Saturday, 26 November 2016

Master Iitsu’s Chicken-Rib Picture Book (1823)

An abalone diver by Hokusai, from a great piece in the New York Review of books HERE on the Manga of Hokusai.
Image Museum of Fine Arts, Boston.

Wednesday, 23 November 2016

Aranei, or a natural history of spiders (1793)

From HERE.

A natural history of birds: Illustrated with a hundred and one copper plates, curiously engraven from the life (1731)

A superb image of a common Buzzard by Eleazer Albin (1690-1742). From the first of three volumes of an illustrated catalogue of common birds. Published and engraved by Eleazar Albin and hand coloured entirely by Albin and his daughter Elizabeth. There were only 89 published.  The Title Page reads, "Published by the Author Eleazar Albin, and carefully colour'd by his Daughter and Self, from the Originals, drawn from the live Birds."  From HERE.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Book Pages

All Copyright M.G. Reed 2016

Monday, 21 November 2016

Sunday, 20 November 2016

The Chinese Fringetail Telescope Goldfish (1908)

 From HERE.

Baedeker's Switzerland and the adjacent portions of Italy, Savoy and Tyrol (1899)

A city map of Bern, from HERE.

Greensward (1858)

A superb piece HERE on the work of Frederick Law Olmstead, designer of New York Central Park, amongst others.

Below, a schematic of Olmstead's plan from his Greensward proposal with Calvert Vaux 1868 - a re-print of the plans from 1858 (HERE).

Saturday, 19 November 2016

A briefe and true report of the new found land of Virginia (1590)

HERE, by Thomas Harriot. A briefe and true report of the new found land of Virginia, : of the commodities and of the nature and manners of the naturall inhabitants. Discouered by the English colony there seated by Sir Richard Greinuile knight in the yeere 1585. Which remained vnder the gouernment of twelue monethes, at the speciall charge and direction of the honourable Sir Walter Raleigh knight lord warden of the stanneries who therein hath beene fauoured and authorised by her maiestie and her letters patents:

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Ladies Boating (1838)

By Utagawa Kuniyoshi. (HERE)

Coming Down the Wye (1942)

A chapter heading engraving from Coming Down the Wye by the Irish engraver and writer Robert Gibbings (1889-1958).

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

The Human Advantage: A New Understanding of How Our Brain Became Remarkable (2016)

A great review HERE of The Human Advantage: A New Understanding of How Our Brain Became Remarkable by  by Suzana Herculano-Houzel. 

The answer is that you need a counting method that can estimate up to 86 billion individual cells with high accuracy and precision. Below is the decision tree for choosing between the isotropic fractionator method used by by Suzana Herculano-Houzel and her colleaugues and unbiased stereology (from HERE).


Sunday, 13 November 2016

Falcon (c. 1814)

A falcon from Hokusai shashin gafu (The Picture Book of Realistic Paintings of Hokusa).c 1814. Image from HERE.


Image by Edward Tufte (HERE).

Friday, 4 November 2016

Men Fishing (1881)

Men Fishing by Utagawa Kuniyoshi (1798 - 1861) from HERE.

Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Olivetti Portable Typewriter (1949)

An Olivetti portable typewriter (1949) from the Museum of Modern art Design collection; selected objects 1970 HERE.

Tuesday, 1 November 2016

The Curse of Dimensionality (1968)

Posted by Edward Tufte - The Curse of Dimensionality Saul Steinburg 1968 (HERE)

Hopton Wood Stone

Hopton-Wood stone is a very fine grained limestone found near Middleton-by-Wirksworth in Derbyshire. It is suitable for high quality architectural work and for carving. Some of the UK's most iconic buildings are made or cladded with it: the Bank of England, Houses of Parliament and Westminster Abbey. The Hopton-Wood Stone Firms Ltd commissioned a book about Hopton Wood stone in 1947 that is HERE.

Above, the Hopton Wood quarry.

Sunday, 30 October 2016

Hamrun (1922)

Hamrun by the Irish enraver Robert Gibbings (1889-1958).

