Selecting what to buy usually falls to our Bright Young Librarian, Patrick Olson, but I will confess that this one was my doing. It is nice to teach class sessions with an old friend.
Hartmut F. W. Höft
De mulieribus claris (On Famous Women) is a collection of biographies of historical and mythological women by the Florentine author Giovanni Boccaccio, first published in 1374. It is notable as the first collection devoted exclusively to biographies of women in Western literature.
These illustrations are from an illuminated edition of the book, probably 15th century, by an unknown artist and currently in the National library of France.
Femme cyborg, via Adam Roberts
Le Canard Enchaîné (The Chained Duck) is a weekly satricial publication that’s been going since 1915 and is one of those rare successful enterprises that totally outlaws any adverstising : they stay afloat on the back of their sales alone.
Illustration of Dutch damask merchant Levinus Vincent’s cabinet of curiosities (aka ‘wunderkammer' or 'rariteitenkabinet’.) The visitor book for his cabinet included at least 3,500 entries, including Peter the Great.
Bibliodyssey had a nice post on Dutch wunderkammer a few years ago which includes more images of Vincent’s collections, as well as those of fellow Dutch collector Albertus Seba.
From: Levinus Vincent’s Elenchus tabularum, pinacothecarum, atque nonnullorum cimeliorum (1719)
Curios astrological talismen & sigils by Julius Reichelt from his 1676 book, 'Exercitatio, de Amuletis, æneis Figuris Illustrata' [source] (the 8 illustrations are up the back of the book)
See: '‘Magic coins’ and ‘magic squares’: the discovery of astrological sigils in the Oldenburg Letters' from the Royal Society for much MUCH more information about the associated esoteric collection / cabala / numismatics / astrology & geometry phenomena.
Mermaid | siren from a very little 1718 book of monsters & wonders, 'Zur Historia Naturali Gehörige..'.
Bibliothèque nationale de France, Français 882, f. 21r. La saincte et tres chrestienne Cabale, metrifiée par… Frère Jehan Thenaud. 15th century
I wonder where *this* particular image actually comes from?? The quoted citation leads to a photocopy quality book.
The following quote comes from: jec2.chez.com/christieart.pdf - 'THE DECRYPTING OF THE KABBALISTIC VALUE OF THIRTY-SEVEN' by Ian Christie-Miller, May 2000 (15pp ?academic thesis)
Jean Thenaud, a Franciscan from the king’s home region of Angoulême had intimate access to the royal family. The king commissioned Thenaud to travel to the Holy Land and although the report on this voyage was published all Thenaud’s other works, which include poetical commentary, horoscopes, monumental moralistic directives for the royal household and the two Kabbalistic works remained in manuscript. (All his works were written in French). The first Kabbalistic work was the 1519 manuscript La saincte et très chrestienne cabale metrifiée (BN. Fr. 882) which was in verse and which, perhaps because of this, did not gain royal approval. Thenaud rewrote his findings and in 1521 duly presented Traité de la cabale (Arsenal ms. 5061).
Horse-flourish calligraphy from German book: 'Selbstlehrende Canzleymässig dresdnische Schreibe-Schule' 1755 - gallica.bnf.fr - (the book has 30 illustrations, but only a few seem to be online)
The bloke depicted is presumably one from the list of state leaders in 1755.