Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Calligraphic Emblems

We have a strong collection of emblem books that try to create a visual vocabulary of classical themes and emotions and we also have another collection that documents 19th-century calligraphy. So, you can imagine how pleased we were to find this little gem of a book, Arabesques mythologiques (Paris: Charles Barrois, 1810) which combines the two ideas in one.

Illustrated with 54 hand-colored emblems representing the characters of Greek and Roman myth, the book was a kind of primer for children to learn the classical gods and the myths surrounding them. The visual clues create more lasting memories than text alone and each emblem tries to capture the essence of the actors. But, unlike other emblem books, there is text intertwined into each image. Turn them sideways, and you find the names beautifully scripted into the images--each is an elegant design loaded with cultural meaning.

Ask for Rare BL725 G4 1810.

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