I've been involved in this blog at retrieving and tabulating antique images that look straight down on something. Today I imagine that we all take these sorts of views for granted, what with satellite images and Google Earth and airplanes and all. But in the pre-heavier-than-air era, seeing a published image that looked straight down from a height was quite rare. (And it needs to be strait down, not a bird's-eye view. Things are very different between looking obliquely from an airplane window onto a cityscape than skydiving directly down on top of it.)
Benjamin Franklin had long been thinking about waterspouts, going back at least to the early 1750's, though he did not have an article about them in print until the appearance of "Physical and Meteorological Observations: Conjectures and Suppositions" in the Royal Society's Philosophical Transactions, LV (1765). The first image that I've been able to find of the waterspout occurs in 1774, though a prettier version of it is reworked a little, but with sharper delineations, in 1818:
Here's the full image (with a magic square that related to another article in the volume):
JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
When I went to research this phrase, above, I was surprised to learn that it is about half as old as I. Playing on a slightly older expression, "Le bon Dieu est dans le détail" (the good God is in the detail), commonly attributed to Gustave Flaubert (1821-1880), and of course "God in in the detail/s", the "devil" part seems to be only from the mid/late 1970's--a surprise.
Nevertheless, we are still left with a surprise in this devilish detail from the incunabulum of St. Augustus, De civitate dei....(this printed in Basel by Johann Amerbach on 13 February 1489). It shows it in its two panel woodcut the illustrious saint at top, working away at his desk; and at the bottom a battle between the cities of Babylon (founded by Abel) and Zion ("Syon", by Cain). In this battle Zion is defended by devils, and the devils are armed.
The angels of Babylon appear sympathetic but unresponsive to the devil-play, while an angel at top left seems to be blessing its devil enemy who seems to be scaring/screaming at her. In any event this is a lovely and complex image coming in the fourth decade of moveable type printing.
Now: regarding Zion and Augustine, I really don't know why the writer is putting devils in charge of the defense of "the city of the living god". The many-times-mentioned Zion of the Old Testament, "...Zion, the perfection of beauty, God shines forth" (Psalms 50:2), doesn't seem to be calling for devils. But then I don't know this history of Jerusalem during the Byzantine period, 4th/5th century. So far as wars and savages launched against Jerusalem, it was destroyed twice, attacked 52 times, captured/recaptured 44 times, and beseiged 23 times--perhaps this representation wasn't too terribly much out of the ordinary.
JF Ptak Science Books Post 1737 (Expanding post #850, On Dropping Your Hat in the Punic Wars)
There is a particular class of illustration in which, among the secondary figures of the image, there is a small happening, an everyday trifle, that has been captured by the artist and included in the overall communication for no necessary reason. (for example, see here and below1). I’ve written about this a little before on this blog in posts about finding images-within-images: the unecessaries among the unnecessaries, the bits and pieces of everyday human existence that in and of itself is not worth commentary but which nearly everyone experiences. Small bits, they are, of a tremendous human nature, the things that are done in private, or are so universal but inconsequential that they are shocking to see when illustrated in print.
Titus Livius (59 BCE-17 ACE), better known to the English-speaking world as Livy, was a superior among superiors of Roman historians, writing on the history of his city and country. His work, Romische Historie…, published in Mainz by Johann Schoeffler 1450 years later in 1514, was one of the most beautifully illustrated books ever produced in that city. This is a considerable statement, as Mainz was the birthplace/hotbed of moveable type printing, being home to Johann Gutenberg and a number of other early presses.
And in looking at this fantastic work by Livy, I am a little embarrassed to find this spectacular bit of human tendency displayed in this woodcut depicting a naval engagement during the Punic Wars. It is a beautiful thing, this scene of warfare depicted on tranquil seas and ribbony waves, determination in every face. But what I noticed in the small boat at bottom right is a man reaching out into the water—not for a dropped oar, or to help a man overboard, or to catch his falling sword.
I have reason to doubt that during the Punic Wars there may have been an unwritten chapter, “On the History of Dropped Hats During Warfare”. Surely soldiers dropped their hats during the history of roman conquest, but I’d say that retrieving the headgear was more important at the Battle of the Bulge in protecting your noggin from badly splintering trees traveling at you at 180 mph and other such places than a wool cap dropped from a ship in pitched battle two hundred meters from shore.
