17th March 2012
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1858 Histoire Universelle
This Table of Universal History was published in Paris. It visualises the complete history of humankind, top down, from the creation of Adam and Eve to the then present day. Individual cultures are depicted as rivers.
2nd March 2012
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This is one of London’s most beloved landmarks as you’ve never seen her before.
Stripped down to her underwear, the never before seen pictures of Tower Bridge - one of the world’s most recognisable structures - have been unveiled after the stash of hundred-year-old prints were found in a skip.
Coinciding with the 125th anniversary of the bridge’s foundation, the 50 sepia photos reveal in incredible detail the ingenuity behind one of the capital’s most popular tourist destinations, which was the first bridge of its kind in the world.
For more, go here.
Source: Daily Mail
28th February 2012
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The original architectural blueprints for GWR’s Paddington station, now on Network Rail’s archive. Photograph: Network Rail
Drawings by Isambard Kingdom Brunel, blueprints by Robert Stephenson and designs by Joseph Locke, William Henry Barlow and other engineering giants of the 19th-century railway boom will go on permanent display for the first time in a new online archive.
Giant projects covered in the archive include the Forth and Tay bridges, Brunel’s Box Tunnel, and major stations including Paddington with its beautiful swirling iron and glass end screen.
Network Rail inherited a giant archive of more than 5m records dating back more than three centuries – the oldest predate the railways, and go back to a document from 1680 signed by Sir Christopher Wren dealing with a plot of land which would later become Charing Cross station – from its predecessors.
The archivist, Vicky Stretch, said: “The drawings and documents are a window to understanding the incredibly detailed and beautiful; are an absorbing window to understanding the incredibly detailed and beautiful architectural work carried out by some of the world’s greatest engineers; and are still important for engineers working today.”
Some of the records are still in operational use, such as Brunel’s Box Tunnel drawings, as they show details crucial for maintenance such as foundations and construction details.
Only a fraction of the archive is going online in the first phase, but more images and documents will be added – and questions can be sent to the archivist through the site.
18th February 2012
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The Albert Memorial, as published in The Builder, May 23 1863. Image from here.
When Prince Albert died suddenly of typhoid in 1861, Queen Victoria very quickly decided that a memorial should be built to honour her late husband. She invited seven leading architects to submit designs for a monument to be built in Kensington Gardens. It was to be located just to the north of the museums area which Albert had helped to build up, and to the west of where the Great Exhibition had been held.
Designs for a Hall of Arts and Science were also requested. This was another project which Albert had discussed with Henry Cole. They had both hoped for a large hall to be built in the area which could accommodate science meetings, conferences, and music concerts. This project was later to come to light as the Royal Albert Hall.
Funds for the project came from public subscription, although only enough money was raised for the memorial. Early suggestions for the monument, which was initially known as the National Monument to HRH Prince Consort, included a monolithic obelisk. This was to be surrounded by statues, including an equestrian statue of Albert.
In December 1862 designs were submitted by six competing architects. The results of the competition were announced on 22 April 1863. George Gilbert Scott was the winner, with his ornate design for a canopy or tabernacle in the Gothic style, containing a seated statue of Albert. The 176 feet/53 metre tall memorial was opened in 1872 and continues to be major landmark for London.
Image: The National Memorial to the Prince Consort under construction, c.1864.
Photographers: Cundall & Fleming. Copyright: V&A Images. Museum number: 45.775
26th January 2012
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Scent bottle of flashed ruby glass wheel-engraved with a stag and two birds in a landscape with trees on a red ground, cut with eight tall facets, with gilt metal mount with hinged cover, part of the Ida Pappenheim Collection: Bohemian, c. 1840
28th December 2011
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The monocle as we understand it is worn on the face, its edges wedged within the bone socket and dates from the mid 19th century. The handle is now simply a remnant, used only to put the monocle in or take it out, and through which a suspension cord may often be threaded.
A monocle does not even need a rim at all. In the 1830s and 1840s Waldstein of Vienna made some very collectable monocles out of one-piece glass. A study of these shows that monocles do not even need to be round but can even be oval or rectangular. Rimless monocles without handles can be mistaken for trial lenses; look out for the serrations on two edges to avoid making this mistake. In the 20th century monocles were mainly of rolled gold and could come with or without a second partial rim or ‘gallery’ which provided much more stability in wear.
Monocles suffered a public relations disaster in the United Kingdom during the First World War when they became too closely associated with the German High Command and caricaturists used them a shorthand device to suggest arrogance and haughtiness.
20th December 2011
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William Morris was born in Walthamstow, Essex, on 24 March 1834. The son of a wealthy businessman, he enjoyed a comfortable childhood before going to Marlborough and Exeter College, Oxford. He originally intended to take holy orders, but his reading of the social criticism of Carlyle, Kingsley and Ruskin led him to reconsider the Church and devote his life to art.
After leaving Oxford, Morris was briefly articled to G. E. Street, the Gothic Revival architect, but he soon left, having determined to become a painter. His admiration for the Pre-Raphaelites led him to be introduced to Dante Gabriel Rossetti whose influence can be seen on Morris’s only surviving painting La Belle Iseult.
Arts and Crafts
In the 1860s Morris decided that his creative future lay in the field of the decorative arts. His career as a designer began when he decorated the Red House, Bexleyheath, which had been built for him by Philip Webb.
The success of this venture led to the formation of Morris, Marshall, Faulkner & Co. in 1861. The ‘Firm’ (later renamed Morris & Co) was particularly well-known for its stained glass, examples of which can be seen in churches throughout Britain. Morris produced some 150 designs which are often characterised by their delightful foliage patterns.
Image and content sources: here and here
19th December 2011
Photoset reblogged from Calanthe and the Nightingale with 20 notes
Date: 1890s Culture: European Medium: cotton, wood
16th December 2011
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Original design for Trellis wallpaper by William Morris, 1862.
9th December 2011
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Snuff box (1860-1870)
- Wood, painted, with brass stringing, brass nails in sole and heel, brass and mother-of-pearl buttons
Small containers for keeping snuff were often decorative or made as novelties, probably as gifts. Snuff boxes in the form of boots or shoes were made throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, and this one is in the shape of a fashionable Victorian lady’s button boot of the 1860s, detailed with paint and metal studs. The top of the boot is hollowed out to form the container.
Shoes and boots are traditionally associated with good luck. Snuff is a form of ground tobacco which was sniffed through the nose rather than smoked in a pipe. Decorative snuff boxes would be put on the table at social gatherings and passed around.
21st May 2011
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Bruce James Talbert - Design for ‘The Sunflower’ wallpaper. Made by Jeffrey & Co. London, 1878.
16th May 2011
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Pompeian No. 2 (1865) - Designer: Owen Jones, 1809-1874. From The Grammar of Ornament
Owen Jones was a London-born architect and designer of Welsh descent. He was appointed Superintendent of the works for the Great Exhibition in 1851, and when the Crystal Palace was removed to Sydenham in 1854 he designed the Egyptian, Greek, Roman and Alhambra Courts. In 1856 he published, with Sir Matthew Digby Wyatt, the celebrated and monumental Grammar of Ornament, creating a nucleus of ornamental ideas that was to be used for almost half a century. Jones is better known as an interior and pattern designer than as an architect. His advocacy of formal and stylised pattern as against the riotously naturalistic style favoured by contemporary taste, was to be widely influential, paving the way for the even more rigorously formalised ideas of Christopher Dresser.