Tuesday 28 June 2016

A measured drawing of a skull (1826)

By Cornelius Varley - from Yale Centre British Art (HERE).


Portrait of a Zebra (1763)

A close up portion of Stubbs' painting of a Zebra from HERE.

A complete listing of the Stubbs holdings of Yale Centre British Art is HERE

Rhinoceros (1790)

The first anatomically accurate picture of an adult rhinoceros was painted by George Stubbs. The story of how it came to be in London and painted by Stubbs is HERE

The animal itself is lost, the painting now hangs in the Royal College of Surgeons (HERE).  

Monday 27 June 2016

A Comparative Anatomical Exposition of the Structure of the Human Body with that of a Tiger and a Common Fowl - George Stubbs

A close up portion of a superb observational drawing of the anatomy of a Tiger by George Stubbs from HERE.

Wednesday 22 June 2016

Richard Seewald - Landscape (1921)

Landscape by the German painter Richard Seewald (1889-1976) (more on him HERE). Image from HERE.

Friday 10 June 2016

Sacred Mathematics: Japanese Temple Geometry Fukagawa Hidetoshi & Tony Rothman (2008)

Sacred Mathematics:Japanese Temple Geometry
Fukagawa Hidetoshi & Tony Rothman

This is a beautiful book. It describes the Japanese art and mathematics that are combined in sangaku, or Temple Geometry. It has a foreword by Freeman Dyson, which is worth reading to understand the unique way that this book came to be.  From this Foreword:
I am lucky to have known two scholars who have devoted their lives to cultivating and teaching geometry. They are Daniel Pedoe in England and the United States, and Fukagawa Hidetoshi in Japan. Each of them had to swim against the tide of fashion. For the last fifty years, both in art and mathematics, the fashionable style has been abstract: famous artists such as Jackson Pollock produce abstract patterns of paint on canvas; famous mathematicians such as Kurt Gödel construct abstract patterns of ideas detached from anything we can feel or touch. Geometry is like representational painting, concerned with concrete objects that have unique properties and exist in the real world. Fashionable artists despise representational painting, and fashionable mathematicians despise geometry. Representational painting and geometry are left for amateurs and eccentric enthusiasts to pursue. Pedoe and Fukagawa are two of the eccentric enthusiasts. Both of them fell in love with sangaku.
 From the Blurb on the book's website:
Between the seventeenth and nineteenth centuries Japan was totally isolated from the West by imperial decree. During that time, a unique brand of homegrown mathematics flourished, one that was completely uninfluenced by developments in Western mathematics. People from all walks of life--samurai, farmers, and merchants--inscribed a wide variety of geometry problems on wooden tablets called sangaku and hung them in Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines throughout Japan. Sacred Mathematics is the first book published in the West to fully examine this tantalizing--and incredibly beautiful--mathematical tradition.

Fukagawa Hidetoshi and Tony Rothman present for the first time in English excerpts from the travel diary of a nineteenth-century Japanese mathematician, Yamaguchi Kanzan, who journeyed on foot throughout Japan to collect temple geometry problems. The authors set this fascinating travel narrative--and almost everything else that is known about temple geometry--within the broader cultural and historical context of the period. They explain the sacred and devotional aspects of sangaku, and reveal how Japanese folk mathematicians discovered many well-known theorems independently of mathematicians in the West--and in some cases much earlier. The book is generously illustrated with photographs of the tablets and stunning artwork of the period. Then there are the geometry problems themselves, nearly two hundred of them, fully illustrated and ranging from the utterly simple to the virtually impossible. Solutions for most are provided.
Website HERE, below a typical two-page spread.

Shinpen Jinkoki (1689)

From the illuminating site Japanese Mathematics in the Edo period (HERE).

Shinpen Jinkoki is a three-volume book edited by Yoshida Mitsuyoshi (1598-1673). The book underwent many revisions in Mitsuyoshi's lifetime. The version published in the eleventh year of the Kan'ei era (1641) became the most widespread, and the last version Yoshida himself published was the Idai book, in the eighteenth year of the Kan'ei era (1634). 

The first volume of Shinpen mainly describes multiplications and divisions using the soroban, while the second and third volumes include an assortment of practical and recreational problems. The included problems are not arranged according to any specific order. The book includes ideas that keep readers from boredom by adopting a wide variety of problems such as calculations of areas of rice fields, problems related to the construction of rivers and banks, geometric progression, and the Josephus problem. This Shinpen Jinkoki was the most widespread version among the copies of Jinkoki widely used as a textbook for soroban throughout the Edo period.

The image below is from a 1689 edition of Shinpen Jinkoki.



Thursday 9 June 2016

A Machine Engraver - Karl Mahr (1928)

The blurb from Internet Archive

This is an advertising booklet published in the USA by the Bauer Type Foundry (Germany) in 1937. It argues that Bauer type, while machine-made, retains that "human touch." It is notable for three features, however. First, it was printed by Joseph Blumenthal's Spiral Press, one of the great commercial fine arts presses of the 20th century. It is therefore piece of fine printing uncommon in the advertising world. Second, it acknowledges as valid and important the method of making typefounding matrices by engraving a patrix and then electroforming a matrix from it. This method, while of great importance in 19th and 20th century typefounding, is often ignored or disparaged. Third, it reprints three illustrations by Karl Mahr depicting aspects of the type-making process. These appeared originally in Mahr's "Der Druckbuchstabe" (1928). 

The Book is HERE.

Wednesday 8 June 2016

De Plinii et aliorum medicorum erroribus liber (1529)

Nicolai Leoniceni uiri doctissimi De Plinii et aliorum medicorum erroribus liber : cui addita sunt quaedam eiusdem autoris De herbis & fruticibus. Animalibus. Metallis. Serpentibus. Tiro seu uipera. Nicoleos uere dictus, Victoria nomen praebet, Aristotelem uincit & Hippocratem 
by Niccolò Leoniceno (1428-1524). Printed by Heinrich Petri (1508-1579).


Geographia universalis (1540)

HERE is an edition of Ptolemy's Geography from 1540.
"A new and important edition, revised and edited by the geographer Sebastian Munster, who designed the maps anew, and added an appendix ... The 48 double-page woodcut maps, sometimes colored, are accompanied by descriptions printed on the first leaf of each, within ornamental borders designed in Holbein's style ..."

Wilberforce, E. A list of editions of Ptolemy's Geography, 1475-1730.


Tuesday 7 June 2016

Printers Mark of Petri (1538)

Printer's mark of Petri; with a hand emerging from clouds, holding a hammer and hitting a flintstone; a windface at upper left; illustration to Ptolemy, 'Geographia universalis', Basel: Heinrich Petri, 1545. c.1538 Woodcut

 © The Trustees of the British Museum

Seiki shūzu (1800)

A wonderful book full of beautifully designed Japanese flags and banners, Collected Illustrations of Banners and Standards (Seiki shūzu),  written by calligrapher Tozawa Morinori.