The Public Domain Review

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“Alas, Poor YORICK!”: The Death and Life of Laurence Sterne

Wednesday 7 March 2018 at 17:30

On the 250th anniversary of Laurence Sterne's death, Ian Campbell Ross looks at the engagement with mortality so important to the novelist's groundbreaking work.


Drawings of Tetradons and Diodons (ca. 1838–42)

Tuesday 6 March 2018 at 18:44

Wonderful drawings of balloonfishes and pufferfishes made during, or shortly after, the United States Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842.


Adeline Harris Sears’ Autographs Quilt (1856–ca.1863)

Thursday 1 March 2018 at 17:49

Wonderful trompe l'oeil tumbling block design quilt incorporating signatures from such luminaries as Charles Dickens, Ralph Waldo Emerson, Rembrandt Peale, and Abraham Lincoln (one of eight American presidents represented).


First English Edition of Michel de Montaigne’s Essays (1603)

Wednesday 28 February 2018 at 15:19

John Florio's translation of Michel de Montaigne's genre-forming Essays, including thoughts on grief, friendship, drunkenness, impotence, smells, death, and thumbs.


Darwin’s Polar Bear

Wednesday 21 February 2018 at 18:17

Musings upon the whys and wherefores of polar bears, particularly in relation to their forest-dwelling cousins, played an important but often overlooked role in the development of evolutionary theory. Michael Engelhard explores.


Autographs for Freedom (1853)

Tuesday 20 February 2018 at 17:24

Anthology of anti-slavery literature featuring abolitionist leader Frederick Douglass’s only published work of fiction.


Steam-Powered Tooth Extraction on an Envelope (1894)

Saturday 17 February 2018 at 13:46

This wonderful sketch of “teeth painlessly extracted by steam power” appears on an envelope addressed to a certain Dr J. Chapman of Totton, Southampton. As to whether he is the creator of the drawing also (or indeed someone in his household), the jury is out — though the idea that the envelope made its way […]


Cryptography: or the History, Principles, and Practice of Cipher-Writing (1898)

Wednesday 14 February 2018 at 17:51

An exploration of covert communication through history by the artist, naturalist, antiquarian, and writer Frederick Edward Hulme.


Russian Portraits (1921)

Thursday 8 February 2018 at 16:10

Travel diary of the English sculptor Clare Sheridan telling the story of controversial trip to early Soviet Russia.


Illustrating Carnival: Remembering the Overlooked Artists Behind Early Mardi Gras

Wednesday 7 February 2018 at 16:29

For more than 150 years the city of New Orleans has been known for the theatricality and extravagance of its Mardi Gras celebrations. Allison C. Meier looks at the wonderfully ornate float and costume designs from Carnival's "Golden Age" and the group of New Orleans artists who created them.