I like this so because it is probably the first reaction that most of us would have—just a habit, battle raging or not—and just utterly human. Just a little piece of back-history that doesn’t go anywhere and is lost to experience. I’m sure that Herr Gutenberg dropped his hat at odd times, as did the unknown artist of this print. Just an odd bit, like the first things printed on Gutenberg’s press being religious indulgences for people paying their way past Purgatory (and worse). The fact that the indulgences preceded the great bible by several years doesn’t really matter, and neither does retrieving a dropped hat in a sea battle—but they do make interesting stories.
The only thing that I'd rather have the artist improve in this print were the waves--the ones on exhibit here weren't very saucy. Admittedly, waves were a large problem so far as depicting them goes, what with the whole vast subject of fluid dynamics so little known at the time. THe person who would know this phenomenon best at this point--Leonardo--was thinking and working but wasn't sharing. His "Studies of water Formations” (c. 1507-09)? and the later, magnificent “Deluge” (1513, nearly the year of publication of the above) would stay hidden for centuries, the big step forward in the West having to wait for another 120 and 140 years (respectively) for the works of Benedetto Castelli, and Evangelista Torricelli,
This aside, I think that I'd rather see heavier lines in my Renaissance waves, more in line with we find in Publius Virgilius Maro Oper accuratissime castigata..., a richly illustrated (104 large woodcuts) work published in 1537, even though the artwork (evidently) appeared in an earlier edition of 1502. No matter, "The Master of Grueninger's Workshop" created some beautiful waves:
There's nothing "wrong" of course with the Livy waves; the Virgil though has sharper, darker, blacker and stronger contrasts in the water. Of course, the Livy has that incredibly human act of the man reaching for his fallen hat int he heat of battle, and that's something that rarely seems to happen in prints of the Renaissance.
1. Some other Found Images posts:
Finding Hidden Images in Antique Prints: 18th Century Forensic Social X-Rays of Florence by Guiseppe Zocchi
JF Ptak Science Books, Post 1701
The first published photographic image, or "sunpicture", illustrating an excellent collection of extremely early papers on photography, 1839.
Bird, Golding. "A Treatise on Photogenic Drawing." Five papers in a series found and bound in the London-published journal, The Mirror. These five issues comprise a very early work on the new science of photography by Dr. Golding Bird, appearing in issues from April 20-May 25, 1839: this includes "A treatise on photogenic drawing", (pp. 241-44); and also "The new art - photography", (pp. 261-2, 281-3, 317-18, 333-335.)
It is page 241 (issue no. 945, Saturday April 20) that particularly peaked my interest--it contains the First Image of a Photogenic Drawing. This is essentially the first publication of an image produced by any sort of photographic process. The process here is the 'sun picture", a photographic process, making this the first published "photographic" image, but really it is more like the first publication of a photographic image that was produced via woodcut. It predates the first mass-published photograph by four years and the first (entirely) photographically illustrated book (The Pencil of Nature) by six years. The sun picture, or heliotype, was first described in print in 1801 by both Thomas Wedgewood and Humphrey Davy, and although the process was at least 39 years old at this time there are no recorded *published* images produced by that process. (The woodcut is much larger than usual for The Mirror, and is also of a unique brown/red color, and of a different hue than any other woodcut that we have seen in any of the issues of the first 45 years of this publication.)
"...facsimile of a photogenic drawing of ferns (done on the block) as a plate [to illustrate an article serialized by Dr. Golding Bird "A Treatise on Photogenic Drawing" and reprinted in the Magazine of Natural History, p. 234-44]...printed in rust to imitate the photogenic drawing... The facsimile of the photogenic drawing done directly from an exposure on the block is the first photographic image published. The finished example is printed directly from the block in a reddish brown to match the color of Talbot's first salt print photograms."--Hanson Collection catalog, p. 6 [Source, here.]
