Sunday, September 10, 2017

The Natural History of Palm Trees, 19th C

Attalea - Cocos - Sabal species

Borassus flabelliformis

Acrocomia sclerocarpa

Areca nibung

Astrocaryum species

Palm species

Palm species sections

Palm species sections a

Bactris longipos + Cocos botryophora

Ceratolobus glaucescens

Copernica ceifera

Daemonorops melanochaetes

Thrinax brasiliensis

Zalacca wallichiana

Desmoncus polyacanthos

Elaeis melanococca

Livistona humilis

Livistona humilis (fruit + seeds)

Sagus taedigera

Eugeisona tristis

Eugeisona tristis (detail)

palm symmetry

Plectocomia khasiyana

"The author of over 150 botanical titles, including the great flora of Brazil, Karl Friedrich Philipp von Martius also wrote the still-definitive three-volume treatise on the palm family, one of the first plant monographs. He developed his life-long fascination with palms during an expedition through Brazil [map] from 1817 to 1820, and he worked nearly 30 years to prepare this grand summation, including palms found only as fossils." [source]

All three volumes of 'Historia Naturalis Palmarum' are available at the Botanicus website from the Missouri Botanical Gardens. This lavishly illustrated series included systematic descriptions of all known species in the palm family (Arecaceae). The illustrations were produced by Martius himself and Ferdinand Bauer (among others).

You can get an idea of how enormous the available jp2 image files of each chromolithograph are by clicking on those couple of illustration details towards the end of the sampling above. [each image file is about 3Mb and converts to ~20Mb jpeg files] Mouse over the images - taken from all three volumes - for the botanical names (in most cases).

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Zanerian Alphabets, 19th C.

The original penwork alphabet designs below are from 
the Zaner-Bloser Penmanship Collection, donated to the 
Harry & Jeanette Weinberg Memorial Library at  
the University of Scranton, Pennsylvania in 2010.

"The Weinberg Memorial Library houses the Zaner-Bloser Penmanship Collection, which is one of the most extensive collections of American ornamental penmanship from the late 19th and early 20th centuries." [..]

The company was founded in 1888 by Charles P. Zaner as the Zanerian School of Penmanship. Elmer W. Bloser purchased a share of the company in 1891 and in 1895 the school changed its name to the Zaner-Bloser Company. Zaner-Bloser Inc. [..]

Originally, the school prepared students for careers as penmen. Penmen often worked in business, preparing ledgers, writing correspondence and creating documents before the invention of the typewriter. Zaner-Bloser also taught students to become teachers of penmanship, illustrators and engravers, as well as engrossers, who employ the type of ornamental writing used for diplomas and certificates. During the 20th century Zaner-Bloser concentrated on the education market providing manuals, teaching aids, and other materials for elementary schools. [source]

'The company began publishing its own penmanship manuals. As the company history states: "In 1904, Zaner-Bloser published The Zaner Method of Arm Movement, a landmark text that taught the simplified style of writing learned by students at the Zanerian to children in elementary schools all over the United States. This book also applied the findings of psychologists who had discovered that young children completed manual tasks more easily if allowed to use the large arm movements that were natural to them at their early stage of motor skills development." ' [source]

Zaner album of alphabet designs - Medieval Ornament
Medieval Ornament alphabet

Zaner-Bloser collection original alphabet - Broad Pen Medieval or Church Text
Modernised Broad Pen Medieval and Church Text alphabet

Old English alphabet from Zaner-Bloser Penmanship collection
Old English alphabet

original ink design sketch of Ornamental Egyptian alphabet
Ornamental Egyptian alphabet

Zanerian typeform, early 20th century - Ornamented Semi-Script
Ornamented Semi-Script alphabet

ink design of writings script - Ornate Roman
Ornate Roman alphabet

original ink drawing of penmanship alphabet - Broad-pen Roman
Broad-pen Roman alphabet

Penmanship alphabet example - Round Letter
Round Letter alphabet

Zaner design for penmanship manual -- Semi-Round Letters
Semi-Round Letters alphabet

original ink sketch of Aesthetic Text alphabet
Aesthetic Text alphabet

Penmanship publication design - Block Ornament
Block Ornament alphabet

alphabet design in pen and ink of Italian Square Top alphabet
Italian Square Top alphabet

Light Line Block Marking or Skeleton typeform
Light Line Block Marking or Skeleton alphabet
...This is my favourite, results close to me to Din Regular font, which is my most used font; but I cant't use that on blogger... Engineers from Alphabet:: what's going on B)

Zaner-Blosen penmanship collection example design - Single Line Centre  or Sickles (U Scranton, Pennsylvania)
Single Line Centre or Sickles alphabet

Applied Lettering of Proportional Modification
Applied Lettering of Proportion Modification

More specifically, the images above were selected from the 1900 and 1910 editions of 'The New Zanerian Alphabets'. So far, only a small amount of the Weinberg Memorial Library collection has been posted online. The image files available on the site are very large (~6000px or more on the long side) but image focus is a significant issue. I reduced the image sizes by about two thirds for display here... one last thing, post title should be 20th C but...

