The Public Domain Review

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Tom Seidmann-Freud’s Book of Hare Stories (1924)

Wednesday 20 March 2024 at 16:38

An uncanny collection of folk tales written by Sigmund Freud’s niece.

Source: https://publicdomainreview.org/collection/rabbit-tales


Flemish Proverbs by Jan Wierix (ca. 1568)

Thursday 14 March 2024 at 15:35

Haunted by Pieter Bruegel the Elder, these visualisations of proverbs look backward to uncertain origins.

Source: https://publicdomainreview.org/collection/wierix-flemish-proverbs


The Art of Sutherland Macdonald, Victorian England’s “Michelangelo of Tattooing” (ca. 1905)

Tuesday 12 March 2024 at 16:14

Photographs of tattoos by Sutherland Macdonald, Victorian England’s first professional tattoo artist.

Source: https://publicdomainreview.org/collection/sutherland-macdonald-tattoos


From Snowdrop to Nightjar: Robert Marsham’s “Indications of Spring” (1789)

Thursday 7 March 2024 at 15:42

What can we learn from observing the progression of spring — a hawthorn’s first flowering, the return of birdsong on a particular day? Hugh Aldersey-Williams explores the lifelong calendrical project of Robert Marsham, the Norfolk naturalist considered Britain's first phenologist.

Source: https://publicdomainreview.org/essay/from-snowdrop-to-nightjar


Maria Sibylla Merian’s Metamorphosis Insectorum Surinamensium (1705)

Wednesday 6 March 2024 at 17:06

Set of spectacular engravings of insects and their floral abodes — one of the first natural histories of Suriname.

Source: https://publicdomainreview.org/collection/merian-metamorphosis


I Also Am Formed Out of the Clay: Animated Putty (1911)

Tuesday 5 March 2024 at 16:34

Britain's first clay animation film imagines a malleable substance spontaneously giving rise to manifold forms.

Source: https://publicdomainreview.org/collection/animated-putty


The Age of Impoliteness: Galateo: or, A Treatise on Politeness and Delicacy of Manners (1774 edition)

Tuesday 27 February 2024 at 16:46

An English translation of an influential 16th-century Italian etiquette guide. Its proposition is simple but difficult to get right: politeness is the art of pleasing others.

Source: https://publicdomainreview.org/collection/galateo


“The Substantiality of Spirit”: Georgiana Houghton’s Pictures from the Other Side

Wednesday 21 February 2024 at 16:15

When Georgiana Houghton first exhibited her paintings at a London gallery in 1871, their wild eddies of colour and line were unlike anything the public had seen before — nor would see again until the rise of abstract art decades later. But there was little intentionally abstract about these images: Houghton painted entities she met in the spirit regions. Viewing her works through the prism of friendship, loss, and faith, Jennifer Higgie turns overdue attention on an artist neglected by historians, a visionary who believed that death was not the end, merely a new distance to overcome.

Source: https://publicdomainreview.org/essay/the-substantiality-of-spirit


Tales of the Catfish God: Earthquakes in Japanese Woodblock Prints (1855)

Wednesday 21 February 2024 at 16:10

A type of woodblock print known as namazu-e, these images involve a myth that earthquakes were caused by the movements of a great catfish.

Source: https://publicdomainreview.org/collection/earthquakes-in-japanese-woodblock-prints


Unwashed Furry Masses: Wanda Gág’s Millions of Cats (1928)

Thursday 15 February 2024 at 16:50

The oldest American children's book still in print, Wanda Gág's classic opens onto surprisingly political themes.

Source: https://publicdomainreview.org/collection/millions-of-cats