Under the title, "the First Reproduction of a Photograph",the George Eastman House of Photography's journal, the Image (volume 11/2, 1962) notes:
"On April 20, 1839, the London magazine The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction, featured as its cover a "Facsimile of a Photogenic Drawing." There is a copy in the George Eastman House collection. It is a picture —in negative—of three stalks of leaves. The original was made by Golding Bird, "a distinguished botanist" by following William Henry Fox Talbot's newly invented process, the details of which were made public at the Royal Society on February 21. Paper was made light sensitive by bathing it first in sodium chloride solution, then, after sponging the surface, in a solution of silver nitrate. The material could be used in two ways: to make, as Golding Bird did, a contact print, pressing flat objects to the surface during exposure to light, or in a camera. Both techniques produced negative images, which were fixed in a strong solution of sodium chloride. Talbot named his invention "photogenic drawing." His friend, Sir John Herschel, proposed for it the word "photography."
"Thus to The Mirror falls the honor of having first published a reproduction of a photograph. The facsimile which was presented to its readers was the work of a draftsman, who made a drawing of the photograph, and a wood engraver, who cut the block..”
The Image continues:
"Only a week later, on April 27, The Magazine of Science and School of Arts, another London magazine, featured three "Fac-similes of Photogenic Drawings" on its cover: two botanical specimens; (Fool's Parsley and Grass of Parnassus), and a piece of lace. Although wood engravings created by skill of hand, they approach photography more closely. For the very wooden block used for the printing plate was itself sensitized, just as Bird's paper had been sensitized, and the engraver followed with his burin the photographic image itself, rather than the artist's drawing."
"The photogenic drawings were contributed to the magazine by a reader who signed himself "G.F." He commented, in his covering letter published in the same issue: "I send you three drawings of this new art, which were impressed at once on box-wood, and therefore are fit for the graver, without any other preparation. I flatter myself that this process may be useful to carvers and wood engravers, not only to those who cut the fine objects of artistical design, but still more to those who cut patterns and blocks for lace, muslin, calico-printing, paper-hanging, &c., as by this simple means the errors, expense, and time of the draughtsman may be wholly saved, and in a minute or two the most elaborate picture or design, or the most complicated machinery, be delineated with the utmost truth and clearness."
Gernsheim states in his History of Photography that the first photographic camera ever made for sale to the public was advertised by Francis West, an optician of 83 Fleet Street, London, and published in this issue.
Bird later reworked these sections of the Mirror into elements of and a chapter in his Elements of Natural Philosophy; (being an experimental introduction to the study of the physical sciences; revised and enlarged third London edition, Philadelphia: Lea & Blanchard, 1848). This article was reproduced in the Journal of the Franklin Institute in September 1839 as "Observations on the Application of Heliographic or Photogenic Drawing to Botanical Purposes; with an account of an economic mode of preparing the Paper: "in a Letter to the Editor of the magazine of Natural History".
[Offered for sale in our books for sale section, here.]
JF Ptak Science Books Post 1668
Images hold selective secrets for different people of divergent interests. Sitting through a motion picture, for example, shows a series of still images flashed before us—in a single scene people bring to bear their own ways of experience and observation. A forensic pathologist will see things shown within their specialty different from someone with a chemical explosives background who will see a bomb differently from an ER doc who would respond to an emergency room differently from a bookseller who might notice in the scene that the paperback edition of a Tree Grows in Brooklyn being read by an American G.I. in 1944 didn’t exist yet, and so on. A single image can hold a tremendous variety of depth and interpretation depending on the observers’ perspective.
Most of the time when I look at prints now I am looking at the extraneous “stuff” that is used as filler to the print’s purpose. I’ve written about this a few times earlier in this blog under the (bad) general title of Prints—Looking HARD at…), and I find the uncommitted art just fascinating, sort of like “loose”, unnecessary snapshots of common life, everyday life, of people walking by.
The two prints today that I stumbled upon have a particular interest—they depict semi-hidden children in the foreground-filling detritus of the architectural marvel that is the subject of the artwork. Children really don’t appear too terribly often in art from 1500-1850, so it is especially interesting to look really hard at these prints and pick out the kids and what they were doing.
Of course this begs the question of “why?”—why would the artist bother with such detail in the foreground, let alone bring children into the picture?
The first image is the gorgeous Cambridgeshire Medieval cathedral at Ely. This is an engraving showing the north west view of the cathedral, and it is of course grand and imposing. The curious foreground shows a somewhat dilapidated-looking cemetery, and looking further still we see two men digging a grave, and to the right of them, a small child, seemingly pointing and reading a gravestone. What an unusual detail this is, what with it occupying less than 1% of the area of the image in general.
