharp in Taunton Massachusetts, September 21st 1899 .

Five Decades in Print - Ed Colker (1998)

This volume is a retrospective of the work of artist Ed Colker (b. 1927).  The book was designed by Colker to accompany an exhibition organized by the Museum of Art, University of Arizona in 1998 (reviewed by the NY Times HERE).

Ed Colker is a printmaker, poet and academic who has worked in Chicago, Philadelphia, and New York. He now lives in Westchester County New York state. In 1960, Colker founded a not-for-profit fine art press to publish fine art limited edition books in response to poetry and with poets (more HERE and HERE).

From his Biography at the Archives of American Art:

After high school, Colker was awarded a scholarship and began his art education at the Pennsylvania Museum School of Industrial Arts. He interrupted his studies to serve in the U.S. Army (1944-1946). He graduated in 1949, by which time the school had become the Philadelphia Museum School of Art; today it is the University of the Arts. He taught art in the Philadelphia area before moving to New York City in 1956. Later, Colker earned degrees from New York University (B.S. Ed, 1964; M.A., 1985).

Colker taught art and design courses at the University of Pennsylvania, University of Illinois at Chicago Circle, Cornell University, Pratt Institute, and Philadelphia College of Art. By the 1980s, he had become an administrator as well as a professor. Throughout his academic career, Colker published and lectured widely, served as a visiting artist, acted as a consultant, and participated in professional organizations. He occasionally organized exhibitions and served on exhibition juries.

Since 1960, under the imprints Editions du Grenier, Haybarn Editions, and Haybarn Press, Colker has published limited edition books, portfolios, broadsides, individual pages, and folders of poetry. Most are accompanied by Colker's etchings and lithographs inspired by the texts. Haybarn Press, under the Ambor Edition imprint, also produced four portfolios with text and drawings by Elaine Galen, 1996-2008. From its inception, the work of Haybarn Press has been featured in many exhibitions of book arts. Colker also participated in group shows throughout the United States and enjoyed solo exhibitions of his paintings and prints. Haybarn Press productions and Colker?s prints and paintings are in the permanent collections of Brown University, Cornell University, Harvard University, Library of Congress, Museum of Modern Art, New York Public Library, University of Arizona Museum of Art, and others.

Now retired from university administration and teaching, Colker continues to operate Haybarn Press and occasionally serves as an exhibition juror and visiting artist.

The image below is an offset lithograph from 1997 called Eight Ideas.

The book is HERE. It was kindly made available by the artist underCC BY-NC-ND 3.0 terms.


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