The Public Domain Review

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Knowledge by the Pound: The Renowned History of Giles Gingerbread (1768)

Tuesday 5 April 2022 at 16:10

As Giles learns how to read, in this 18th-century children's book, he consumes an alphabet baked from gingerbread, literally becoming “A little Boy who lived upon Learning”.


5.2 Million Book Illustrations Deleted from Flickr — Help Get Them Back

Monday 4 April 2022 at 12:31

Learn about the deletion of a huge archive of book illustrations and sign an open letter to save it.


Earthen Messages: Nikola Tesla in his Laboratory (ca. 1899)

Tuesday 29 March 2022 at 09:32

This photograph of Tesla, produced for The Century Magazine, shows the inventor seated beneath his giant “magnifying transmitter”, arcing 22-foot-long bolts of electricity.


Luigi Russolo’s Cacophonous Futures

Thursday 24 March 2022 at 12:32

What does the future sound like? In the early 20th century, one answer rang out from Luigi Russolo’s intonarumori — lever-operated machines designed to pop, sough, shriek, and shock. Peter Tracy explores the ambitions behind Italian Futurism’s experiments with noise and the sensory, spiritual, and political affinities of this radical new music.


Ferdinand van Kessel’s Four Parts of the World (ca. 1689)

Wednesday 23 March 2022 at 12:35

These landscapes depict worlds populated by animals, where the built environment of humans is relegated to the distant background.


Philipp Hainhofer’s Große Stammbuch (1596–1633)

Thursday 17 March 2022 at 10:23

This 227-page volume collects, in wonderfully elaborate style, the signatures of over 75 of Europe’s most illustrious seventeenth-century nobles.


A Hall of Mirrors: Cabala, Spiegel Der Kunst Und Natur, In Alchymia (1615)

Tuesday 15 March 2022 at 11:40

A cryptic, Rosicrucian-inspired text of disputed authorship, featuring engravings rich in alchemical symbolism.


Love and Longing in the Seaweed Album

Wednesday 9 March 2022 at 12:27

Combing across 19th-century shores, seaweed collectors would wander for hours, tucking specimens into pouches and jars, before pasting their finds into artful albums. Sasha Archibald explores the eros contained in the pressed and illustrated pages of notable algologists, including “the most ambitious album of all” by Charles F. Durant.


Cycling Art, Energy, and Locomotion (1889)

Wednesday 9 March 2022 at 12:26

Inventor Robert Pittis Scott's Cycling Art offers a whimsical and illustrated tour through the previous century of “man-motor locomotion”.


James Sowerby’s British Mineralogy (1802–17)

Thursday 3 March 2022 at 14:59

Five-part mineralogical handbook containing more than four hundred vividly hand-colored engravings of various rocks, minerals, and compounds.