Creative Q
For medieval illuminators the letter Q must have been a very attractive one. The combination of a circular form and the extending line provokes creative sollutions. An extraordinary example is delivered by the four partbooks of the Chansonnier of Zeghere van Male, a 16th century highlight of inventive manuscript illumination in marvelous watercolours. Among the initials the letter Q deserves special attention: the Q’s are simply outstanding. About the third in this post @jessehurlbut tweeted: ‘Easily the most interesting Q I’ve ever seen!’ Here are some Q’s Jesse, and maybe the first one is as interesting.
Cambrai BM 125-128

(via johanoosterman)



Get Busy at the Library

September is National Library Card Sign-up Month, a national celebration of public libraries and time to make sure that students have the most important school supply of all — a free Library card.

As a reminder of the plethora of offerings available at most libraries The Seattle Public Library has put out a list packed with opportunities to enrich your life.

Here are 30 things you can do for free at The Seattle Public Library:

1. Visit a museum - we’ve just added the Museum of Flight and the Museum of History and Industry.

2.  Learn how to write.

3.  Publish your e-book.

4.  Watch a movie online or at the Library.

5.  Download (and keep!) three songs a week.

6.  Get homework help online or in person, in English and Spanish.

7.   Speak a new language - we’ve got 80 to choose from!

8.   Learn programming or Web design with Safari Books Online.

9.   Become an Excel spreadsheet guru with Microsoft IT Academy.

10.  Find a job.

11.  Revamp your résumé - Brainfuse offers Live Résumé Help and will edit and return yours within 24 hours.

12.  Get healthy with easy-to-browse health and medical journals.

13.  Save money with Consumers’ Checkbook, a guide to Puget Sound services and stores such as auto repair shops, hospitals, plumbers, banks and insurance companies.

14.  Research your purchases - check Consumer Reports online.

15.  Download an e-book.

16.  Not sure how to download an e-book on your new device? Sign up for Tech Help.

17.  Reserve a computer - up to 90 minutes a day.

18.  Scan photos or use Adobe Photoshop at the Central Library.

19.  Research your family history.

20.  Start a business.

21.  Learn how to invest your money.

22.  Attend a story time or take the Lego-building challenge with your kid.

23.  File your taxes. Free tax help is offered every year from January to mid-April.

24.  Read a book that the rest of the city is reading - Seattle Reads happens every spring.

25.  Fix your bike.

26.  Preview ballet and opera performances or enjoy a concert.

27.  Hold a meeting - non-commercial groups can book one date per month.

28.  Use free Wi-Fi.

29.  Join a book group to talk about books with other readers.

30.  Get personalized book recommendations with Your Next 5 Books.

Now get busy.

Previously on Book Patrol:
Seattle Public Library Unveils New Library Cards
Graphically Speaking: The Benefits of a Library Card
Library Card Coffee Table



An historical enquiry respecting the performance on the harp in the Highlands of Scotland : from the earliest times until it was discontinued about the year of 1734, to which is prefixed an account of a very ancient Caledonian harp and of the harp of Queen Mary … / drawn up by desire of the Highland Society of Scotland, and published under its patronage, by John Gunn.

After the discovery of “two old harps in the house of Lude, in the Highlands of Perthshire”, the Highland Society of Scotland arranged for both harps to be brought to Edinburgh to be sketched and examined.

The older harp is the Caledonian Harp and came to the family in 1460 (see the pencil correction in the text and the tag affixed to the last page of the book’s postscript noting the erroneous inversion of the 6 and 4 in the printed text).

The second harp, or Queen Mary’s harp, was a present by the Queen to Miss Beatrix Gardyn while on a hunting trip in Perthshire. This harp is described as having, “in front of the upper arm, the queen’s portrait, and the arms of Scotland, both in gold.”

While the plates featuring the harps are lovely and the text contains such gems as information on how the harps were strung and played and a lengthy description of the Queen’s hunting trip, it must be confessed that this book caught my eye because of the unfortunate arrangement of the author’s name above the title on the spine.

Gunn on the Harp, indeed.

(via uispeccoll)



Georg Friedrich Händel completed his Messiah oratorio on this date in 1741, after an astonishing 24 days of composition.  And regardless of whether it’s a myth that King George II stood during the "Hallelujah" chorus or not, that’s one historically unsubstantiated tradition this stamp enthusiast is willing to maintain without complaint.

