The Public Domain Review

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

Lithographs from Franz Wilhelm Junghuhn’s Java-Album (1854)

Tuesday 13 February 2024 at 13:58

Eleven lithographs of Java from drawings by an eccentric Dutch colonial explorer who believed elevation equals greatness.


Eugène-François Vidocq and the Birth of the Detective

Wednesday 7 February 2024 at 15:01

According to his memoirs, Eugène-François Vidocq escaped from more than twenty prisons (sometimes dressed as a nun). Working on the other side of the law, he apprehended some 4000 criminals with a team of plainclothes agents. He founded the first criminal investigation bureau — staffed mainly with convicts — and, when he was later fired, the first private detective agency. He was one the fathers of modern criminology and had a rap sheet longer than his very tall tales. Who was Vidocq? Daisy Sainsbury investigates.


Never-again Land: J. M. Barrie's My Lady Nicotine (1896)

Tuesday 6 February 2024 at 13:41

A genre-defying work by the creator of Peter Pan about the pleasures of smoking.


Sheet Music Covers for the Gotham-Attucks Company, ca. 1905–1911

Thursday 1 February 2024 at 14:50

Beginning in 1905, one star-studded song-publishing company would push the aesthetic limits of how Black popular music was shown to the public.


Paper Gems: Early Modern Blackwork Prints

Tuesday 30 January 2024 at 16:26

Prints made using a technique known as blackwork which flourished from the 1580s to the 1620s.


As Loud as a Mouse: Mickey’s Sonic Debut in Steamboat Willie (1928)

Wednesday 24 January 2024 at 13:40

In the public domain at last, Steamboat Willie debuted both Mickey Mouse and cartoon synchronised sound to a widespread audience.


Through the Cheval Glass: Reproduction in the Photographs of Clementina Hawarden

Wednesday 24 January 2024 at 13:39

Soon after Clementina Hawarden began taking photographs in the mid-19th century, her eye caught on doubles, reflections, her daughters glimpsed in the mirror. Stassa Edwards examines the role that reproduction — photographic, biological — plays in this oeuvre, and searches for the only person not captured clearly: Hawarden herself.


Clear Shadows (1867)

Tuesday 23 January 2024 at 15:28

A compilation of silhouette portraits by the artist Ochiai Yoshiiku (1833–1904), which includes short biographies, picture riddles, and poems.


The Afterimage of Death: Dr. Berkeley's Discovery (1889)

Tuesday 16 January 2024 at 14:15

A science fiction novel about optography — the scientific belief that images could be recovered from the eyes and brains of the dead.


Liberal Visions and Boring Machines: The Early History of the Channel Tunnel

Wednesday 10 January 2024 at 13:29

More than a century before the Eurostar and LeShuttle, a group of engineers and statesmen dreamed (and fretted) about connecting Britain to France with an underwater tunnel. Peter Keeling drills into the history of this submarine link, and finds a still-relevant story about the cosmopolitan hopes and isolationist panic surrounding liberal internationalism.