The second image (above) shows the façade of the Town Hall at Cologne. Of the twenty or so people in the street in front of the building, four are children (there’s also a pair of fighting/playing dogs). One of the miniatures scenes seems to show a boy in a “pick me up” pose. To the right of this is another, odder, scene, showing a woman—possibly a street food peddler—with her two boys(?), the children kneeling in front of a gentleman who is in turn leaning against a pillar of the Town Hall. What the boys are doing is a mystery, as is the intention of the artist in including them.
Unfortunately these "microscope" studies reveal only the basic forms of the semi-hidden, and really don’t ever seem to offer us a reason as to why they were preserved. Presently I’m happy enough to just recognize them and appreciate their small saved existence.
JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
There's a track on this blog located in the feebly-named category "Looking Closely/Deeply at Prints" were tiny bits and pieces of engraved artwork are exhumed for closer story, like passing a paper microscope over the image to draw out the semi-invisible and show the secret life of prints. Often what this entails is some very curious work by the artist and/or the engraver as they sought to spice up a rudimentary architectural assessment of Salisbury Cathedral, or the town hall in Munich, or some sort of ruin in Surrey, or a street scene along old Broadway in NYC--and they would do this sometimes by including something artful and small, and completely unnecessary to the primary image on which they were working.
See this post for a good example (with other links) of this.
So, instead of having a few people in the street outside of Cathedral X to show the building to some sort of scale, the artist/engraver might include in their very tiny detail images of children fighting, or a legless beggar, or a pocket-thief, or a tripping aristocrat. Or a man rounding a corner with a baby coffin on his shoulder.
What happens here then is an intended-unintentional, sort of like an 18th century snapshot of Something that captures stuff of the daily grind in the process--and as it happens it is this stuff, the activities and the people doing the mundane chores of the 18th century that turn out to be the very interesting bits of the artwork. After all, it was this sort of invisible activity that would tend not to be preserved in artwork or other visual documentation--but here it is, locked away in an architectural appreciation of some building Y in some city Z. And we are lucky for the contrivances of those long-asleep artisans.
But the Zoomology posts are something a little different than this--they simply are a deep observation of an interesting detail in an antiquarian print or photograph that shows an artwork in and of itself, a sort of descending fractal of appreciation. And simple.
The first sample in this quick-posting category is the sea anemone, or Zoophyte (old school classification), that we see in this series of images (above and below) from the great and prolific Abraham Rees (who must have had a team Rees, a group of scholars like the Bourbaki who worked together mostly anonymously save for the (in this case real) man whose name is given credit for the entire work) and engraved in 1813. The image in question is a flustra bombycina, a Verme (according to the obsolete Linnaen taxonomy), and it just called out for deeper inspection:
And the zoom-out to the full image:
JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post, expanded
(One in a series on the preihistories of famous things, one of which is: Mandelbrot and the Pre-History of the Fractal, 1967-1975.)
I’ve written here earlier on the 236 different words used to create The Cat in the Hat (Dr. Seuss and the 236 Words That Changed reading Forever), a book which I found to be a major accomplishment, a very difficult undertaking with superb outcome. [The detail above is picked from the cover, below.]
That is why I was struck seeing the cover of volume 1 of this rare two-volume set illustrated by the not-yet-famous Dr. Seuss (Theodor Seuss Geisel, 1904-1991, and son and grandson of brewmasters). There is no question in my mind that the small head on the large-bodied serpent is that of The Cat in the Hat (TCITH, which sounds like an Egyptian deity).
TCITH might very well make its first forensic appearance here. Seuss busily illustrated these two slim pamphlets for Esso Oil and Grease—they presented the rules of the water, and Seuss responded with funny inset illustrations and delightful chapter-ending slugs. He also provided a number of Seussian/Rube-Goldbergian machines which mechanically overcomplicated (or “too-complexified” in Bushisms, (true)), which are both complex and simple, delightful.
