The Public Domain Review

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Jean Baptiste Vérany’s Chromolithographs of Cephalopods (1851)

Thursday 27 April 2023 at 11:54

In these images, Vérany realizes his ambition — to accurately render “the suppleness of the flesh, the grace of the contours, the transparency and the coloring” of cephalopods.


“Though Silent, I Speak”: A Book of Sundial Mottoes (1903)

Tuesday 25 April 2023 at 10:21

A collection of more than 60 sundial inscriptions, exploring various themes relating to the passing of time.


Troubled Waters: Reading Urine in Medieval Medicine

Wednesday 19 April 2023 at 11:44

From cabbage green to coarse meal, medieval manuscripts exhibit a spectrum of colours and consistencies when describing urine. Katherine Harvey examines the complex practices of uroscopy: how physicians could divine sexual history, disease, and impending death by studying the body's liquid excretions.


Shy Guy (1947)

Tuesday 18 April 2023 at 12:11

In this “personal guidance” film, Phil the shy guy learns a valuable lesson: to fit in, you need to “think about the other guy”.


C. P. Cranch’s Very Literal Illustrations of Emerson’s Nature (ca. 1837–39)

Thursday 13 April 2023 at 10:54

In these illustrations, Emerson's words are interpreted literally, repurposed for cheeky, teasing, and toothless ends.


Dentologia: A Poem on the Diseases of the Teeth (1833)

Wednesday 12 April 2023 at 11:10

A sprawling eighty-page poem about teeth, written by an eminent dentist, with fifty pages of erudite endnotes.


Manhattan’s Last Arcadia: Estate Plans from the Index of American Design (1936)

Wednesday 5 April 2023 at 11:23

These watercolour images depict a lost 19th-century Manhattan of grand country estates and vast private gardens.


The City That Fell Off a Cliff

Wednesday 5 April 2023 at 11:22

Beneath the waves, off the Suffolk Coast, lies a city taken by the sea through centuries of erosion. Matthew Green revisits Dunwich, a once lively port transfigured into a symbol of loss, both eerie and profound, for generations of artists, poets, and historians drawn to its ruinous shores.


Fraktur Folk Art (ca. 1750–1820)

Thursday 30 March 2023 at 10:24

This form of folk art from 17th- and 18th-century Pennsylvania was designed for private, domestic pleasures.


Blights of the Bookish: An Essay on Diseases Incidental to Literary and Sedentary Persons (1768)

Tuesday 28 March 2023 at 10:50

In this essay on the ailments of sedentary lifestyles, reading and scholarly study have tragic and sometimes fatal consequences.