The Public Domain Review

This is just an automatic copy of Public Domain Review blog.

The Uncertain Heavens: Christiaan Huygens’ Ideas of Extraterrestrial Life

Wednesday 21 October 2020 at 13:03

During the 17th century, as knowledge of the Universe and its contents increased, so did speculation about life on other planets. One such source, as Hugh Aldersey-Williams explores, was Dutch astronomer, mathematician, and inventor Christiaan Huygens, whose earlier work on probability paved the way for his very modern evaluation of what alien life might look like.


Sadakichi Hartmann’s Conversations with Walt Whitman (1895)

Wednesday 21 October 2020 at 08:46

Short pamphlet of conversations with Whitman in his last years by the art critic and poet Sadakichi Hartmann.


The Tours of Dr Syntax (1809–1821)

Tuesday 20 October 2020 at 08:16

Three books combining pictures and verse about an Anglican cleric in search of the perfectly picturesque.


Filippo Buonanni's Harmonic Cabinet (1722)

Tuesday 13 October 2020 at 10:32

Engravings from an ambitious and beautiful attempt to catalogue, for the first time, the musical instruments of the world.


Fungi, Folklore, and Fairyland

Wednesday 7 October 2020 at 13:12

From fairy-rings to Lewis Carroll's Alice, mushrooms have long been entwined with the supernatural in art and literature. What might this say about past knowledge of hallucinogenic fungi? Mike Jay looks at early reports of mushroom-induced trips and how one species in particular became established as a stock motif of Victorian fairyland.


Herbert Geddes’ “Life in Japan” Collection: Hand-Coloured Glass Transparencies of the Meiji-Era

Tuesday 6 October 2020 at 14:39

Stunning hand-colored transparencies of life in Meiji-era Japan, from the Canadian businessman Herbert Geddes’ collection, acquired in Yokohama from 1908–1918.


Charles Babbage’s Observations on Street Nuisances (1864)

Thursday 1 October 2020 at 11:39

A chapter from Charles Babbage’s The Life of a Philosopher railing against noise pollution in 19th-century London.


Kaspar Hauser’s Art (1828–1833)

Wednesday 30 September 2020 at 07:31

Artwork by the famous foundling Kaspar Hauser, ranging from pen-and-ink self-portraits to watercolour studies of fruit and flowers.


William Elliot Griffis’ Korean Fairy Tales (1922)

Tuesday 22 September 2020 at 07:21

Vivid retellings of Korean folktales by an American scholar and Protestant minister, including several stories about the sprite Tokgabi.


“More Lively Counterfaits”: Experimental Imaging at the Birth of Modern Science

Thursday 17 September 2020 at 08:51

From infographics to digital renders, today's scientists have ready access to a wide array of techniques to help visually communicate their research. It wasn't always so. Gregorio Astengo explores the innovations employed in early issues of the Royal Society's Philosophical Transactions, the world's first scientific journal — new forms of image making which pushed the boundaries of 17th-century book printing.