JF Ptak Science Books Post 1651
I don't often see covers of pamphlets featuring hundreds--or thousands--of people as a part of the design. In my continuing role as finder and re-finder of things found I have re-surfaced four of these designs, and I feel I should post them before they're captured in the un-finding process. Again. Back to the design: these are very striking, persuasive images, unavoidable in many ways, completely intriguing, beguiling. People just have to look at these things. Look: I made a little experiment today placing ten very interestingly-designed pamphlets on display, all with compelling and distinct merits, and including one with a big spread of humanity on the cover (the "Life" pamphlet. The very unscientific results is that people were generally first drawn to the complex people image, and stayed longer looking at it--by far--than any other image. Perhaps its the same sort of reaction going on when you watch people walking in front of a mirror or reflective surface, with the vast majority of folks checking themselves out in it. Maybe its just people looking for something familiar. Maybe the faces are simply, strictly more interesting than just points o the page. I'm not sure.
The first image is a one penny Labour Party publication coming from the National Executive Committee of the Labour Party, published in London in 1937; second is Life, the story of the fraternity lamda chi alpha, published around 1935; third, a program for the Liberal Party, published in London in c. 1938; lastly, fourth, a program for some course of semi-statistical study with the John Hancock life insurance company. These beautiful designs were much more interesting than the very casual contents they covered, at least to me.
JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
"Anguissola has shown greater application and better grace than any other woman of our age in her endeavors at drawing; she has thus succeeded not only in drawing, coloring and painting from nature, and copying excellently from others, but by herself has created rare and very beautiful paintings."--G. Vasari
Sofonisba Anguissola is recognized as one of the leading women painters of the Renaissance, an interesting humanist who succeded in the face of restraint of prejudice. She had great talent, obviously, and it seems as though that she gave a certain life to happy, common expressions in her subjects. But what I focused on her in this chess game was how the player on the left got her bishop into the position at H1 with her pawn at G2. And why is the black square at H1?
In his Libro de Sogni published in 1564, Lomazzo presents this following imagined conversation between Leonardo da Vinci, representative of modern painting, and Phidias, the artist from Antiquity:
"I bring to your attention the miracles of a Cremonese woman called Sofonisba, who has astonished every prince and wise man in all of Europe by means of her paintings, which are all portraits, so like life they seem to conform to nature itself. Many valiant [professionals] have judged her to have a brush taken from the hand of the divine Titian himself; and now she is deeply appreciated by Philip King of Spain and his wife who lavish the greatest honors on the artist."--An imaginary conversation between Phidas (representing the deep antiquity of art) and Leonardo da Vinci (as representative of the modern). As seen in Giovanni Paolo Lomazzo (1534-1594), a busy mannerist painter and author of at least six books, including early and significant art criticism, in his Libro de Sogni (1564, "The Book of Dreams".
I found these two interesting images over the course of a hundred pages or so in the profusely illustrated weekly magazine, Punch, or the London Charivari, for early 1865. The first image, published 18 March 1865, "A Song of the Streets", drawn by "C.H.D." (Charles Henry Bennett, 1828-1867), displays the general thoroughfare of sidewalk life in a place like London, people being blown about by late winds and snow.
It is in the upper right-hand corner of the engraving that we find our "important Anti-Darwinist", which seems like an illogical statement, except that it isn't The man in question is the fellow with the bellows, who seems to be the one instigating the weather, blowing so had and cold that it moves people off their feet and off the page. The bellows is labelled "Fitzroy", and the likeness is that of the man with the same name, Vice-Admiral Robert Fitzroy (b. 1800), who at this time was serving as the chief of a weather department for the Royal Society, the Meteorological Statist to the Board of Trade, appointed by the president of the society, and was basically a meteorologist, except that the title had yet been invented. (It is also interesting that Fitzroy is depicted in captain's (?) uniform, and surrounded by a floating telescope, book, thermometer and self-registering drum.) So even then, even with the first person in this position of authority, complaints for foul weather were being launched at the person "in charge", even though that person created an extraordinary new tool for detailing the possible changes in weather.1
It happens that this is the same Robert Fitzroy who was the captain of the HMS Beagle on its second voyage (1831-1836), when he approved of the addition of an added gentleman to help keep his sanity on the long adventure, a naturalist named Charles Darwin. It was also Fitzroy who gave Darwin a copy of the first volume of Lyell's Principles of Geology, a book integral to Darwin's development into Charles Darwin. The voyage was personally rocky for the two men, but ultimately highly successful. Years later, Fitzroy was shocked and dismayed with the result of young Darwin's adventures--with the publication of On the Origin of Species..., Fitzroy felt a sense of personal guilt for Darwin's theory, and felt shame and bitterness towards it, as in his mind the theory went against his bible and his religious beliefs. Fitzroy and the Rev. Samuel Wilberforce were at the evolution debate meeting of the British Association for the Advancement of Science (1860) in which Rev. Soapy Sam challenged Darwin's theory on "scientific" grounds, and against which Thomas Huxley (and other Darwin supporters) made his well-remembered defence2. In the middle of all of this was Robert Fitzroy, who cried for the crowd of onlookers--with his Bible held aloft--to reject man's interpretation of nature and stay with that of God. He was booed down. Darwin was not in attenddance. [Image: Wilberforce, threatening.]
