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Explore a Beautiful Victorian Album of Seaweeds

The Victorians had a passion for admiring stylized versions of the natural world from within the comfort of their own homes. Alongside taxidermy, arrangements of shells and fossils, preserved birds and flowers beneath domes, and hair art, an upper-class Victorian home might have sported an album or two of pressed flowers and, perhaps, seaweeds.

While we may not think of seaweed as particularly lovely today, Victorians used their bright reds and greens and lacy shapes to create pretty designs or semi-realistic compositions. The Public Domain Review recently spotlighted one such album now held in the Brooklyn Museum’s Special Collections department, which has been digitized for online viewing.

The leatherbound album, which features algae and seaweeds pasted on construction paper and framed by doilies, was created by one Eliza A. Jordson of Brooklyn around 1848. It was presented as a token of esteem to Augustus Graham, a member of the board of directors of the Brooklyn Apprentice’s Library, which eventually evolved into the Brooklyn Museum. The images are a feat of delicacy, using seaweed to create tiny houses and to spell out Graham’s name as well as the title of the book.

As Allison Meier noted when writing about the album for Atlas Obscura in 2014, the album is “definitely not a scientific work, but instead a social one.” The specimens aren’t mounted with scientific precision and contain no labels, although the album does include a poem on the “flowers of the sea,” which seems to have been a feature of other seaweed albums, according to the Public Domain Review.

Other surviving examples of seaweed albums exist: As Meier notes, Harvard holds one created by a Mary Robinson, probably around Martha’s Vineyard, circa 1885. An online exhibit devoted to the prints from that book contains an explanation of the scrapbooking process, which involved submerging both the seaweed and mounting paper in saltwater at the same time, bringing them to the surface with the seaweed on top, and arranging the specimen with a needle to bring out its details.

All images via Brooklyn Museum Libraries, Special Collections.

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Afternoon Map
8 City Maps Rendered in the Styles of Famous Artists
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Vincent van Gogh once famously said, "I dream my painting and I paint my dream." If at some point in his career he had dreamed up a map of Amsterdam, where he lived and derived much of his inspiration from, it may have looked something like the one below.

In a blog post from March, Credit Card Compare selected eight cities around the world and illustrated what their maps might look like if they had been created by the famous artists who have roots there.

The Andy Warhol-inspired map of New York City, for instance, is awash with primary colors, and the icons representing notable landmarks are rendered in his famous Pop Art style. Although Warhol grew up in Pittsburgh, he spent much of his career working in the Big Apple at his studio, dubbed "The Factory."

Another iconic and irreverent artist, Banksy, is the inspiration behind London's map. Considering that the public doesn't know Banksy's true identity, he remains something of an enigma. His street art, however, is recognizable around the world and commands exorbitant prices at auction. In an ode to urban art, clouds of spray paint and icons that are a bit rough around the edges adorn this map of England's capital.

For more art-inspired city maps, scroll through the photos below.

[h/t Credit Card Compare]

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Gergely Dudás - Dudolf, Facebook
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There’s a Ghost Hiding in This Illustration—Can You Find It?
Gergely Dudás - Dudolf, Facebook
Gergely Dudás - Dudolf, Facebook

A hidden image illustration by Gergely Dudás, a.k.a. Dudolf
Gergely Dudás - Dudolf, Facebook

Gergely Dudás is at it again. The Hungarian illustrator, who is known to his fans as “Dudolf,” has spent the past several years delighting the internet with his hidden image illustrations, going back to the time he hid a single panda bear in a sea of snowmen in 2015. In the years since, he has played optical tricks with a variety of other figures, including sheep and Santa Claus and hearts and snails. For his latest brainteaser, which he posted to both his Facebook page and his blog, Dudolf is asking fans to find a pet ghost named Sheet in a field of white bunny rabbits.

As we’ve learned from his past creations, what makes this hidden image difficult to find is that it looks so similar to the objects surrounding it that our brains just sort of group it in as being “the same.” So you’d better concentrate.

If you’ve scanned the landscape again and again and can’t find Sheet to save your life, go ahead and click here to see where he’s hiding.

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