JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post [History of Lines #18]
I was very surprised to come across this illustration while browsing the (3 April) 1870 volume of Punch, or the London Charivari .
I cannot think of any particular peculiar or unusual edition of Euclid that was published at about this time to demand such an unusual illustration. (The only newish edition that comes into any possible play here is Oliver Byrne's semi-insane First Six Books of Euclid, published by the Chiswick Press in 1849 and one of the most unusual and beautiful books of any sort printed in the 19th century--but then again that was 21 years before this volume of Punch.) And by "unusual" what I really mean to say is "highly unexpected" , as this all-angular depiction of a woman appears for all the world to be a Cubist- or Expressionist-like image, predating those movements by four decades.
But the Angular Woman just seems to be happenstance, a happy precursor to a revolution-in-the-making, an accident forty+ years too early. She is extraordinary--and for some reason she is smoking a cigarette.
[Below--an illustration from Oliver Byrne, illustrating the propositions of Euclid via the use of color rather than words, a beautiful but non-functioning work.]