Category Archives: miscellaneity

The ornamental print: the highlights

The past few months I’ve been absolutely smitten with the ornamental print. Interest in these as part of the Old master print aesthetic dates only from the 1870s (when the first museums of applied arts were founded in Europe) and has been on the rise the last few years, thanks to sites such as Il Giornale Nuovo and its heir BibliOdyssey. My fascination with them was rekindled recently by taking the book Quatre siècles de Surréalisme out of my library in September. This post is meant to give you the highlights of my research in the field the past few months.

Thus, ornamental print highlights include:

Elephant coming out of a chimney[1] by Wendel Dietterlin, Bouquet on back of peddler[2] by Isaac Briot, Habit d’orfèvre[3] from Les costumes grotesques et les métiers by Nicolas de Larmessin II, Leviores et (ut videtur) extemporaneae picturae[4], Mask with dishes around the eyes and pointed serrated crests on the cheeks and forehead[5], Cartouche in auricular style (Johannes Lutma)[6], Fontaine Rocaille[7] by Gabriel Huquier, Mascarade à la Grecque album, Jeune Moine à la Grecque [8][9], Œuvre de Juste-Aurèle Meissonnier frontispiece[10], Auricular Cartouche with Figures within a Strapwork Frame[11], An antique vase with handle formed by a dog[12] by Enea Vico, Neuw Grottessken Buch by Christoph Jamnitzer [13], Balançoire chinoise[14] by Jean-Baptiste Pillement.

Some perennial favourites, which cannot be strictly called ornamental prints, need to be mentioned here: Bizzarie di varie figure by Bracelli, Varie Figuri Gobbi by Callot, Les Songes Drolatiques by Desprez, the grotesques of Arent van Bolten[15], the Geometria et Perspectiva by Lorenz Stöer, Scenographiae, sive perspectivae by Hans Vredeman de Vries[16] and Perspectiva Corporum Regularium[17] by Wentzel Jamnitzer.

Illustrations: Fantastic Sea Carriage by Cornelis Floris and Poop of the Soleil Royal by Jean Bérain the Elder.

Ornamental print of a zoomorphic vase by Enea Vico

An antique vase with handle formed by a dog by Enea Vico is an ornamental print from the series Romae ab antiquo repertum MDXXXXIII.

It is somewhat similar to this unidentified zoomorphic Art Nouveau pitcher[2], see zoomorphism.

Important ‘ornemanistes’, as the French call artists practising the art of the ornament, include:In Italy, Giovanni Battista Piranesi (1720 – 1778); in England Thomas Chippendale (1718 – 1779); in France Jean Bérain the Elder (1640 – 1711), Pierre Lepautre (1648-1716), Claude Audran III (1658 – 1734), Pierre Le Gros the Younger (1666 – 1719), Gilles-Marie Oppenordt (1672 – 1742), Antoine Watteau (1684 – 1721), Alexis Peyrotte (1699 – 1769), Juste Aurèle Meissonier (1695 – 1750), Gabriel Huquier (1695 – 1772), Ennemond Alexandre Petitot (1720–1772) and Juste-Nathan François Boucher (1736-1782). In the Low Countries there are the precursors and major artists of the genre: Cornelis Floris (1514–1575) and Hans Vredeman de Vries (1527 – c. 1607). In Germany the names Daniel Hopfer (1470 – 1536), Peter Flötner (1490 – 1546) , Wendel Dietterlin (c.1550–1599) and Christoph Jamnitzer (1563 – 1618) need to be mentioned.

Ode to the ornamental print

The past few months saw me paying lots of attention to the ornamental print over at my Tumblr blog.

There is Balançoire chinoise[1] by French artist Jean-Baptiste Pillement., which is more of a decorative print than an ornamental print.  It is similar in style to Raccolta delle cose più notabili veduta dal cavaliere Wilde Scull [2].

The plate comes from the wonderful book Les Maîtres ornemanistes.

By the way, it would seem that the 1870s is the first period when serious attention was given to the ornamental print, judging from a tentative bibliography I’ve made:

The last two books in the list can be seen in full at Follow the links.

Introducing Mr.Fox: Darker Deeper

Introducing Mr.Fox: Darker Deeper


Mr.Fox: Darker Deeper[1][2] is an Anglophone visual culture blog with a focus on transgressive black and white photographs founded in May 2008.

As of May 2009, its most recent entries included Deus Irae Psychedelico[3], Robert Gregory Griffeth[4] , Rik Garrett[5] , Laurie Lipton[6] , Simon Marsden[7] , Sanne Sannes[8] , Jeffrey Silverthorne[9] , Edward Donato[10]

As of May 2009, the blog was connected with Blind Pony, EDK, Fetishart, Indie Nudes, Medieval Art, Morbid Anatomy, Ofellabuta, SensOtheque, With the ghost and Woolgathersome.