So, in a way, Fitzroy proved to be important in the formation of the theory of evolution but also turned out to be an anti-Evolutionist, though not an important one. Oddly enough this may be the last published image of Fitzroy during his lifetime, as he would die 42 days after the appearance of this issue.
In the second image of the streets the view from the pages of Punch (for 27 May 1865), "The Banishment of the Beggars, a New Tramp Chorus", we see a different type of street "cleaning". In this case, it. Charles Villiers (1802-1898, and for 63 years a sitting MP) and his Homeless Poor Bill of 1865 sweeping the "sham poor" from the city streets, the legislation designating that the capable poor actually be put to work and removed from their begging positions on the streets. The complaints in the chorus against the highly visible poor of Metropolitania were considerable,
finding among the beggars ("who disturb our peace") a litany of fakes, many of who are featured in the illustration:
"sham injured workmen (who display their wounds from door to door)", the lame (who clap their crutches on our toes), the blind, sham paralytics, sham widows (with hired babies and brats), "artistic tramps" (who will no longer chalk on the sidewalk "I am Starving"), and the fake veterans of wars.
The way to salvation for these people was "the Mill", provided by the Villiers bill, and a compulsory spot in a workhouse (work-house) where labor is exchanged for room and board.
1. Fitzroy was actually the person who coined the term "weather forecast", or at least he was the first to use it who had any real chance of being correct or accurate, given how much data he was able to assemble and interpret. He was really a very important person in this regard, as well.
2. This is not the place to debate whether Huxley's famous remarks were famnous at teh time. In a letter to Darwin J.D. Hooker wrote this of the exchange:
"Well, Sam Oxon got up and spouted for half an hour with inimitable spirit, ugliness and emptiness and unfairness ... Huxley answered admirably and turned the tables, but he could not throw his voice over so large an assembly nor command the audience ... he did not allude to Sam's weak points nor put the matter in a form or way that carried the audience". ^ "Letter 2852 — Hooker, J. D. to Darwin, C. R., 2 July 1860". Darwin Correspondence Project
On the other hand, another cotemporary of the exchange between WIlberforce and Huxley wrote:
Alfred Newton wrote:
In the Nat. Hist. Section we had another hot Darwinian debate... After [lengthy preliminaries] Huxley was called upon by Henslow to state his views at greater length, and this brought up the Bp. of Oxford... Referring to what Huxley had said two days before, about after all its not signifying to him whether he was descended from a Gorilla or not, the Bp. chafed him and asked whether he had a preference for the descent being on the father's side or the mother's side? This gave Huxley the opportunity of saying that he would sooner claim kindred with an Ape than with a man like the Bp. who made so ill a use of his wonderful speaking powers to try and burke, by a display of authority, a free discussion on what was, or was not, a matter of truth, and reminded him that on questions of physical science 'authority' had always been bowled out by investigation, as witness astronomy and geology.
A lot of people afterwards spoke... the feeling of the meeting was very much against the Bp." _Wiki on the 1860 debate.
JF Ptak Science Books
Grazing through a couple of weekly issues of the documentarian's dream, The Illustrated London News, for April 1932, I stumbled upon a few images that really set me back. The one below is one of them, but we'll get to that in a moment.
