Hidden Paintings Revealed on the Fore-Edge of Old Books

Autumn

Special Collections Librarian Colleen Theisen recently uncovered a fore-edge painting found on a scientific book from the early 19th century. The book is from a set of four volumes about the seasons by Robert Mudie that were donated to the Special Collections & University Archives at the University of Iowa by Charlotte Smith, each one holding a hidden image on the edge of its pages. Upon its discovery, Theisen promptly created a gif of the secret painting on the Autumn book.

It turns out that a secret image of a panoramic landscape corresponding to the volume’s season is revealed on the fore-edge of each tome once the pages are fanned out. After coming across the blog post containing the eye-opening gif and realizing that there were still others in the collection that the librarian had not yet shared, Colossal’s Christopher Jobson got in contact with Theisen to unveil the other three volumes. Now, all four seasons’ landscape paintings have been unearthed and presented as gifs.

Winter

Spring

Summer

Special Collections & Archives, University of Iowa blog
via [Colossal]





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