May 2nds

Catherine the Great @280 [1]

Catherine the Great (May 2, 1729November 17, 1796), — sometimes referred to as an epitome of the “enlightened despot” — reigned as Empress of Russia for 34 years. She cultivated Voltaire, Diderot and D’Alembert — all French philosophes encyclopedists who later cemented her reputation in their writings. Her collection of erotic art is documented in the documentary film The Lost Secret of Catherine the Great.

Jerome Klapka Jerome @150  [2]

Jerome Klapka Jerome (May 2, 1859June 14, 1927) was an English writer and humorist, best known for the humorous travelogue Three Men in a Boat.

Link Wray @80 [3]

Fred Lincoln “Link” Wray Jr (May 2, 1929November 5, 2005) was an American rock and roll guitarist, songwriter and occasional singer. Wray was noted for pioneering a new sound for electric guitars, as exemplified in his hit 1958 instrumentalRumble“, by Link Wray and his Ray Men, which pioneered an overdriven, distorted electric guitar sound and paving the way for punk and heavy rock.

Germaine Greer @70, Leroy Sibbles @60

My fave Greer cover:

Female Eunuch (1970) – Germaine Greer [] [FR] [DE] [UK]

The Female Eunuch (cover artist unknown)

A newly discovered Sibbles track:


“Express Yourself”

More at:

Germaine Greer (born January 29, 1939) is an Australian-born writer, broadcaster and retired academic, widely regarded as one of the most significant feminist voices of the 20th century. Her name has become synonymous with feministbra burningactivism of the late 1960s.

Leroy Sibbles (born January 29, 1949) is a reggae musician from Jamaica. He was the lead singer for The Heptones in the 1960-70s.

In addition to his work with The Heptones, Sibbles was a session bassist and arranger at Clement ‘Coxsone’ Dodd‘s Jamaica Recording and Publishing Studio and associated Studio One label during the prolific late 1960s era.

Rasputin’s member and Strindberg’s women

Tomorrow Thursday 22nd is Grigori Rasputin‘s and August Strindberg‘s anniversary. Rasputin is then at 140, Strindberg at 160.


Grigori Rasputin

Edel‘s Rasputin: Dark Servant of Destiny (1995)

Rasputin is known today for the sensationalized accounts as playboy, mystical healer, debauched religious charlatan and political demiurge. Accounts of his life have often been based on dubious memoirs, hearsay, and legend, such as the story of his most honest organ.

Rasputin's Member by Best Ever.

Rasputin’s member, fact or fiction?

Strindberg is known for his misogyny (Strindberg’s misogyny), his interest in oneirism and the unconsciousness (A Dream Play and a chronology of the discovery of the unconscious in the 19th century) and as a founding father of literary realism.


Mike Figgis‘s Miss Julie, the”And now kiss my shoe”-scene

Your best introduction to the life of Strindberg is his autobiographical novel Inferno. Written in French in 1897 at the height of Strindberg’s troubles with both censors and women, the book is concerned with Strindberg’s life both in and after he lived in Paris, and explores his various obsessions, including alchemy, occultism, and Swedenborgianism, and showing signs of paranoia and neuroticism.

August Strindberg

August Strindberg

Inferno has often been cited as proof of Strindberg’s own personal neuroses, such as a persecution complex, but evidence also suggests that Strindberg, although experiencing mild neurotic symptoms, both invented and exaggerated much of the material in the book for dramatic effect.

What the Butler Saw in Düsseldorf

The butler visited Diana und Actaeon – Der verbotene Blick auf die Nacktheit with a fellow butler and a maid.

He was thrilled to see Étant donnés[1] by Marcel Duchamp. And he did not realize it also looked like this[2]. He saw the famous metal doll sculpture[3] by Hans Bellmer and Bad Boy by Eric Fischl. He saw the most beautiful penis in post-war photography, yes he meant the Robert Mapplethorpe one[4].

He saw and liked photographs[5] of the Linley Sambourne collection, paintings by French figuratist Jean Rustin[6], paintings by Michael Kirkham[7], his first viewing of the fauvist Erich Heckel[8], Phryne[9] by French academic cult painter Jean-Léon Gérôme, waxworks by Belgian sculptor Berlinde De Bruyckere[10], and paintings by Roland Delcol[11].

The butler was also very much taken by Johannes Hüppi[12]; his first viewing of his fave John Currin[13]; his first real Félix Vallotton; and a Lisa Yuskavage[14]. But not that one.

Butler wants you to know that the works he pointed to are for reference only and may not correspond to the works at the exhibition. He also wants you to know that some of the links may be NSFW.

Not fluffy clouds


From left to right: 16:58, 16:58, 16:59.

Antwerp, from South to North

Totally unrelated, outside of a storm cloud soundbite on the same record this track came from (actually I meant the Party Time album by The Heptones) is “To Be a Lover” by George Faith,


in a Lee Perry production but a cover of William Bell‘s U.S. hit record …


..”I Forgot To Be Your Lover[1] (1968).

Perry’s version was probably recorded on a TEAC 3340[2] in the Black Ark studio.

George Faith’s album seems to have been different from the contemporary Perry productions: no broken glass, ghastly sighs and screeches, crying babies, and mooing cows here.