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

Archive for the ‘Internet Archive’ tag


John Batten’s Indian Fairy Tales


I keep intending to write some longer pieces, including a review of Aleksei German’s unforgettable Hard To Be A God, but the workload has been heavy again so here’s another illustrated book. Illustrations by John Dickson Batten (1860–1932) have appeared here before, all of them for collections of fairy tales compiled and adapted by Joseph Jacobs. […]

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Liénard’s grotesques


Yesterday’s book was from the Internet Archive scans of the Sterling and Francine Clark Art Institute Library. The majority of the books in the collection are related to textiles or crafts but the archive has a few design books of which this is one example. Spécimens de la Décoration et de l’Ornementation au XIXe Siècle […]

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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 […]

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


Célio’s Les Amis du Crime


More porn. The Internet Archive has, until recently, been a somewhat chaste place where illustrations of sexual encounters are concerned. That’s mostly a result of their books being scans of works from libraries that wouldn’t have stocked illustrated editions of De Sade and company. Les Amis du Crime, together with yesterday’s volume, is part of […]

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The recent upgrading of the Internet Archive website has made visual browsing somewhat easier than before: areas visited in the past now offer up items that might have been overlooked. This is one such result, one of the many mysterious documents in the Manly Palmer Hall collection of occult manuscripts. Unlike the handwritten texts in […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {occult} | 3 comments »


Welles at 100


Orson Welles: A First Biography (1946) by Roy Alexander Fowler. Happy birthday, Orson. The premature celebrity biography is nothing new, as this small volume from the Coulthart library demonstrates. Welles was only 31 in 1946 but was already the director of three feature films. If I’m less of a Welles obsessive today it’s because many […]

Posted in {books}, {film}, {horror}, {science fiction}, {television}, {theatre} | 2 comments »


The case of the fin de siècle fleuron


I said yesterday that poppies are a common feature of the fin de siècle magazines for the convenient way they combine long-stemmed flowers—ideal for all those Art Nouveau flourishes—with narcotic connotations that signal Decadence. The spiralling fleuron above is one example that readers of Savoy books may recognise, an occasional company logo which has been […]

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Cocorico graphics


A final visit to Cocorico, the French humour magazine of the fin de siècle. Where graphics are concerned I’ve ignored the cartoons to concentrate on the Art Nouveau decoration which is plentiful in the early issues. The star here is Louis Popineau, an artist I only knew from the excessively florid page above which is […]

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More Esteban Maroto


Psychedelic Kali from Vampirella 18. Copies of the Dracula comics may be scarce these days but two of the artists who appeared in the title—Esteban Maroto and José Beá—were also appearing regularly in Vampirella around the same time. The Internet Archive has a large collection of Warren titles including an almost complete run of Vampirella. […]

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Harry Clarke’s Fairy Tales of Charles Perrault


After posting John Austen’s Perrault illustrations I intended to follow-up with other versions but work has been non-stop lately so it’s taken most of this month to do so. Harry Clarke’s edition of Perrault was published in 1922, and while it’s not exactly unfamiliar its one of his illustrated editions that gets overshadowed by the […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {fantasy}, {illustrators} | 1 comment »


René Binet revisited


I wrote something about French designer and architect René Binet (1866–1911) a few years ago while exploring the creation of the Paris Exposition Universelle of 1900. Binet designed the remarkable monumental gate that formed the entrance to the exhibition, a structure that demonstrated his proposal that natural forms might replace historical pastiche as a basis […]

Posted in {architecture}, {art nouveau}, {books}, {design} | 1 comment »


William Heath Robinson’s Rabelais


Ending the year with some Heath Robinson illustrations I’d not seen before, probably because their grotesque qualities set them apart from the rest of his whimsical drawings and fairy tale illustrations. Illustrated editions of Rabelais are rare owing to the coarse and scatological nature of the novels. Gustave Doré‘s robust and bloodthirsty character made him […]

Posted in {art}, {black and white}, {books}, {fantasy}, {illustrators} | 2 comments »


Jean de Bosschère’s The City Curious


“…it’s a shame there isn’t more of [Jean de Bosschère's] idiosyncratic work at the Internet Archive,” I wrote in 2012. The reason that Bosschère’s books aren’t immediately to hand is that the Internet Archive has misspelled his name in many of their tags, not the first time that searches there are thwarted by errors or […]

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Willy Pogány’s Rubáiyát


Willy Pogány’s work is no stranger to these pages, and I did once link to scans of his illustrated Rubáiyát although the site where those images were posted has since migrated. Pogány’s edition, which dates from 1909, presents the quatrains in beautifully lettered and decorated pages separated by watercolour plates. The Persian details may be […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {illustrators} | 1 comment »


Weekend links 233


Alchemical Stone (2014) by Daniel Lasso Casas. Via full fathom five. • “I am unsure if this reality is an everyday one. We don’t know if the universe belongs to a realist genre or a fantastic one, because if, as idealists believe, everything is a dream, then what we call reality is essentially oneiric.” Jorge […]

Posted in {art}, {books}, {borges}, {cities}, {design}, {electronica}, {fashion}, {gay}, {music}, {television}, {typography} | 2 comments »


George Barbier’s Mirages


Mirages (1919) is a book of poems by Renée de Brimont with illustrations by George Barbier, an artist whose work has featured here on several occasions. This is a minor addition to the Barbier oeuvre with fewer illustrations than I would have hoped for, a handful of designs that show a different style to his […]

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Paul Konewka’s Faust


Discovered via the GoetheZeitPortal, these illustrations for Faust by German artist Paul Konewka (1841–1871) date from 1865, although the copies here are from a later edition. Konewka was a silhouette cutter so while these may look like ink illustrations they’re actually paper silhouettes displaying a formidable level of detail and complexity. Whatever the technique, the […]

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Robert Fludd’s Temples of Music


For the past week I’ve been downloading more of the books at the Internet Archive illustrated by Matthäus Merian. Among the hoard there’s a two-volume set of Robert Fludd’s Utriusque Cosmi, Maioris scilicet et Minoris, metaphysica, physica, atque technica Historia (1617–1626), a remarkable work which attempts to cover all the metaphysical, scientific and artistic knowledge […]

Posted in {architecture}, {art}, {books}, {design}, {illustrators}, {music} | 9 comments »


Rules and Examples of Perspective Proper, 1693


I’m working on more engraving collage at the moment so I’ve been delving into the scanned books at the Internet Archive once more in search of raw material. I still tend to use things scanned from paper volumes but the Internet Archive is useful for small details, and searches there also have the advantage of […]

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Specimens of Chromatic Wood Type


You don’t see many type specimen books in colour; offhand I can’t think of seeing any before this one. Specimens of Chromatic Wood Type, Borders, Etc. Manufactured by Wm. H. Page & Co dates from 1874, and features 100 examples of the very bold typefaces and border designs you find on 19th-century billboards and posters. […]

Posted in {books}, {design}, {typography} | 2 comments »







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