The World of Wonders


This is the kind of Victorian book I enjoy a great deal, something that might be regarded as a Wunderkammer in paper form: not an encyclopedia, and not a science text-book but containing the kinds of articles you’d find in both. The chief attraction is the engraved illustrations, of course, although the articles themselves are often of interest. The World of Wonders dates from 1883, and is subtitled “A record of things wonderful in nature, science, and art”. This is very like a book I own entitled The Pictorial Cabinet of Marvels although The World of Wonders is the superior work, with a larger page count and a wider range of subjects. This is also only Volume 1, although I’ve not searched through the Internet Archive to see whether they have any further volumes. The illustrations are from a PDF, the page scans are much better quality. And I was pleased to find that two of the plates shown below—Barnacles and A Coal Forest—were combined by Wilfried Sätty for one of his Poe collages. (I’d scan the Sätty picture but I don’t want to spoil the book.) I’ve recently been commissioned to create some more engraving collages so volumes such as this may be useful source material.



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