What stopped me first was this advertisement for air travel from London to Cape Town, taking somewhat less than two weeks. Even though I know something about the history of aviation, I was still shocked to see the 11-day schedule. I knew better, I expected it, but still, to see this remarkable statement in print snapped me to attention. Same too for air travel to India--7 full days of travel. This is the same year that my father was born, so it isn't as though these times are a hundred years old. Perhaps this is the shock of recognition.
A few pages later came this lighthearted image depicting a convoy of the New Rochelle (NY) Yacht Club, "the Thirsty Crew", protesting in their small sailboats against Prohibition, and suggesting that they could go for some number of stiff ones--"propagandists unwilling to waste their large blank spaces...".
I flipped through another few dozen pages, enjoying the ads, the small stories, the domestic intrigues, the human follies and triumphs. Then came the issue for 9 April, 1932, and the lightheartedness was drained by the reality that was to come. The first picture in this series is a small detail from a larger crowd gathered in Berlin's Lustgarten ("Pleasure Garden"), on 4 April, listening to several speeches by a candidate for the Germany presidency, Adolf Hitler. The election--and the very beginning of the end for 60 million people--was a week away.
In February, 1933, more than 200,000 people massed there to protest the new Nazi leadership. Hitler was defeated by von Hndenburg in the second round of the election on that April 10th (Hitler receiving 36% of the vote to von Hindeburg's 51%), but he was appointed Chancellor in January 1933, which was really the beginning of the totality of Nazi power. Soon afterwards, political demonstrations like that were banned, overtaken by Nazi spectaculars, with Hitler addressing more than a million people there at a time. By the end of the war, much like the rest of Berlin, the Lustgarten--whose grass had been replaced by pavement by Hitler for parades--was a bombed-out skeleton.
JF Ptak Quick Post
Funny how in so many of these big crowd picture that I've performed surgery on that hats seem to be an issue. For example, there's this iconic photograph by Weegee (Arthur Felig, born Usher Felig in the Ukraine, 1898-1909, a man who lived for "the shot" and got it over and over again, evidently at the cost of just about everything else in his life) of the crowds at Coney Island. ("Weegee" was the phonetic spelling of Ouija, a moniker given to the man because he seemed be able to intuit the location of a crime or action of some sort. It helped that he was the only journalist/photographer given a license to have a police-band radio receiver at home and in his car.
So far as I can tell there is only one man in a hat--the guy in the bottom right corner of the image, and he's wearing a fedora at that. The person at 10:00 from him--white-hatted with a plastic visor--may be a man, too, in which case I'll have to amend this a little to restrict hats to fedoras. And wearing it, too, at the time of the photo--there's another man in there somewhere who is doffing his boater to the photographer. And that's about it. Not much sand in this picture.
It is a little unusual, this hat business--but Weegee at least has captured hats in unusual places. Finding his bread buttered by crime photography and the gritty aspect of late-night city life, Weegee documented all manner of criminal activities in NYC during the 1930's-1950's, including more than his fair share of Mafia slayings. I recall several of this photographs featuring the "hit" face-down on the pavement or on the table-clothed tabletop, hat still firmly in place. MOMA bought several of Weegee's works in the 1940's for an exhibit called "Action Photography"--which I guess would describe Weegee's work, though if the action was starkly captured by a flash at night in tough surroundings, the description might be better.
JF Ptak Science Books Post 1494
It was this lovely engraving from Richard Bradley's A General Treatise of Husbandry and Gardening..., printed in London in 1721/2, that brought up the issue of structure in creation, and how that issue was in one way approached by the new tool in the scientific toolchest, the microscope.
"...the Contrivances of the Almighty Creator is as visible in the meanest Insect of Plant, as in the greatest Leviathan or the strongest Oak. To touch upon all the Wonders this Instrument shews us would be infinite"--William Molyneux, on the microscope, in his A Treatise of Dioptricks in Two Parts (1692, quotation fro the second edition of 1709 via Marjorie Nicholson's Science and Imagination, Cornell, 1956.
The question that the microscope---newly introduced and popularized by Robert Hooke in 1665 and Anton van Leeuwenhoek in 1674--was so able to address at this time was the question of the structure of things, and whether the Almighty Creator allowed for unrestrained creativeness or if the cosmos was subject to patterns and forms. The microscope was so tremendously nimble that it allowed its observers the luxury of finding "correct" answers on either/both sides of the issue, that arguments could be well made and sustained for variety and regularity. But of course all found the reason for either end of the argument deeply seated in the e hands of god, as seen in the lovely quote below by the great early microscopical popularizer, Henry Baker1.