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

The Jewel Book, 16th C

royal chess game in Bavaria

Jewel Book of the Duchess Anna of Bavaria (1550s) j

Jewel Book of the Duchess Anna of Bavaria (1550s) m

Jewel Book of the Duchess Anna of Bavaria (1550s) u

Jewel Book of the Duchess Anna of Bavaria (1550s) b

Jewel Book of the Duchess Anna of Bavaria (1550s) d

Jewel Book of the Duchess Anna of Bavaria (1550s) e

Jewel Book of the Duchess Anna of Bavaria (1550s) s

Jewel Book of the Duchess Anna of Bavaria (1550s) f

Jewel Book of the Duchess Anna of Bavaria (1550s) g

Jewel Book of the Duchess Anna of Bavaria (1550s) i

Jewel Book of the Duchess Anna of Bavaria (1550s) k

Jewellery of the Duchess Anna of Bavaria

Jewel Book of the Duchess Anna of Bavaria (1550s) a

Jewel Book of the Duchess Anna of Bavaria (1550s) n

Jewel Book of the Duchess Anna of Bavaria (1550s) o

Jewel Book of the Duchess Anna of Bavaria (1550s) q

Jewel Book of the Duchess Anna of Bavaria (1550s) v

Jewel Book of the Duchess Anna of Bavaria (1550s) w

Jewel Book of the Duchess Anna of Bavaria (1550s) x

Puppies and members of the royal court look on as the serious Duchess Anna and Duke Albrecht V of Bavaria face each other across a chessboard. We can only speculate as to why such a modest scene was chosen as a prelude to an album recording, in stark contrast, the ostentatious display of wealth from their marriage and position in society.

Perhaps they wished to stress that, in spite of the precious stones and extravagant jewellery in their possession, their lives were driven more by intellectual pursuits than by the mere trappings of office?

But when we look closely, the attendants aren't even watching the game, are they? Well, one is at least, the chap on the left, and perhaps another; the rest of them appear to have their eyes (and thoughts?) diverted from the issue presently before the crown. Is there an inference here about a lack of trust or treacherous shenanigans afoot? I have no idea. What say you Wikipedia?

"Albert was educated at Ingolstadt under good Catholic teachers. In 1547 he married Anna von Habsburg, a daughter of Ferdinand I, Holy Roman Emperor and Anna of Bohemia and Hungary (1503–1547), daughter of King Ladislaus II of Bohemia and Hungary and his wife Anne de Foix, the union was designed to end the political rivalry between Austria and Bavaria.

Albert was now free to devote himself to the task of establishing Catholic conformity in his dominions. A strict Catholic by upbringing, Albert was a leader of the German Counter-Reformation. Incapable by nature of passionate adherence to any religious principle, and given rather to a life of idleness and pleasure, he pursued the work of repression because he was convinced that the cause of Catholicism was inseparably connected with the fortunes of the house of Wittelsbach. He took little direct share in the affairs of government, nevertheless, and easily lent himself to the plans of his advisers, among whom during the early part of his reign were two sincere Catholics, Georg Stockhammer and Wiguleus Hundt. The latter took an important part in the events leading up to the treaty of Passau (1552) and the peace of Augsburg (1555)."

As tempting as it may be to finesse these 'facts' to account for the chess game scene, I'll resist. It was just as likely an editorial choice on the part of the artist, Hans Mielich, who simply cranked out a dutifully solemn scene on a whim, without any specific subtext in mind.

The paper and parchment manuscript displays more than one hundred gouache sketches of seventy pieces of jewellery, the vast majority belonging to Duchess Anna and the remainder to the Duke. Mielich spent at least two years preparing the sketches and the work was completed in 1555.

To be honest, my attention was primarily drawn - at first - not to the jewellery itself, but to the borders and frame decorations. It's essentially a parade of Renaissance and classical motifs featuring strapwork, grotesques, caryatids, arabesques, cartouches, foliage and the occasional animal and trophy. Bearing in mind that the above selection is just a sampling, the manuscript as a whole offers a dizzying array of these decorative forms. The jewels themselves are exquisitely detailed. It may have taken me a while to warm up to it, but this really is a gorgeous manuscript.