The World Around Us

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

The World Around Us

Moon map

Telescope emplacement + scaffold

Insect wing microscopy

House-fly head  + eye microscopy

Human finger microscopy

Sailing galleons

Manta ray species

Fish species

fish + seahorse

Middle Eastern costumes + whirling dervish

Fungi species


Limestone cave


Kangaroo and related species

Known as 'Bertuch's Bilderbuch für Kinder', this rather enlightened 12-volume natural history / science / enthnographic encyclopedia for children was published in instalments between 1790 and 1830. In passing, I noted* that a complete edition was sold last year for over €20,000.

Three of the volumes are available from the University of Heidelberg (after selecting a volume, click anything below 'Inhalt' and then 'Vorschau' for thumbnail pages). The majority of images above were selected from Volume Two, as I recall.

Inspired by the groundbreaking 17th century pictorial text for children, 'Orbis Sensualium Pictus' by Jan Comenius, 'Bertuch's Bilderbuch für Kinder' contains well over a thousand hand-coloured engraved plates, some apparently produced by William Blake.
  • The Wikipedia article on the publisher, Friederich Bertuch, has a few more plates from the series.
  • The last image above comes from the National Library of Australia. They have selectively digitised the local flora, fauna and indigenous people illustrations from Volume One. (click on 'selected plates and pages').
  • See also: Medusa (detail) posted in February and Greenwich Hospital from Flickr user mando maniac.
  • Update: Looks like the whole series is available at Herzogin Anna Amalia Bibliothek (the server seemed fairly slow when I tested it)

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