Judith G. Klausner. Triumph. 2005. Moth and lightbulb.The moth gets its wishes. The bulb gets its worshipper. Filament and fire, safe inside a glowing casket.
- Béla-Gyula Krieger, Jewelry Designs, circa 1900.
A Hungarian artist working as an animalier for Parisian jewelry houses, Krieger made some wonderful strange designs, a little bit Voynich, a little bit Goth. While also, er, being wholly Art Nouveau. But check out the gargoyle item in the corner. And the many versions of cephalopods. I’d love to see these made in metal and gemstones.
RATTLE & HUM - Andrew R. Janson, Giant Yellowjacket Nest, January 6, 1953. Florida Geological Survey Collection.
If a nest overwinters, it can contain multiple queens, and grow far beyond its typical one-season basketball size. Sometimes yellowjacket colonies take over eaves, attics, and car interiors. This one took a tree.
BAT-FOWLING. Samuel Howitt, colored engraving originally published 1799.
Bat-fowling is an archaic form of bird trapping, (and alas, not the hunting and befouling of bats - although in 1899, Montagu Browne, a curator at Leicester Museum used a bat-fowling net to actually trap bats for study and drawing). It’s also the likely origin of the expression “beating around the bush,” as bushes would be beaten with bats in order to disturb the bird’s sleep, and then, “amazed by bright lights (of torches or small fires)” the birds would fly into the trapper’s nets. Shakespeare uses it in The Tempest, in the sense above.
Sometimes however, in the same period, it was used with more innuendo. In Chapman’s A Revenge for Honor, for example a man has been: ‘a bat-fowling all night, after those birds, Those lady-birds term’d wagtails.”
And in 1811 Francis Grose’s Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue calls a bat a ‘low whore, so called from moving out like bats in the dusk of the evening.”
(Thanks to Gordon Williams’ very excellent Dictionary of Sexual Language and Imagery in Shakespeare and Stuart Literature for the above lit-bits.)
EROTICAT DISASTER: Wilhelm von Kaulbach, 1846, illustration from Reynard the Fox.
Suppressed plate, censored all over the place. Perhaps because it is AMAZINGLY WEIRD. Women and children scream and fight, while a very unhappy
monk priest* gets his genitals attacked by…
Wait for it…
A tabby cat.
Meanwhile, Reynard the Fox looks on, in significant amusement. Like he does.
These illustrations are so fabulous and peculiar. Here’s another.
*Reynard’s neighbor, and there’s a whole complicated thing, involving mousing, and revenge, and Reynard tricking said cat into said mousing…and, well.
-Jim Corbett with the slain Bachelor of Powalgarh, 1930
As darkness fell, I heard the call of a cat.
“It is a shaitan hunts here, shikari,” one of the men said.
I listened to the tiger call, wondering at the sound of the roars, a scraping sharpened edge to them that I’d somehow forgotten, and I felt the familiar feeling in my stomach. It’s an instinct I’ve long denied, the urge to curl myself into a protective position, and I suddenly found myself nearly not denying it. I am, suddenly, seventy-one years old. My father died at sixty, in his bed.
“The shaitan welcomes you home,” said another man, and smiled at me, a kindly smile, even for the words he said.
The devil welcomes you home.
- Henry Justice Ford, The Beautiful Woman Soothes The Serpent King. 1900
- Timothy Cummings, Spot Portrait
I am so in love with this one I might have to own it.
- Timothy Cummings, Untitled from Horror Show: Masquerade
Kind of obsessed with Timothy Cummings and his Old-Mastery technique meets contemporary content. All of it unsettles in the best way.