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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.

Archive for the ‘cephalopods’ tag


Weekend links 272


No Passing (1954) by Kay Sage. • More Lovecraftiana: She Walks In Shadows, an illustrated all-woman Lovecraftian anthology, will be published in October. Related: “The octopus genome and the evolution of cephalopod neural and morphological novelties“, a study that’s been filtering through the press as “Do octopuses have alien DNA?” • “The right to ‘subject […]

Posted in {architecture}, {art}, {books}, {electronica}, {film}, {horror}, {lovecraft}, {music}, {occult}, {painting}, {politics}, {science fiction}, {science}, {surrealism} | 3 comments »


Weekend links 217


Le Petit Journal, June 16, 1912. Via Beautiful Century. • Occult art by Nicomi Nix Turner, Daniel Martin Diaz, Amy Earles and William Crisafi. Related: Illustrations by Ernest M. Jessop for The Witches Frolic by Thomas Ingoldsby. • “Our definition of ‘Industrial’ then was a very broad one, it’s definitely not so much now.” Chris […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {comics}, {design}, {electronica}, {film}, {horror}, {illustrators}, {music}, {occult}, {television}, {theatre}, {work} | 2 comments »


The Cephalopoda of the Hawaiian Islands


A little something for Darwin Day, and a collection of illustrations I hadn’t seen before. The Cephalopoda of the Hawaiian Islands (1914) is another title in the splendid (and huge) collection of the Biodiversity Heritage Library whose Flickr sets have been linked here before. Some of those prior examples have ended up being collaged into […]

Posted in {books}, {science} | 1 comment »


Weekend links 136


Der Triumph des Tintenfisches from Meggendorfer-Blätter (c. 1900). Via Beautiful Century. Much dismay this week at the news that Coilhouse—the web and print magazine founded in 2008 by Nadya Lev, Meredith Yayanos and Zoetica Ebb—was closing its doors for the foreseeable future. I always loved what they were doing, and was delighted when S. Elizabeth […]

Posted in {architecture}, {art}, {books}, {borges}, {electronica}, {gay}, {magazines}, {music}, {politics}, {science fiction}, {sculpture} | 1 comment »


Vampyroteuthis Infernalis by Vilém Flusser


Cover design by Michel Vrana. This, then, is the book that arrived a fortnight ago when I just happened to be in the midst of a week of tentacle posts. Vampyroteuthis Infernalis: A Treatise, with a Report by the Institut Scientifique de Recherche Paranaturaliste was originally published in Germany in 1987. This new edition is […]

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Tentacles #5: Art Nouveau


Fob watch (c. 1890) made by Gorham for Tiffany. Concluding a week of tentacular posts. I was tempted to do something about tentacle porn but that subject has already been covered here, and besides, there’s rather a lot of it around these days. Given the writhing nature of octopus limbs you’d expect there to be […]

Posted in {art nouveau}, {design}, {fashion} | 4 comments »


Tentacles #3: Dwellers in the Mirage


Illustration by Robert A. Graef (1932). If the predatory octopuses of the Sargasso Sea are too mundane for you, how about an extra-dimensional Kraken named Khalk’ru which has to be placated with human sacrifice? This creature is the prime menace in A. Merritt’s Dwellers in the Mirage (1932), a novel I’m afraid I haven’t read […]

Posted in {books}, {fantasy}, {illustrators}, {magazines} | 2 comments »


Tentacles #2: The Lost Continent


If William Hope Hodgson’s The Boats of the ‘Glen Carrig’ represents the Sublime of tentacular sea fiction then The Lost Continent, a 1968 Hammer film based on Dennis Wheatley’s 1938 novel Uncharted Seas, is the correspondingly Ridiculous end of the subgenre. The Lost Continent is an irritating film for Hodgson enthusiasts since it’s still the […]

Posted in {books}, {film}, {horror} | 9 comments »


Tentacles #1: The Boats of the ‘Glen Carrig’


Famous Fantastic Mysteries, June 1945. Illustration by Lawrence (Sterne Stevens). Following last week’s revelation of Lovecraftian horror, I thought it might be worth demonstrating just how much the tentacle-menacing-a-ship scenario is owned by William Hope Hodgson. The Boats of the ‘Glen Carrig’ (1907) is one of Hodgson’s lesser novels, overshadowed by the cosmic horrors of […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {horror}, {illustrators}, {painting} | 5 comments »