But this is just the tiniest bit of a nod at the question of structure in the history of science, a search for the relationships between, well, things small and large: atomic, molecular, cellular, organism, population, ecosystem,solar system, universe. The issue of structure may be the only issue--perhaps if you were made to select one question to have answered, automatically, an answer for everything, it might be this issue of how things stand in relations to one another.
Which gets us to this 1721 engraving of a tree-covered hill, following the designs of a human creator, a re-animator of the natural landscape according to a theory of beauty, part of which hangs in the form of a triangle in the right-hand upper corner. A three-sided strategy of the relationships in nature, provided by a human vision. A very small appreciation of an attempt to recognize the relationships between things, and in this case, the beauty of trees and hills.
1. "The first Part of this Treatise discovers in the Particles of Matter composing Salts and saline Substances, Properties whose amazing Effects would surpass all human Belief or Conception, were we not convinced of their Truth by the strongest ocular Demonstration. That beautiful Order in which they arrange themselves and come together under the Eye, after being separated and set at Liberty by Dissolution, is here described and composed but one kind of figure, however simple, with Constancy and Regularity, we should declare it wonderful: What must we then fay, when we see every Species working as it were on a different Plan, producing Cubes, Rhombs, Pyramids, Pentagons, Hexagons, Octagons, or some other curious Figures peculiar to itself; or composing a Variety of Ramifications, Lines, and Angles, with a greater Mathematical Exactness than the most skilful Hand could . draw them?"
"Sensible of my own Ignorance, I pretend not to account how this is done: all I know is, that Chance or Accident cannot possibly produce Constancy and Order, nor inert Matter give Activity and Direction to itself. When therefore these Particles of Salts are seen to move in Rank and File, obedient to unalterable Laws, and compose regular and determined Figures, we must recur to that Almighty Wisdom and Power which planned out the System of Nature, directs the Courses of the Heavens and governs the whole Universe." -- Original, shorter quote of Henry Baker in his Employment of the Microscope (1753) found in Nicholson's book; the above, longer version is from the 1764 (and second) edition, found here.
JF Ptak Science Books Quick Post
Years ago, around 1995, I was at Washington's National Airport, flying at a time of much laxer security precautions in the history of air traveling the U.S., when you were able to walk right up to the gate from your car by passing through only one metal detector, and then not having to show a boarding pass. I went through the detector just fine; the person behind me set it off. I was only paying a little attention to the scene as the metal-man was asked to stand to the side and be inspected by a detector wand. In my peripheral vision I noticed that the man raised his arms parallel to the ground while still holding his attache, which was a little odd, so I turned to watch what was going on. The person turned out to be Mike Wallace, who stood their stoically, as the security personnel went over his entire body, very thoroughly, for perhaps a minute, perhaps a little more. He never said a word, never moved after raising his arms.
Here was a person who spent perhaps more time in the public eye, who had been on television more often than almost anyone in history, being given a metal detecting bath without uttering a word, which I though to be splendid behavior.
In that entire procedure, the security officers didn't wand his briefcase.
The Illustrated London News ran this print in their 28 March 1914 issue, entitled " 'Any Arms, Revolvers, Ammunition?'--a New Customers Question!" with the sub-title "In search of weapons destined for Ulster Volunteers1, customs officers are asking passengers if they have any arms to declare on their arrival at Greenore" [75k north of Dublin, on the coast].
1. "The original Ulster Volunteers were formed by Edward Carson and James Craig as Unionist militias in the tensions surrounding the potential success of the third Irish Home Rule Bill. At the start of 1912, Unionists and members of the Orange Order started drilling and on 9 April (Easter Tuesday) Carson and Conservative Andrew Bonar Law reviewed 100,000 Ulster Volunteers marching in columns. On 28 September 237,368 men signed the Ulster Covenant pledged to "using all means which may be found necessary to defeat the present conspiracy to set up a Home Rule Parliament in Ireland", with the support of 234,046 women."--Wikipedia.