Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Well it's a difficult decision for her...

Captain Jack Sparrow versus Jareth the Goblin King

If you had to choose* would it be Jack or Jareth?

I think the Goblin King would probably smell better. All of us who ever drooled over Mr Depp as Captain Sparrow never thought of that part of his character did we? A former partner asked me if I'd like to give him a bath - good point and that could be fun...

Jack Sparrow, eat your heart out!
See more Celebrity LOLs.

The above is not one of my LOLs though I have put up a couple of Jack Sparrow LOLs and if you be so kind as to vote for either of them I would be appreciative!

*'To do what with him?' you may well ask. Let your imagination run riot with that one though I know what I have in mind ;)

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Elizabeth and Mary Kirby's authorship

'The World at Home', by Mary and Elizabeth Kirby, published by T. Nelson and Sons, London, 1888 is the source for some of the vintage clippings recently shared here.

A quick bit of googling reveals:

'Elizabeth KIRBY (F: 1823 Dec 15 - 1873 Jun 23)
Steps Up The Ladder (anon) [1862]
Dame Buckle And Her Pet Johnny (anon) [1867]
The World At Home (w Mary KIRBY) [1869]
The Sea And Its Wonders (w Mary KIRBY) [1870]
Lost Cities Brought To Light (anon) [1871]
Margaret's Choice (aka: The Mistress Of The Manor) (anon) [1872]
Beautiful Birds In Far-Off Lands (w Mary KIRBY) [1872]
Humming-Birds (w Mary KIRBY) [1874]
Birds Of Gay Plumage - Birds Of Paradise (w Mary KIRBY) [1875]
Birds Of Gay Plumage - Sun Birds (w Mary KIRBY) [1875]
Aunt Martha's corner cupboard: or, Stories about tea, coffee, sugar, rice, etc. (w Gregg, Mary Kirby) [1887]
& more natural history related titles.

Ah [sigh and smirk] there's a certain innocence that's part of the Victorian age which makes the part of my mind that's quickly in the gutter, giggle. The part that loves old stuff and the way language changes, smiles and glows for being enlightened.

Clearly the Kirby sisters(?) had a shared passion for the exotic and far-off, natural history and bird-life in particular. Their work is widely considered to have made a significant, historical contribution to non-fiction literature. Various titles are available as reprints here.

I was originally going to cut up my copy of their work for making my signature surreal collages since it is falling apart and has been hand-coloured with watercolours randomly, by a previous owner rather than the publisher. Now I think I'll keep it in one piece!

* From The New General Catalog of Old Books and Authors

Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Shark in 1888

by W.H.F. & E. Etherington

'He likes to keep up with a ship, because then he can catch whatever is thrown overboard. He is not at all dainty, as you will think, when I tell you a pair of old boots was one day thrown at him. The shark swam up, opened his great jaws, and swallowed them as if he thought them very nice.'*

THE SHARK*, detail
Notice his resemblance to a seal with furry skin and a narrowing at the neck.
His tail changes between the illustrations from vaguely mammalian to something more piscine (below).

by W.H.F. & E. Etherington

The story of the shark concludes with the sailors on said ship catching and killing the shark using a chunk of meat on a hook and chain. His crime: following the ship in case there's a man overboard, who he would 'swallow... in a minute'! Surprisingly no mention is made of eating him. It is typical of texts from this period to describe the uses and edibility of fauna. The text does discuss the uses of shagreen, the polished leather made from shark skin.

*Images from The World at Home, by Mary and Elizabeth Kirby, published by T. Nelson and Sons, London, 1888.

Monday, November 03, 2008

A Sand Storm and A Strange Visitor

by Van'Dargent and Demarle (??)
Depiction of a sand storm on The Llanos plains or Los Llanos (meaning the flat plains), of Colombia and Venezuela in South America.

by M Jackson Sr(?) & KH
From the same region a dormant crocodile buried in mud, is uncovered and awakened by the monsoon** rains. Given the location of the hypothetical story behind this picture, it's most likely to be an Orinoco Crocodile. This is the largest predator of the South American continent, reaching lengths of up to 20ft or 6 metres! Unfortunately due to extensive hunting for its leather during the 19th and 20th centuries, and now due to pollution, it is a critically endangered species. So any traveller like the ones depicted in this story would be indeed be privileged - as well as alarmed, naturally - to witness such an occurance today.

*Images from The World at Home, by Mary and Elizabeth Kirby, published by T. Nelson and Sons, London, 1888.
**Monsoon describes a particular, heavy, seasonal rainfall and is no longer considered a meteorological term specific to the India.

Skull a Day & Street Anatomy

Bird dropping skull

At Skull a day this bird poo would be described as a simulacra. I spotted it after hopping out of my car yesterday afternoon. You can find more skullish simulacra on Sundays, reader submissions, and the original skulls from each day of a year made by the site's author.

i-Pirate - Now with Skulls!
clay, card, found objects

Admittedly I have found some of the skull simulacra a bit tenous, and sometimes I think the author phoned in the skull for the day. There also isn't many non-human skulls. However skulls like the Chinese calligraphy skull, the chewing gum dot and chalk skulls, and many of the found object ones are so outstandingly nifty that you can easily forgive these things.

Noah Scalin, site author, decided one day to make a skull a day for a year. At times he would struggle to find a new and exciting material, he would come across something unconventional as an art material like petroleum jelly, while on other days something spoke to him, such is the way with art. He dabbled in media he hadn't used for years and challenged himself with new ones. He's been plugging his site book a lot there lately! There's a Facebook application to give your friends skulls each day. So if you like skulls and art you will enjoy Skull a Day.


If that doesn't tickle your fancy try the blog, Street Anatomy which has more than artsy skulls. You will find art with street cred, all relating to the anatomy of humans and animals in varying medical depth, some vintage some contemporary, some might not be there tomorrow while others are there for a lifetime, all in a variety of media. Cool stuff for the slightly morbid or scientifically curious art browser, and well worth reading right through to the beginning of this blog's archive.