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Subject: ‘Absurd’

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Claude Duval and the Lady In The Coach

Posted in Absurd, British Countryside, Famous crimes, Fashion, Heroes and Heroines, Historical articles, History, Law, Travel on Thursday, 19 November 2015

This oddly amusing and theatrical picture shows the absurd figure of Claude Duval, a womanising dandy and romantic highwayman whose reputation with the ladies went before him, in respect of which, many of his female victims were torn between a sense of outrage at their robbery and infatuation with the gracious and handsome French highwayman who had assailed them.

Claude Duval,

Claude Duval and The Lady In The Coach by H M Brock

Many more pictures of highwaymen can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

A Clown with performing animals at the circus

Posted in Absurd, Actors, Anarchy, Animals, Children, Dance, Dogs, Historical articles, History, Music, Theatre on Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Our superb picture is a brilliant depiction of the archetypal circus clown with red nose, unruly tufts of ginger hair and a dazzling costume in primary colours. He has two skilful and enchanting companions, his comical small dog and an accomplished performing seal. He is also blowing his own trumpet while his spirits are high.

clown, picture, image, illustration

Clown at the circus

Many more pictures of the circus can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

Beau Brummell tying his famous cravat

Posted in Absurd, Arts and Crafts, Customs, Fashion, Historical articles, History, Leisure, London on Wednesday, 18 November 2015

Our subtly revealing picture portrays Beau Brummell, the Regency dandy who spent five hours a day on dressing and personal grooming. He often performed this ritual before friends and admirers, who were especially captivated by his severally knotted cravat, a unique style much imitated along with his restrained bespoke tailoring.

Brummell, picture, image, illustration

The sight of Brummel tying his famous cravat was worth waiting for.

Many more pictures of costume and fashion can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures from ‘The Illustrated Times’, 36

Posted in Absurd, America, Architecture, Best pictures, Children, Famous battles, Famous landmarks, Famous news stories, Fashion, Historical articles, History, Politics, The Illustrated Times, War on Monday, 16 November 2015

We have selected three of the best pictures from ‘The Illustrated Times’, a nineteenth-century illustrated newspaper and rich source of remarkable engravings.
The first picture shows the Inauguration of the Honourable Abraham Lincoln.

America, picture, image, illustration

Inauguration of the Honourable Abraham Lincoln, as President of the United States, at Washington, on 4 March 1861

The second picture shows a humorous cartoon of an umbrella hat.

hat, picture, image, illustration

Mother sheltering Children beneath her Hat

The third picture shows Fort St Nicholas at Sebastopol before the Siege.

Crimea, picture, image, illustration

Sebastopol, Fort St Nicholas before the Siege by Carlo Bossoli

High-resolution scans of all the illustrations from ‘The Illustrated Times’ (London 1855-1866) can be found in the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures of Titus Oates

Posted in Absurd, Best pictures, Famous crimes, Famous news stories, Historical articles, History, Institutions, London, News, Politics, Religion, Royalty on Thursday, 5 November 2015

The best pictures of Titus Oates are striking images of the anti-Catholic agitator and serial liar whose absurd claims of a Popish Plot led to national hysteria, disastrous suspicion of the Duke of York and 150 years of Catholic exclusion from both Houses of Parliament.
The first picture shows Oates being whipped after his trial.

Oates, picture, image, illustration

The scourging of Titus Oates from Newgate to Tyburn

The second picture shows Oates in the pillory and some contemporary doggerel.

Oates, picture, image, illustration

Titus Oates in the pillory, published 1685

The third picture shows the scene of his public humiliation and abuse in Fleet Street.

Oates, picture, image, illustration

Titus Oates in the Fleet Street Pillory (1685) in the Reign of Charles II

Many more pictures of the life and times of Charles II can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures of Three Men in a Boat and Montmorency

Posted in Absurd, Animals, Best pictures, Boats, Dogs, English Literature, Historical articles, History, Rivers on Wednesday, 30 September 2015

The best pictures of Three Men in a Boat are vivid images of Jerome’s comic characters and their pet dog, Montmorency.
The first picture shows the chaotic trio and their dog.

J K Jerome, picture, image, illustration

Three Men in a Boat

The second picture shows the trio in conversation on the river.

J K Jerome, picture, image, illustration

Three Men in a Boat by Paul Rainer

The third picture shows the three in their tent with Montmorency.