The Dancing Deaths (1493)

 A facsimile of The Dancing Deaths from Schedels Liber Chronicarum Nuremberg 1493 from HERE.

Haystacks (1949).

More by Thomas W. Nason - this engraving is Haystacks (1949), from the collection of Nason's work atthe Smithsonian American Art Museum  (HERE).

Trees in Snow / The Wood-Pile (1961)

Thomas W. Nason (1889-1971) was an American engraver. This image by him is Trees in Snow, -- used in 1961 as the cover of Robert Frost’s The Wood-Pile, printed by The Spiral Press. Image from HERE. A complete catalogue of Nason's prints HERE.

Friday, 28 October 2016

Pomologia Britannica (1841)


Pomologia Britannica : or, Figures and descriptions of the most important varieties of fruit cultivated in Great Britain by John Lindley HERE.

Thursday, 27 October 2016

Wilderness: A Journal of Quiet Adventure in Alaska (1920)

In 1918, Rockwell Kent (1882 - 1971) and his son, Rockwell Kent III, spent six months on Fox Island in Alaska's wilderness. His journal entries and sketches were used to create this book. HERE.


Tuesday, 25 October 2016

An Essay on the Forgotten Art of the Punchcutter (1965)

By R Hunter Middleton. An Essay on the Forgotten Art of the Punchcutter. HERE

The Permanence of Japanese Pigments (1928)

Below an extract from a biographical sketch of Chiura Obata (1885-1975), a well known Japanese-American artist and art teacher, from California Art Research  Volume 20 Part 2 (1936), edited by Gene Hailey. (HERE)

Gene Hailey art critic, in an interview with Obata, learned from him many secrets of the methods employed to make Japanese paintings on silk. Miss Hailey writes in the Argus of May 1928, under the title, The Permanence of Japanese Pigments:

Peace and permanence are spiritual ingredients of the Oriental traditions. The sense of permanence is always subject to disaster but the good sense of the artist who grinds the plants and pigments used in the Orient is always founded upon the calm facts of some survival of works of art made in centuries past. The formula for paint pigments and mixtures is as settled as the formula reciting reactions to nature in either picture or poem. The Japanese and Chinese, and many Asiatic and Indian artists, are sure scientists in the matter of chemical make-up of paints and mediums.

Japanese white of the utmost permanence is made from oyster shells. The thickest shells are selected and buried for about one year, then taken out and water poured over them in a steady stream for another year, to whiten them even more. Then the nicest shells are ground and sifted one hundred times through trays of screening. The last and finest powder is never discolored or changed by sunlight directly upon it. Each artist mixes his own powder in a cup, molds it to the consistency of dough and pounds it one hundred times, then fills the cup with water and lets it boil one. minute to purify and rid it of certain chemicals. Each artist gauges the thickness of his paint to the type of stroke he plans to use, or habitually uses, and mixes his paint accordingly. The white paint is beautifully transparent when mixed with other paints.

Blue is ground into twenty different shades equally permanent, all of them from semi-precious jewels,such as lapis lazuli, turquoise and others.

Green is found in thirty shades, made from the peacock stone, a blue green which is laboriously separated into blue or green by the water process. Agate, coral and amber are all used in Japanese painting powder. White-gold, green- gold, platinum and silver powder are also used in pictorial decorations and screen designs.

Yellow is also made from natural color found in stones. Red, in pure Vermillion shade is quick-silver burned. Orange-vermillion is lead treated chemically. Pink is the hardest color to make permanent. It is done, however, by a secret process of steaming the stems of certain high-altitude flowers found on Fujiyama. Prussian blue, a blackish blue, is the leaves of a vegetable.

