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The Oddment Emporium

A Cornucopia of Eclectic Delights

Posts tagged Illustration:

600 years ago technology was rather more limited and armies had to make the very best of their resources - in whatever shape or form they may take. One such quest to steal a march on the enemy led to the publication of a whacky manuscript from 16th Century Germany which even considered using cats and birds to bomb opposing forces.
Called Feuer Buech, which translates from old German as Fire Book, the 235-page treatise from 1584 contains a drawing of a feline and his feathered friend with ‘rocket packs’ strapped to backs as they ran and fly past a castle.
It’s not clear whether they were actually used, but animals have for centuries been deployed in warfare, often to deliver messages or for transportation, but sometimes as weapons. In the 16th Century, a German artillery officer once presented a plan to use cats to spread poisonous gas among enemy soldiers, although it was never enacted.

600 years ago technology was rather more limited and armies had to make the very best of their resources - in whatever shape or form they may take. One such quest to steal a march on the enemy led to the publication of a whacky manuscript from 16th Century Germany which even considered using cats and birds to bomb opposing forces.

Called Feuer Buech, which translates from old German as Fire Book, the 235-page treatise from 1584 contains a drawing of a feline and his feathered friend with ‘rocket packs’ strapped to backs as they ran and fly past a castle.

It’s not clear whether they were actually used, but animals have for centuries been deployed in warfare, often to deliver messages or for transportation, but sometimes as weapons. In the 16th Century, a German artillery officer once presented a plan to use cats to spread poisonous gas among enemy soldiers, although it was never enacted.

Fore-Edge Painting

Fore-edge paintingis the technique of painting the edges of the leaves of a book. From 1650 onward
binders practiced a new decorative method of fore-edge painting: floral scrolls or scenes were painted upon the fanned-out fore-edge of the leaves and concealed by a normal gilt edge when the book was closed; 
they became visible only when it was opened. This decorative device was continued 
in the 18th century, but by the late 19th century had begun to wane in popularity. 

Thomas H. Horne, in his 1814 “Introduction to the Study of Bibliography,” gives credit to the Edwards of Halifax bindery for creating a “method of gilding … and decorating the edges of the leaves with exquisite paintings.” The Edwards firm was founded by William Edwards (1723-1808) and Horne says that he has seen “landscapes thus executed with a degree of beauty and fidelity that are truly astonishing, and when held up to the light in an oblique direction, the scenery appears as delicate as in the finest productions of the pencil.”

There were also the more elaborate double fore edge paintings, in which the fore edge hides not one but two paintings, one appearing when the leaves are fanned to the left, the other when they are fanned to the right. The split fore-edge painting reveals both scenes at once when the volume is laid open at the middle, as in the central image above.

Stately homes and ruins – whether classical or medieval – were popular subjects [then] Later in the 19th century, fore-edge artists turned to more natural, everyday scenes, such as views of docks or harbor fronts, busy with activity and enlivened by the presence of workers. Less common were scenes like the winter scene, bare branches being much more tedious to paint than green, leafy clouds of trees. The imaginative design[s], rich detail, and expert execution indicate artist[s] of the highest skill. [Source]

(Source: dictionary.reference.com)

Christmas Card Curiosties

From Christmas Curiosties: Odd, Dark and Forgotten Christmas by John Grossman.

Advent Calendar of Oddments 2012: December 11th 

(Source: doowackadoodles.blogspot.co.uk)

Tolkien’s The Father Christmas Letters

The Father Christmas Letters is a collection of letters written and illustrated by J. R. R. Tolkien between 1920 and 1942 for his children, from “Father Christmas”. The stories are told in the format of a series of letters, told either from the point of view of Father Christmas or his elvish secretary.

They document the misadventures of Father Christmas and his helpers, including the North Polar Bear and his two sidekick cubs, Paksu and Valkotukka. The stories include descriptions of the massive fireworks that create the northern lights and how Polar Bear manages to get into trouble on more than one occasion.

The 1939 letter has Father Christmas making reference to the Second World War, while some of the later letters featured Father Christmas’ battles against Goblins which were subsequently interpreted as being a reflection of Tolkien’s views on the German Menace.

Advent Calendar of Oddments 2012: December 9th

(Source: Wikipedia)

An 18th Century Concept of Mammals

The above illustrations come from ‘Die Saugthiere in Abbildungen' at Ecole Nationale Vétérinaire de Lyon.

The absurd rendering of many of the animals comes about because the engravers/artists working on the project did not actually see the animals. They had to rely on descriptions and their imagination and, as was the fashion of the time, the animals were placed in contrived settings and often given human facial qualities, which only serves to heighten the sense of bizarre. And thankful we are too.

(Source: bibliodyssey.blogspot.co.uk)

Kaikidan Ekotoba
The Kaikidan Ekotoba is a mysterious handscroll that profiles 33 legendary monsters and human oddities, mostly from the Kyushu region of Japan (with several from overseas). The cartoonish document, whose author is unknown, is believed to date from the mid-19th century. 
The above image tells a tale of a man with massive testicles [who] reportedly made a living as a sideshow attraction at Mt. Satta, on the old Tokaido Road near the city of Shizuoka. His scrotum is said to have measured about a meter across.
[There are other bizarre images available here. Credit also to tywkiwdbi, which is a fabulous blog by the way]

Kaikidan Ekotoba

The Kaikidan Ekotoba is a mysterious handscroll that profiles 33 legendary monsters and human oddities, mostly from the Kyushu region of Japan (with several from overseas). The cartoonish document, whose author is unknown, is believed to date from the mid-19th century. 

The above image tells a tale of a man with massive testicles [who] reportedly made a living as a sideshow attraction at Mt. Satta, on the old Tokaido Road near the city of Shizuoka. His scrotum is said to have measured about a meter across.

[There are other bizarre images available here. Credit also to tywkiwdbi, which is a fabulous blog by the way]

The Haunted Park by Richard Doyle. 1824-1883.

The Haunted Park by Richard Doyle. 1824-1883.

Images from Monstrorum historia cum Paralipomenis historiae omnium animalium by Ulissi Aldrovandi (Aldrovandus), 1642:

During nearly a year of confinement in Rome while fighting a heresy charge, Aldrovandi developed a strong interest in the natural world. He began to collect all manner of specimens which apparently came to constitute a formidable natural history museum for those that visited him.

He travelled quite a bit in his quest for specimens and recorded his observations in some 4000 manuscripts, a number of which were published during his lifetime. His writings include studies in ornithology, medicine, hydrology, zoology, botany and, as can be imagined from the embellished and fantastical images here, a paper on mythical creatures as well (among others).

(Source: bibliodyssey.blogspot.co.uk)

Aldiborontiphoskyphorniostikos
Aldiborontiphoskyphorniostikos was a book that contained a game in which players had to read the snippet for each letter of the alphabet as fast as they could without making a mistake. Alternatively, several players could read the snippets in a staggered manner. The snippets for each letter contain tongue-twisting mock-Latin names whose content is cumulatively appended at the end of each new letter snippet.
The following is the snippet for the letter O:

ODDS NIPPERKINS! cried Mother Bunch on her broomstick, here’s a to-do! as Nicholas Hotch-potch said, Never were such times, as Muley Hassan, Mufti of Moldavia, put on his Barnacles, to see little Tweedle gobble them up, when Kia Khan Kreuse transmogrofied them into Pippins, because Snip’s wife cried, Illikipilliky! lass a-day! ‘tis too bad to titter at a body, when Hamet el Mammet, the bottlenosed Barber of Balasora, laughed ha! ha! ha! on beholding the elephant spout mud over the ‘Prentice, who pricked his trunk with a needle, as Dicky Snip, the tailor, read the proclamation of Chrononhotonthologos, offering a thousand sequins for taking Bombardinian, Bashaw of three tails, who killed Aldiborontiphoskyphorniostikos.

Aldiborontiphoskyphorniostikos

Aldiborontiphoskyphorniostikos was a book that contained a game in which players had to read the snippet for each letter of the alphabet as fast as they could without making a mistake. Alternatively, several players could read the snippets in a staggered manner. The snippets for each letter contain tongue-twisting mock-Latin names whose content is cumulatively appended at the end of each new letter snippet.

The following is the snippet for the letter O:

ODDS NIPPERKINS! cried Mother Bunch on her broomstick, here’s a to-do! as Nicholas Hotch-potch said, Never were such times, as Muley Hassan, Mufti of Moldavia, put on his Barnacles, to see little Tweedle gobble them up, when Kia Khan Kreuse transmogrofied them into Pippins, because Snip’s wife cried, Illikipilliky! lass a-day! ‘tis too bad to titter at a body, when Hamet el Mammet, the bottlenosed Barber of Balasora, laughed ha! ha! ha! on beholding the elephant spout mud over the ‘Prentice, who pricked his trunk with a needle, as Dicky Snip, the tailor, read the proclamation of Chrononhotonthologos, offering a thousand sequins for taking Bombardinian, Bashaw of three tails, who killed Aldiborontiphoskyphorniostikos.

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