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.