The Public Domain Review

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

Playing Indian: Cummings’ Indian Congress at Coney Island (1903)

Wednesday 2 November 2022 at 09:56

The Coney Island “Congress”, supposedly captured here in audio, was a conglomeration of counterfeits.


“Spontaneous Revolutions”: Darwin’s Diagrams of Plant Movement

Wednesday 26 October 2022 at 09:14

After weeks of watching young tendrils slowly corkscrew their way toward the sun, Charles Darwin set about inventing a system for making botanic motion visible to the naked eye. Natalie Lawrence delves into a lesser-known chapter of the naturalist’s research, discovering revelations about the vegetal world that remain neglected to this day.


Synaesthesia’s Colour Debut (1883)

Tuesday 25 October 2022 at 16:06

Francis Galton's Inquiries Into Human Faculty and its Development features what is thought to be the first colour image of synaesthetic visualisations.


Etteilla’s Livre de Thot Tarot (ca. 1789)

Thursday 20 October 2022 at 13:55

French occultist Jean-Baptiste Alliette refashioned the tarot deck as a tool for spiritual and mundane divination.


Black Bibliography: Daniel Murray’s Preliminary List (1900)

Tuesday 18 October 2022 at 11:54

Prepared for “The Exhibit of American Negroes” at the Paris Exposition, Murray's bibliography lists all works of Black Americans known at the time.


The Polyhedral Perspective

Wednesday 12 October 2022 at 11:50

When geometrical solids took hold of the Renaissance imagination, they promised the quintessence of the third dimension in its pure and unadulterated form. Noam Andrews discovers how polyhedra descended from mathematical treatises to artists’ studios, distilling abstract ideas into objects one could see and touch.


Fungi Collected in Shropshire and Other Neighbourhoods (1860–1902)

Tuesday 11 October 2022 at 10:30

Bound into three exquisitely colored volumes, Fungi features hundreds of species, collected across 42 years by a female mycologist named M. F. Lewis.


“Mother Will Be Pleased”: How It Feels to Be Run Over (1900)

Thursday 6 October 2022 at 08:15

One of the earliest uses of intertitles, Hepworth’s film belongs to a genre of fin-de-siècle accident pictures, where we can observe cinema discovering new forms of communication.


Evrard d'Espinque’s Illuminations of De Proprietatibus Rerum (ca. 1480)

Tuesday 4 October 2022 at 10:45

Among the loveliest illuminations of Bartholomaeus Anglicus' encyclopedia, Evrard d'Espinque's illuminations use a T-O pattern to trace the Great Chain of Being.


Hypnerotomachia Poliphili and the Architecture of Dreams

Wednesday 28 September 2022 at 11:12

With its otherworldly woodcuts and ornate descriptions of imagined architecture, Hypnerotomachia Poliphili brims with an obsessive and erotic fixation on form. Demetra Vogiatzaki accompanies the hero as he wanders the pages of this quattrocento marvel, at once a story of lost love and a fever dream of antiquity.