Andrew Kauftiel via Facebook
Andrew Kauftiel via Facebook

Portland, Maine Is Tearing Down its Love Locks Wall

Andrew Kauftiel via Facebook
Andrew Kauftiel via Facebook

A symbol of eternal love is about to get torn down. The “Love Locks Fence,” a popular tourist destination on Portland, Maine’s Commercial Street, is scheduled to be dismantled within the next two weeks. For years, visitors have adorned the 30-foot-long chain-link fence with padlocks intended to represent their commitment to loved ones.

According to the Portland Press-Herald, the gesture is thought to have started in Portland in early 2013, when a group of women left the locks around Valentine’s Day. That led to several more; before long, the fence that blocks residents from a stormwater runoff was host to roughly one thousand locks.

Enrica Lopriore via Facebook

The weight of all that affection has had an unintended consequence: the locks have started to weaken the fence’s structural integrity, leading to the possibility of a full collapse. Before that happens, city officials will remove the fence—locks intact—and place most of it in the parking lot of nearby DiMillo’s restaurant. The barrier replacing it will apparently be love (or padlock) proof.

Portland didn’t invent the tradition: It’s believed that Serbians etched names of loved ones on padlocks during World War I to declare their monogamy and ward off any third-party complications. And Paris’s Pont des Arts bridge sported locks from about 2008 to June 2015, when officials removed the display.

For now, Portland officials have cordoned off the fence until it can be taken down. Everlasting love, it seems, still has to be in compliance with city ordinances.

[h/t Gainesville Times]

Know of something you think we should cover? Email us at tips@mentalfloss.com.

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Christie's
arrow
Art
A Rare Copy of Audubon's Birds of America Could Break Records at Auction
Christie's
Christie's

American artist and naturalist John James Audubon published The Birds of America in the first half of the 19th century, and his massive “double-elephant” folio of life-size bird illustrations remains one of the most ambitious nature books ever produced. On June 14, a rare edition of the four-book set is hitting the auction block, and it's expected to fetch up to $12 million—more than any Audubon book ever sold.

This edition of The Birds of America was owned by the dukes of Portland from around 1839 to 2012. Because it was stored on the shelves of the family's Nottinghamshire, England estate for nearly a century, the set's prints of watercolor drawings have remained remarkably well-preserved.

In 2012, the copy was auctioned off to philanthropist and businessman Carl W. Knobloch, Jr. for nearly $8 million. Knobloch donated the books to the Knobloch Family Foundation (KFF) before his death in 2016. Now, the KFF is sending the books to auction once again. This time, all proceeds of the sale will go to nature conservation.

Set of red leather-bound books.

New York City auction house Christie's describes the set in a listing as "among the finest copies in private hands of this icon of American art, and the finest color-plate book ever produced." Each of the 435 double-elephant folio pages measures 39.5 inches by 26.5 inches, the largest sheets Audubon could get his hands on at the time, and they feature 1037 birds from 500 species. The books are bound in red Moroccan leather with gold detailing on the borders and spines. The four-volume set also comes with the Ornithological Biography, a collection of five books describing the specimens in The Birds of America and their habits.

Christie's estimates the set will sell for $8 million to $12 million when the final bid is placed later this month. To date, the most expensive copy of The Birds of America was a first edition acquired from Sotheby's in London for $11.5 million. That sale also broke the record for the most expensive printed book ever sold at auction, a record held until 2013.

Illustration of American birds.

Illustration of American bird.

Illustration of American birds.

Illustration of American birds.

Illustration of American birds.

All images courtesy of Christie's

nextArticle.image_alt|e
Courtesy of Emi Nakajima
arrow
Art
Artist Makes Incredibly Detailed Drawings of Famous Buildings Around the World
Courtesy of Emi Nakajima
Courtesy of Emi Nakajima

They say patience is a virtue, but for some artists it’s a necessity. Emi Nakajima’s detailed ink drawings of famous architectural sites, which recently appeared on My Modern Met, typically take about a week to complete. However, her most ambitious undertaking yet—a rendering of Thailand’s Wat Rong Khun (White Temple)—was a five-month endeavor.

Emi Nakajima holding up her drawing in front of the White Temple
Courtesy of Emi Nakajima

The Japanese-Thai artist told Mental Floss that the White Temple was particularly difficult to draw. She typically uses A3-sized paper (11.7 by 16.5 inches) for her projects, but she decided to draw the ornate temple on a much larger scale. The paper covered her entire desk—and getting each arch and spiral just right was no small feat. She took her time on the details, chipping away at the drawing after returning home from her day job as an administrative officer in Thailand.

Emi Nakajima drawing
Courtesy of Emi Nakajima

Details of the drawing
Courtesy of Emi Nakajima

Details of the drawing
Courtesy of Emi Nakajima

The completed temple drawing
Courtesy of Emi Nakajima

She’s amassed nearly 39,000 followers on Instagram, where she documents the progression of her projects from start to completion. Although her prints aren’t available for purchase online, she does sell her drawings locally.

European architecture features prominently in her work, with past projects including drawings of London’s Big Ben, Barcelona’s Sagrada Família basilica, and France’s Gothic churches. She occasionally branches out from architecture, creating 3D images of food and drawings of superheroes, movie characters, and animals.

Keep scrolling down to see more of Nakajima's architectural drawings, and check out her Instagram page (@emi_nkjm) here.

A drawing of Big Ben
Courtesy of Emi Nakajima

Drawing of a cathedral
Courtesy of Emi Nakajima

A pagoda drawing
Courtesy of Emi Nakajima

Details of a drawing
Courtesy of Emi Nakajima

A cathedral drawing
Courtesy of Emi Nakajima

[h/t My Modern Met]

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios