During the late 1800s, in German speaking countries, the Swiss botanist, Dr. Arnold Dodel-Port was the David Attenborough of his day. He made science popular. A huge part of his success was due to the Dodel-Port Atlas. Created in collaboration with his wife Carolina, between 1878 and 1893, he created the Dodel-Port Atlas, a series of 42 aesthetically beautiful botanical charts on plant systematics. Professor of Botany at Zurich University, socialist freethinker & an avid supporter of Darwin’s theory of evolution, […]...
Baron Louis Marie Baptiste Atthalin (22 June 1784 – 3 September 1856) is all but forgotten today. In mid 19th century France he was an incredible phenomenon.  A dashing, aristocratic polymath, Atthalin combined being an accomplished artist, watercolourist and lithographer with a long distiguished military and political career. He began his soldiering at 22, fighting in campaigns with Napoleon’s Grande Armée in 1806 and 1807, bravely distinguishing himself at the battle of Eylau and the seige of Grandentz. Battle after battle followed […]...

Life & Art.

Same thing, right?

Wenceslaus Hollar’s portraits of 17th century fashionistas & still lifes of their accoutrement showcase that, even 300 years ago, some people could never have too many accessories. Part of the reason Hollar chose...

Time travel tourism.

You can still go there.

These Photochrome images of Switzerland are by Photocrome Zurich, made shortly after they invented the process in the 1880s. There were 3 variations of the Photocrome processes at the time; Fotochrom, & Aäc Photocrome & the original, PhotoChrome. The Photocrome process was an old school process for colourizing black-and-white negatives via the direct photographic transfer of a negative onto lo-fi lithographic printing plates made of stone. The process is a photographic variant of chromolithography (color lithography). Creatively choosing...
Physiognomy is the practice of assessing someone’s character and personality based solely on their appearance, especially the face. It’s judging a book by its cover. In his Gallerie Physionomique of 1836, the prolific caricaturist, Charles-Joseph Traviès de Villers (known as C.J. Traviès), practiced this shamelessly un-PC exercise on the denizens of 1830s Paris in the form of character portraits. Traviès was ruthless, but it’s so evident that he drew these people with love, insight and understanding. These people,...

Been there, seen it.


Behold. Anonimo.


Inspect and examine.


Seghers was one of the most unusual artists to emerge from the Dutch Golden Age, a time that began with the birth of the Dutch Republic in 1561 and ended abruptly when the Franco Dutch War kicked off in May of 1872. During these golden years years the Dutch star was well & truly on the rise with trade, science, the military and the arts all right up there with the best in the world. Hercules was the son of […]...
Jean-Léon Gérôme (1824 – 1904) knew the power of a nude. It is, of course, blatantly obvious that sexuality played a huge role in his success. His imagery is riddled with sex. Nudes parade nonchalantly around the environments in his canvases. He was delivering a fantasy Orient up to the masses. In fact many of painting’s environmets are simply 1800s softcore porn sets, on which to carefully drape a nude or nudes. Jean-Léon didn’t just cater for hetrosexual tastes, he provides […]...
Who and what was UNATERV? In September of 1944, a retreating German army demolished the rail, road, and communications systems and the Soviet Army occupied Hungary from April 1945. The siege of Budapest lasted almost 2 months, from December 1944 to February 1945 (the longest successful siege of any city in the entire war, including Berlin), and the city suffered widespread destruction, including the demolition of all the Danube bridges, which were blown up by the Germans in a desperate […]...

Previous offenses.

Strange bite-sized chunks of retro criminality plucked from the past for your perusal.

Authentic outliers & outsiders.

Putting the "also rans" first.

Abraham Hendriksz van Beijeren or Abraham van Beyeren was born in The Hague somewhere around 1620. He died in March 1690 in Overschie, Rotterdam. During his 70 years he was little known or recognised for his dark, Baroque still lifes. Van Beyeren specialised in an ornate style of still life known as Pronkstilleven, (Dutch for ‘ostentatious’, ‘ornate’ or ‘sumptuous’). This sumptuous style (and it is so very sumptuous) began life in Antwerp in the 1640s from where its ostentatiousness spread rapidly all […]...
In 1906, a lighthouse desparately needed to be built on Kråkenes, a rocky, knife-like promontory jutting from the northwestern tip of the island of Vågsøy in Vestland County, Norway. Enter Anders Folkestadås (1865-1914), a foreman in the Norwegian lighthouse service. As if building a lighthouse on a gigantic, lonely and dangerously waveswept rock wasn’t enough hard work, Folkestadås took with him his heavy plate glass camera gear; the wooden box of a camera, the glass slides, the cloth to hide […]...

Nudes of the 1800s.

James Sowerby (1757 – 1822) was an English naturalist, illustrator and mineralogist. When he published his colour theory, A new elucidation of colours (1809), as his homage to Issac Newton, Sowerby sought to establish the importance of ‘light and dark’ in colour theory. His theory was that colour is composed of three basic colours: red, yellow and blue. He wasn’t quite right. Yellow, (or gamboge as he called it – after the painting pigment) would become substituted by green in the […]...

Sketchy people.


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“Sed ut perspiciatis unde omnis iste natus error sit voluptatem accusantium doloremque laudantium, totam rem aperiam, eaque ipsa quae ab illo inventore veritatis et quasi architecto beatae vitae dicta sunt explicabo. Nemo enim...
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The artiness of science.

It's abstract, you don't get it but you know it speaks the truth.

These images are University instructional posters. They come from a series entitled Botanische Wandtafeln (1874-1911) by Carl Ignaz Leopold Kny (1841-1916).  Consisting of 120 lithographs and an accompanying textbook, Botanische Wandtafeln (botanical blackboards), is...
John Martin painted various apocolypses. Over and over and over. He was an Apocolyptian painter. Perhaps, it was a kind of escapism. It makes a kind of sense; a man born in a claustrophobic one bedroom cottage in Northumberland, England, who grew up to paint vast open expanses. It could be the other way around. He felt safe when closed in, safe from the hell of a threatening world outside. The source of calamity however most likely eminated from blood. […]...
This art form takes time and planning ahead. Way ahead. Simply take your loved ones to a local photo studio, select your favourite image, have it printed out in sepia. Now cut it out ever so carefully. Now paint your choice of background in oils on a wooden board, glue on your photo and hand colour it to blend it right in. Make their cheeks a little bit rosy and perhaps as a final touch consider adding a little lock […]...

Art & life.

Strawberries & cream.

Armchair tourism.

On July 30, 1937, an 81 year old photographer named Reuben R. Sallows was driving a truck, packed with photography apparatus, south on Highway 21 near Kintail in Ontario, Canada. He was on his way to photograph a local summer camp, when one of his tyres blew out. The road’s loose gravel meant that Sallow’s truck flipped. It landed in into a roadside ditch, pinning him into the ground. “Mr. Sallows was conscious when pulled from beneath his old car […]...
Monuments of Persian architecture: historical study and recording of Muslim brick buildings in Asia Minor and Persia by Friedrich Paul Theodor Sarre. Sarre was a German Orientalist, archaeologist and art historian who, during amassed an impressive collection of Islamic art during his lifetime. His father was from a Huguenot family, his mother from the Heckmann industrialist family. Sarre studied art history in Leipzig. He travelled for archaeological research thanks to his aunt Elise Wentzel-Heckmann (1833-1914) to Anatolia, Persia and Central Asia, specializing in Islamic art. Together with Ernst Herzfeld (1879-1948) he excavated […]...

Here's to the crazy ones.

The few in the multitudes that stand up and stand out.

Renowned for his “brilliant mountaineering skill on ice and rock, his truly admirable perseverance, his inexhaustible patience in bearing hardships”, Edward Theodore Compton, a.k.a. “E. T.” Compton, (1849 –1921) also painted the mountains...
The Victoria Regia; or the Great Water Lily of America, a gigantic water lily, was first discovered along the Amazon River and taken to Britain for cultivation. This so-called “vegetable wonder” was a spectacular flower. Nineteenth century commentators described with amazement the vast dimensions of its floating leaves, which could exceed ten feet in, that float on the water’s surface on submerged stalks up to 26 ft long. It is the largest waterlily in the world and its great white flower, […]...
The first issue of the German satirical magazine, Lachen Links (Laughter Left) was published on January 11, 1924. “Ridiculousness kills” was its’s motto. The name, Laughter Left refers to German parliamentary parlance – the laughing at an opponent on the other side of the political spectrum was referred to as to “laugh left” or “laugh right’. Laughter Left was clear where it stood. The magazine “laughed left”. The magazine is an impressive testimony to wit and satire as a powerful protest […]...

Miscellaneous. A pot pourri of pearls purloined from the past.

Random bite-sized chunks of extreme retro-ness plucked from the time's dust and polished for your perusal.

Caspar David Friedrich was a 19th-century German Romantic landscape painter, generally considered the most important German artist of his generation. He is best known for his mid-period allegorical landscapes which typically feature contemplative...

Remote fragments from the void.

Scattered elements. What stories lie in the gaps between? You fill in the blanks.

Preserved in the National Library of Russia is a 1898 album detailing the history of a school in the province of Zabaykalsky Krai, the country’s Far East. It’s so Far East it’s almost Inner Mongolia. Within the album are a number of photographs describing the buildings, grounds, and workshops of the Emperor Nicholas II Vocational School in Chita.  Heres what we know about Chita and the school in the photos.  Like most of Far Eastern Russia, the tiny town of […]...
This collection of strange & slightly unnerving early 20th century colour(ed) postcards made by photographer Sergei Ivanovich Borisov (1859-1935) in the Altai Mountains region of southern Siberia early in the 20th century. Borisov was born into a family of serfs in Simbirsk (present-day Ulyanovsk) and forced to work as a child. In the late 1880s he moved to the city of Barnaul in Altayskiy Kray, where in 1894 he opened a photography studio. This studio later became the largest and […]...

Bodies of work.

2 almost forgotten life artists models & some not lively. Peruse an artist's muse.

Born and raised in Oakland, California in 1913, “San Francisco’s best loved artists’ model”, Florence Wysinger “Flo” Allen (1913-1997), was a legendary black Californian artist’s muse who posed for virtually every prominent West...

1910s - 1920s Russia. Three artists, one disappearing Siberian culture.

The government surveys that capture so much more than they intended.

"Photographers unknown" give us a wonderfully randomised & totally unique scattergun view of the world. Anonymous deserves some belated kudos.

Design.

Obscuriousities.

Plucked quickly from within the fog of time for you to scroll slowly thru'.

Viktor Mikhaylovich Vasnetsov (May 15, 1848, Lopyal, Vyatka Governorate – July 23, 1926, Moscow) was a Russian artist who specialized in mythological and historical subjects. He is considered the co-founder of Russian folklorist...
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Johannes Josephus Artes. Parts 1, & 2.

Whilst it may seem a trifle unempathetic to round up a human life, to precis an existence down to just the sum parts of interest to us, it must be done, selfishly in this case in order to get to the images, the art more swiftly. Arguably an artist’s work is the raison d’etre. Show don’t tell then, but tell a little, we must.  A Dutch printmaker and painter, Johannes Josephus Aarts (18 August 1871 -119 October 1934) trained at […]...


Michael Snijders was a Flemish print artist, art dealer, draftsman, publisher. He was born in Antwerp in 1586 & died there, aged 87 on December 18th 1672. Exactly what possessed Snijders to create and publish these crazed engravings is unknown, but publish them he did. In Antwerp sometime between 1610 & 1672. Whilst being totally unlike anything else from the period content perspective, in truth Snijders most likely created them as publicity peices that would stand out. “Study sheets” produced […]...

Art & design.

Treasure with the dust wiped off:

Protest and dissent.

They were so beautiful when they were angry:

                                                                                                                                                                […]...

Art & design.

Treasure with the dust wiped off:

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Camera obscure.


Lost aesthetics.

Backdated & belatedly curated.

Deep in the Smithsonian archives sits a box labelled "Miscellaneous Photographs circa 1845-1980". No one in their right mind would want to look through that.

Every one of the photographs is an artist. But what of the art behind the face? It’s a wild smargasbord platter of the obscure, forgotten, dubious and "little is known of".

Anonymous. Elusive. Enigmatic. Sometimes it's better not to know.

Their names are lost in time. Their work is right here.