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Public Domain Review

Public Domain Review


Online journal and cabinet of curiosities dedicated to showcasing the most beautiful and unusual out-of-copyright works available on the web.

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Take a closer look at "The Garden of Earthly Delights", the best known painting by the genius that was Hieronymus Bosch, who died #onthisday  in 1516: #otd 

German biologist, philosopher, and artist Ernst Haeckel died #onthisday  in 1919. Mostly known today for his mesmerising artworks of the natural world, a dig into his ideas on race and eugenics reveal a more disturbing side. @BrunnerBernd  explores: #otd 

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An Austrian painter's beautiful presentation, from 1878, of various atmospheric conditions: including will-o'-the-wisp, a moonbow, and the Northern Lights: 🌪 🌈 ☀️ 🌤 ⛅️ 🌥 ☁️ 🌦 🌧 ⛈ 🌩 ❄️ ☃️ 🌬 💨 💧

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Happy #WorldLionDay ! Pictured is an image by 16th-century Swiss scholar Konrad Gesner, featured in Edward Topsell’s wonderful History of Four-footed Beasts (1607). More here:

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Geographical Fun (1868), a series of fantastic anthropomorphic maps of European countries, drawn by an unnamed 15-year-old girl who had the idea for the novel maps "when seeking to amuse a brother confined to his bed by illness":

Philipp Otto Runge’s Farbenkugel (1810). The top two images show the surface of the sphere, while the bottom two show horizontal and vertical cross sections. From our selection of colour charts, wheels and tables through the centuries:

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While the 17th-century polymath Athanasius Kircher's theories of spontaneous generation and "universal sperm" were easily debunked, his investigation into the causes of the plague can be seen as perhaps the very first articulation of germ theory:

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The Death of the Good Old Man (1813) by the poet, painter, printmaker, and visionary William Blake, who himself passed away #onthisday  in 1827. Read Matthew Hargreaves on Blake and one of his most avid collectors Paul Mellon: #otd 

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Waterfall and Northern Lights, Carl Svante Hallbeck, 1856. ⁠ ⁠ Chromolithograph depicting Harsprånget waterfall, now the site of the largest hydroelectric power station in Sweden.⁠ ⁠ One of several aurora borealis prints available in our online shop:

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Careful out there tonight for it's #Krampusnacht ! Popular in German-speaking Alpine folklore, the figure of #Krampus  is a devil-like horned creature who punishes badly-behaved children the night before St Nichiolas' Day. More Krampus cards here:

Book from 1911 book showing that taking photos of cats and brandishing them with an amusing caption is far from being a phenomenon born with the internet. More here: #NationalCatDay 

How did alphabet books deal with the letter X before the rise of x-rays and xylophones? We've picked out some of the best examples:

Woodcuts from Lorenz Stoer’s Geometria et Perspectiva, 1567, a unique, image-based treatise on linear perspective — in each of its eleven woodcuts a complex polyhedron or combination of solids are embedded in a kind of dreamlike ruinscape:

Anthropomorphised plants from a wonderful 15th-century herbal hailing from northern Italy. More here: (And a print to buy here: )

From 1969 to 2008 John Margolies photographed the eccentric roadside architecture and ephemera of the US. @librarycongress  bought the lot, a total of 11,710 colour slides, and lifted all copyright restrictions on them. Here's our highlights:

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Today is #WorldOceansDay ! Here's a great set of 19th-century illustrations (by William Saville-Kent) depicting one its finest wonders (which has lost half its coral cover since 1990):

This week we launched the PDR Colouring Book! Free to download and print off at home: 20 images from a wide range of artists, including Hokusai, Dürer, Jessie M. King, and Aubrey Beardsley. Please do share with all who you think might enjoy it!

Beautiful series of images by Eduard Pechuël-Loesche from an 1888 book on the strange skies produced the world-over after the 1883 eruption of Krakatoa:

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