Stamp details:
Top left:
Issued on: May 7, 1985
From: Bonn, West Germany
MC #1248

Top right:
Issued on: March 19, 1985
From: Berlin, East Germany
MC #2932

Second row:
Issued on: September 8, 1959
From: Bonn, West Germany
MC #315

Third row left:
Issued on: January 1, 1935
From: Berlin, Germany
MC #575

Third row right:
Issued on: July 5, 1952
From: Berlin, East Germany
MC #308

Stamps on bottom:
Issued on: April 27, 1959
From: Berlin, East Germany
MC #682-683




Behind the staves
The Cambrai Chansonnier, made around 1542 in Bruges for Zeghere van Male, a wealthy inhabitant of this Flemish metropole in decline. But while the economy was no longer boosting, the artistic production still was on a high level. This chansonnier is among the most witty, the most lively and the most inventive books from its age. It holds hundreds of small drawing, taken from real life, fantastic, weird, and dozens of initials, often composed of realistic elements. A special category of images shows pics in which the staves play a role as more or less material elements. Some figures try to hide behind the staves, others are leaning on them, et cetera. This is the triumph of invention and illusion!

(via johanoosterman)


The Milky Way over Arches National Park.Photo: National Park Service


The Milky Way over Arches National Park.

Photo: National Park Service



Good! We don’t want to be cured. 

Not even cowbell works.



Good! We don’t want to be cured. 

Not even cowbell works.



Dog prints in medieval chained library

I made this image in the chained library “De Librije” in the Dutch city of Zutphen. Established in 1564, everything about this place is still precisely as it was, including the tiles on the floor. Remarkably, throughout the library there are tiles with a dog’s paw prints. These 450-year-old traces of a large dog come with a local legend. One night, a monk called Jaromir was reading in the library while enjoying a meal of chicken, delivered to him by some nuns. He was not supposed to do this: not only does one not eat in a library, but he was also going through a period of fasting. Then suddenly the devil appeared in the form of a dog, scaring the living daylights out of the monk. The devil ate the chicken and locked the monk inside as a punishment - as devils do. Knowing the story, it’s hard to ignore the prints when admiring the books. 

Pics (top my own): Zutphen, Librije Chained Library. More on the legend on the library’s website, also source for lower pic, here (in Dutch).



Today would be a fine day, in the waning days of August, to take a swing on a porch hammock, as Camille Dosch was doing here in SW Portland around 1918; from the Henry Dosch papers in the special collections…

I want to go to there…



Today would be a fine day, in the waning days of August, to take a swing on a porch hammock, as Camille Dosch was doing here in SW Portland around 1918; from the Henry Dosch papers in the special collections…

I want to go to there…


Today is International Chocolate Day, ostensibly celebrating the birth of Milton S. Hershey, founder of Hershey’s Chocolates (born on this date in 1857), but let’s be honest—between any of the Swiss/Belgian/French chocolates above and a Hershey bar?  Right.  [And even though he was a Pennsylvanian, between the scratchable-sniffable-lickable Belgian stamps and a Hershey bar?  It may just be the stamp enthusiasm talking but…..right.]  Happy day to any and all chocoholics out there, especially any and all who may or may not share a birthday with good old Milt [this means YOU, eldest sister]!

Stamp details:
Stamps on top:
Issued on: May 9, 2001
From: Bern, Switzerland
MC #1759

Second and third row:
Issued on: March 25, 2013
From: Brussels, Belgium
MC #4361-4365

Fourth row:
Issued on: May 25, 2009
From: Paris, France
YC #4357-4366

Bottom left:
Issued on: September 13, 1995
From: Hershey, PA
SC #2933

Bottom right:
Issued on: January 13, 2007
From: Hershey, PA
SC #4122



While we are on hiatus from our department (don’t ask…)

Some photos of our cylinder phonograph collection, including Edison Blue Amberols from 1919 and the ‘Indestructible and U-S Everlasting’ 4-minute cylinders. (Time must have moved pretty slowly back then)

Our storage case was designed to hold the cylinders with metal clips, as you can see in the upper left photo where the removed cylinder was.

We also have an Edison phonograph to play them on(!), which we will try to post a pic of as soon as we are allowed back to our haunt.



A look at the fourth floor galleries of Jeff Koons: A Retrospective.

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