S. Latitude 47°9′, W. Longitude 126°43′


Then, driven ahead by curiosity in their captured yacht under Johansen’s command, the men sight a great stone pillar sticking out of the sea, and in S. Latitude 47°9′, W. Longitude 126°43′, come upon a coastline of mingled mud, ooze, and weedy Cyclopean masonry which can be nothing less than the tangible substance of earth’s […]

Posted in {books}, {film}, {horror}, {lovecraft}, {work} | 9 comments »


Books of blood


Artist Nick Kushner writes to alert me that his 2010 painting Maldoror: Satan Seated Upon His Throne has been used on the cover of a recent Russian edition of Lautréamont’s novel. Kushner uses his own blood to create his paintings, and the cover below has been created using the same material. Maldoror himself would no […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {gay} | 2 comments »


Weekend links 123


La Perspective Curieuse (1663) by Jean François Nicéron. From Curious Perspectives at BibliOdyssey. • 1612 Underture is a forthcoming album by The Eccentronic Research Council and Maxine Peake which extends the electronics + occult concept to encompass Kraftwerk and the Pendle Witches. The Quietus has a review of their album, and an interview and report […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {drugs}, {electronica}, {film}, {music}, {occult}, {photography}, {science} | 4 comments »


Sea and Land: An Illustrated History


It’s all fun and games until someone gets bitten in twain by a shark. Illustrations from a Flickr selection of plates from Sea and Land: An Illustrated History (1887) by JW Buel, a compendium of stories about the natural world which tend towards the sensational. Many of these pictures are from what I call the […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {illustrators} | 6 comments »


Gay octopus sex


So now that I have your undivided attention… You’d think someone would have tried a male variation on Hokusai’s notorious Dream of the Fisherman’s Wife (1814) before now but if they have I’ve not seen it. Hokusai gives us a father-and-son pair of amorous octopuses but the smaller creature is missing from this picture by […]

Posted in {art}, {gay} | 5 comments »


Weekend links 101


Kraken from Ernie Cabat’s Magical World Of Monsters (1992) at Monster Brains. “I think for a lot of people who don’t read pulp growing up, there’s a real surprise that the particular kind of Pulp Modernism of a certain kind of lush purple prose isn’t necessarily a failure or a mistake, but is part of […]

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Cthulhoid and Artflakes


Cthulhoid (2012). Hot on the scaly heels of my recent Cthulhu God comes a new collage work I was messing with over Christmas. This was done in part as a reaction to the earlier picture which I’m very happy with but which looks cleaner and flatter than I prefer for Lovecraft-related things. I’d also found […]

Posted in {art}, {horror}, {lovecraft}, {work} | 6 comments »


Le Poulpe Colossal


If this isn’t quite the ur-Kraken of illustration history, it’s one of them, reproduced countless times when sea monster depictions are required. The source is Histoire naturelle, générale et particuliere, des mollusques, animaux sans vertèbres et a sang blanc (1802) by Felix de Roissy, some of whose other illustrations are in this Flickr set from […]

Posted in {books}, {science} | 3 comments »


Weekend links 86


Salammbô by Alastair (Hans Henning Voight) from Harry Crosby‘s Red Skeletons (1927). Dover published a new collection of Alastair’s drawings in September. “A Taste of Honey showed working-class women from a working-class woman’s point of view, had a gay man as a central and sympathetic figure, and a black character who was neither idealised nor […]

Posted in {art}, {black and white}, {books}, {comics}, {design}, {electronica}, {film}, {gay}, {illustrators}, {music}, {psychedelia}, {science fiction}, {surrealism}, {theatre} | 3 comments »


Abysmal creatures


Bezdna (Abyss). A couple of film posters from a time when poster artists weren’t prevented from treating their subject in a symbolic manner. Both these designs are the work of one M. Kalmanson (and I’m assuming here that the scant information is accurate), and both are for Russian films produced in 1917. Beautiful Century alerted […]

Posted in {design}, {film} | 7 comments »


Weekend links 73


Johnny Trunk of Trunk Records reissued the soundtrack to The Wicker Man in 1997. Mr Trunk’s latest delve into the cultural past is Own Label: Sainsbury’s Design Studio, a book from Fuel examining the supermarket chain’s packaging design of the 1960s and 1970s. Creative Review shows some examples while I have to note the uncanny […]

Posted in {art}, {black and white}, {books}, {design}, {electronica}, {film}, {music}, {occult}, {politics}, {psychedelia}, {science fiction}, {science}, {technology} | 2 comments »







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