J K Jerome, picture, image, illustration

Three Men in a Boat – Cheerful! by Tom Browne

Many more pictures of novels can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

The best pictures of a picnic

Posted in Absurd, Best pictures, Historical articles, History, Leisure, War on Thursday, 30 July 2015

The best pictures of a picnic show families and children enjoying the novelty of eating outdoors.
The first picture is of a family picnic taken in the car to somewhere near the sea.

picnic, pictured, image, illustration

Family picnic by Clive Uptton

The second picture shows an amusing indoors picnic on a rainy day in a comic illustration by John Leech complete with signs for Ruined Abbey and Shady Grove, and with “no insects!!”

picnic, pictured, image, illustration

A Pic-nic in the Drawing Room, a capital thing for a Wet Day by John Leech

The third picture shows officers’ wives and male companions enjoying an improbable picnic as they watch preparations for battle in the Crimea.

picnic, pictured, image, illustration

Wives in the Crimean War by C L Doughty

Many more pictures of picnics can be found at the Look and Learn picture library.

Happy 2014/1914

Posted in Absurd, Anniversary, Christmas on Sunday, 22 December 2013

Here, as our way of wishing you a Happy 2014, are a number of New Year’s cards for 1914, including one that is a little odd.

Best wishes from everyone at Look and Learn!

The question of honour over which two Frenchman duelled for 19 years

Posted in Absurd, Historical articles, History, Oddities on Tuesday, 5 November 2013

This edited article about dueling originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 447 published on 8 August 1970.

A duel, picture, image, illustration

The leisurely ritual of dinner in the officers’ mess was ending. At one end of the room a group of senior officers sat arguing tactics. One, a colonel named Fournier, was using knives and forks to show how he would have thrashed the British at Dettingen. An orderly approached, saluted and handed the colonel a note. Fournier read it and chuckled. Turning to a brother-officer, he remarked: “It’s from Dupont. He’s quartered 70 miles from here and he’s ready for another bout. You’ll act as my second?” The officer assented. “Capital,” said Fournier.

In this cool and agreeable manner he prepared to hazard his life once more. His affair with Dupont was no ordinary duel. It had already lasted ten years and would continue for nine more. It was perhaps the most oddly conducted duel in history.

The affair began in 1784 in Strasbourg. Fournier, then a captain of Hussars, challenged and killed a young Austrian. General Moreau, Fournier’s commanding-officer, viewed the matter with distaste. He was giving a ball for the leading citizens; Fournier was bound to attend and the general feared an ugly incident. He summoned Captain Dupont, his aide, and divulged his fears; the captain quickly found a solution. If Fournier had the temerity to attend the function, he, Dupont, would be on guard at the door and would refuse him admission.

That night Dupont stood by the door, peering through the glittering array of guests, searching for Fournier. At last he saw him and barred his path. They quarrelled and, true to form, Fournier challenged Dupont to a duel.

Early next morning they met. Both officers were excellent swordsmen and neither could win an advantage. Eventually Dupont slipped inside Fournier’s guard and wounded him.

A month later, when Fournier had recovered, they met again. This time it was Dupont who fell.

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Captain John Symmes promulgated the ‘hollow earth’ theory

Posted in Absurd, America, Geography, Historical articles, History, Oddities on Friday, 1 November 2013

This edited article about John Symmes originally appeared in Look and Learn issue number 446 published on 1 August 1970.

Jackson at New Orleans, picture, image, illustration

Captain John Symmes fought under General Andrew Jackson in the War of 1812

Supplies were running short. The British were firmly established around the walls of Fort Erie and the Americans inside realised that they must break out or surrender with ignominy. The American-British war, an offshoot of Britain’s struggle against Napoleon, was drawing to its climax.

One American seized the initiative. Captain John Symmes called for volunteers, formed a small commando and led a furious sortie against the British guns, capturing a battery and spiking the cannon himself. For this and other acts of valour in the war he was long remembered. But his name has survived in another connexion, too. He believed the earth was hollow and spent his life trying to prove it.

Symmes announced his theory in 1818 in a circular addressed to the principal places of learning in American and Europe and to Congress.

“I believe,” he wrote, “that the earth is hollow, habitable within, containing a number of solid concentric spheres one within another; and that it opens at the pole 12 or 16 degrees. I pledge my life in support of this truth and am ready to explore the hollow if the world will support and aid me in the undertaking.”

As a precaution, he enclosed with the circular a medical report testifying to his sanity.

His belief was not immediately rejected. No one was anxious to make fun of a distinguished veteran and, moreover, in an age when many branches of science were still in their infancy, no one could afford to dismiss any theory too lightly. Certainly in Russia, Symmes’ theories were treated with a good deal of respect.

In the next few years, Symmes issued more pamphlets. He reiterated his belief that at the North and South Poles were holes through which an explorer might enter the new worlds of which he dreamed. These became known as Symmes’ Holes or Cavities.

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