Black is a smoke from an oil, slowly burned by a secret process. This process was perfected about twenty-five years ago by Baisen Suzuki, a wealthy Japanese recluse who gave forty-five years of his life to research. He believed that he could find a better black than the Chinese black of those times. His wife deserted him and he devoted the rest of his days to trials and tests with black pigments. He lived in a distant place in the mountains and did not return to the city until he had achieved his end — a permanent and blacker black.
The article then gives this interesting story of the silk and brushes as used by Japanese artists:
The silk used for Japanese paintings is selected from the first spring threads of the best silk-worms. These threads are expertly woven by hand with five shuttles. The result is a very expensive surface to paint upon. The silk for.painting about eight feet by five costs today more than $100. The silk is stretched with rice paste which the artist mixes himself. Then the silk is washed with warm water over the whole surface with a big Japanese brush, which is very thin and flat. The handle is bamboo and the hairs are a mixture of rabbit and fox. The sturdy winter hairs are always chosen. The whole family of furry animals is liable to contribution to Japanese brushes. Deer, bear, rabbit, badger fox and cat are used in the brushes for different characters of stroke.

Sunday, 23 October 2016

Macaroni Wheats (1901)

Macaroni wheat (also Durum or Pasta wheat) Triticum durum is a very widely cultivated hard wheat. It was developed in the near east about 7000BC by artificial selection of the domesticated emmer wheat strains that were grown there. More HERE.

I manoscritti di Leonardo da Vinci della Reale biblioteca di Windsor: Dell'anatomia, fogli B (1901)

See, Think, Design, Produce (2014)

A full transcript of a superb talk by Jonathan Corum: See, Think, Design, Produce. HERE.

An image of the Foucault Pendulum in the Chemistry Department at the University of Liverpool. Image Copyright M.G. Reed 2016.

Monday, 17 October 2016

Old Ash Tree (2016)

Copyright M.G. Reed 2016

Friday, 7 October 2016

Anatomical Tables of the Human Body (1756)

A Camera Obscura being used to draw an upside down torso. From the frontispiece to the seventh edition of Anatomical Tables of the Human Body by William Cheselden (1688-1752). This is from the seventh edition, published by Hitch & Dodsley in London in 1756. The copper plates in this edition were engraved by Gerard Vandergucht (1696-1776). From HERE.

Anatomical Tables of the Human Body (1796)

From Anatomical Tables of the Human Body by William Cheselden (1688-1752), published in Boston 1796. The original edition of this influential text on anatomy was published in 1713. Scanned copy HERE.

Wednesday, 28 September 2016

Sunset over Liverpool (2016)

Image Copyright M.G. Reed

Sunday, 4 September 2016

Anatomy of the Horse (1766)

Images from HERE.

Thursday, 1 September 2016

Freshly turned Hay (2016)

Copyright M.G. Reed 2016

Tuesday, 23 August 2016

An exhaustive reference to problems seen in real-world data along with suggestions on how to resolve them (2016)

An exceptional and serious resource HERE. By the look of this it is written for (data) journalists, but full of insights for anyone who makes a living from the objective analysis and presentation of data. By Chris Zarate of Quartz (HERE).

Thursday, 18 August 2016

Is anything we eat associated with Cancer?

A superb piece HERE

Tuesday, 16 August 2016

A Short History of the Printed Word (1998)

Above - a portion of the Decameron published by the Ashendene Press in 1920 - the image is from HERE. The type is the Ashendene Subiaco which was based on the type face created by Sweynheym and Pannartz at Subiaco, Italy, in 1465. The type is neither roman nor italic, but an earlier form of Carolingian script that predates the splitting of script into roman and italic.

Below - from A Short History of the Printed Word by Warren Chappell & Robert Bringhurst:
It is possible that printed books as repositories of human experience and creativity may in time be overshadowed or even replaced by digital replicas.  Once made, such replicas are very quickly copied and easily stored in a small space—but they cannot be read without a prosthesis.  They are invisible and useless without the intervention of an exceedingly complex, electrically powered machine.  Such a scheme may look good to accountants and to marketers.  But for authors and for readers, there can be no substitute for a well-designed, well-printed, well-bound book that one can see and feel as well as read.  A tangible, stable, well-made page is just as desirable, and just as useful, now as it was in the fifteenth century.

Monday, 15 August 2016

Strung Out (2016)

A superb collection of photographs of cormorants by the Japanese artist Yoshinori Mizutani HERE.

Image copyright Yoshinori Mizutani/IMA Gallery

Saturday, 13 August 2016

The Cubies' ABC (1913)

Published in 1913, The Cubies' ABC was a satirical take on Cubist art created by Mary Mills Lyall and her husband Earl Harvey Lyall. For D, the fun is poked at Marchel Duchamp's Nude Descending a Staircase No. 2 which had been painted the previous year. 

More on the book and a recent reprint HERE.

Friday, 12 August 2016

To the vector belong the spoils

From the Norton Juster illustrated book The Dot and the Line: A Romance in Lower Mathematics from 1963. More on the book HERE.

The author went on to make an Oscar winning short cartoon from the book that is very entertaining and is HERE.

By Labour and Constancy - Christophe Plantin (1580)

The Renaissance scholar and printer Christophe Plantin adopted a pair of compasses as his printer's mark. This mark  appeared in multiple different forms over the years on the title pages of the books he published through the Plantin Press. His Latin motto, Labore et Constantia (`By Labour and Constancy') is associated with an image of a compass held by a hand extending from a bank of clouds and inscribing a circle. The centre point of the compass indicates constancy, the moving point that creates the circle is the labour. Here  are three examples from a collection of several volumes printed by Plantin in 1680. For more examples and commentary see HERE.

The scanned volume is HERE. More information on Plantin HERE.


Thursday, 11 August 2016

Haiku of the Shiki School

A Haiku from a vast database that once existed at the University of Groningen, the Netherlands. Compiled, translated, illustrated and calligraphy by Helen Shigeko Isaacson. 

Her comments on this Haiku are:

Siki Haru-no hi/Haru: Zikoo

Haru-no hi ya
tiyo-gami-no turu
hariko no tora

The Spring sun ya
a paper crane,
a paper-mache tiger.

Under the Spring sun--
a designed-paper crane,
a paper-mache tiger.

Tiyogami is a colored paper, usually thicker than origami (colored paper for folding cranes etc) of traditional designs which was used decoratively to line boxes, book, and for making toys. It may be used in the same way as origami, as in this case. The two objects are typical examples of old Japanese toys, as fragile as beautiful, innocent as the springtime. The kigo may be thought of as the power, the toys the playful - the yang and the yin.

More on Masaoka Shiki HERE.

Sixth century Lombardic capitals (1784)

Facsimiles of sixth century Lombardic capitals from The origin and progress of writing, as well hieroglyphic as elementary, illustrated by engravings taken from marbles, manuscripts and charters, ancient and modern : also some account of the origin and progress of printing by Thomas Astle. Book available HERE.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

A Story as Sharp as a Knife: The Classical Haida Mythtellers and Their World (2016)

The Folio Society has produced an illustrated edition of Robert Bringhurst's book length translation and annotation of a number of Haida myths. HERE.

IMAGE CAPTION: On top of the screens forming a point in the rear of the house, sleek blue beings were preening themselves.

Illustration Copyright Don Yeomans.

A Tranquil Star

In 1978, the Italian writer Primo Levi (1919--1987) published an exquisite short story called A Tranquil Star. Amongst other things, in this story Levi explains how difficult it is to use common language to describe objects that are much smaller, bigger, shorter lived or longer lived than we can directly experience as humans. The story was translated by Ann Goldstein and is in the New Yorker HERE.

Monday, 8 August 2016

Why Most Clinical Research Is Not Useful (2016)

This paper by John Ioannidis is, as usual, thought provoking. His conclusion is:

Overall, not only are most research findings false, but, furthermore, most of the true findings are not useful. Medical interventions should and can result in huge human benefit. It makes no sense to perform clinical research without ensuring clinical utility. Reform and improvement are overdue.
The author is quite an entertaining character - he also wrote "Why most published research findings are false" (1.5 million hits) and "How to make more published research true." His profile is HERE.


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