Asa Smith. Celestial Illustrations from Smith’s Illustrated Astronomy. 1851. 

Wood engravings with hand highlighting, written by the principal of Public School No. 12 in New York City with the goal “to present all the distinguishing principles in physical Astronomy with as few words as possible”.


The Floral Keepsake for 1850 features 46 plates of colored engravings.  Each flower is its own chapter and features flower lore, practical planting knowledge, and botanical description.  The keepsake also includes several poems and an index of the flowers and their associated meaning. The editor, John Keese, was both an amateur poet and bookseller.  I can only imagine that his love for the content and the object would have inspired him to work on this project.

-Jillian P.

AY11 .F53 1851

A Bad Trip — LSD Hallucinations Illustrated on 15th Century Engraving

Sometimes chemistry was manipulated by accident. This fifteenth-century engraving by Martin Schongauer shows Saint Anthony being assaulted by visions of sexual promiscuity and savage animals; hallucinations similar to those caused by the ergot fungus found on spoiled rye or wheat cereal grasses. The fungus is nature’s version of LSD.

Engraving from the Museum of Fine Arts; Budapest, Hungary

What Beautiful Muscles You Have

Antonio Cattani created these engravings in the 1780s based on sculptures by Ercole Lelli, who examined at least 50 cadavers in preparation. The sculptures were created for the “anatomical theater” of the medical school at the University of Bologna, a room dedicated to the teaching of anatomy through dissections of human bodies. The engravings helped art students master the parts of the body.

More on these life-size engravings, new in the collection.

Anatomical Figures, 1780 (left) and 1781 (right), Antonio Cattani. The Getty Research Institute


Emblems from Michael Maier’s book Atalanta Fugiens (Atalanta Fleeing), published at Oppenheim in 1617 by the firm of Johann Theodor de Bry.
It’s an alchemical text in a strikingly unusual form: it comprises fifty sections, where each section consists of a score of a short fugue (‘in two canonical parts over a cantus firmus’), a motto, an engraved emblematic image, a Latin verse, and a few pages of cryptic commentary. It takes its title from the legendary tale of Atalanta’s race with Hippomenes. In its simultaneous presentation of music, image, poetry and prose, it is a singular piece of Baroque multimedia. (Source)