1091 Project: From Art To Eyeballs

1091 graphicThis month on the 1091 Project we are highlighting the non-book, non-paper items that come to the conservation lab for evaluation and rehousing. In our collections we have the usual amounts of prints, drawings, paintings and various other kinds of artwork. But we also have hanks of famous-people’s hair, pink felt dragons, christening gowns, weather vanes, plaster death masks, roll-playing figurines, shaving mugs, poison arrows…you name it, we likely have it. We have several items in the lab right now that fall into this category.

In The Lab For Enclosures

Our History of Medicine Collection provides endless challenges including these hand-blown glass eyeballs. They are so lovely and delicate, and a little creepy (the eyes seem to follow you like the Picture of Dorian Grey).

glass eyes
Glass eyes from the History of Medicine Collection.

Also from HOM is this 18th Century screw-barrel microscope in a shagreen (skate skin) case. We just started making these nifty picture-labels for objects that we put in boxes. It is a quick way to identify what should be in the box, and if the item isn’t in the box, you know what to look for.

Screw barrel microscope in shagreen case from the History of Medicine Collection.

Also in the lab is this Memento Mori, a lovely and delicate ivory carving of a contemplative skeleton who we have nicknamed “Jack.”

memento mori
Ivory memento mori.

HOM isn’t the only collection with fascinating non-book items. Check out this wonderful U.S. patent model of a continuous cigarette rolling machine dating from 1876. It is about two feet long and one foot high, and all the moving parts work.

cigarette rolling machine
Continuous cigarette rolling machine patent model.

If you are interested in seeing previous boxing projects, you can check out our Flickr page. Be sure to head over to Parks Library Preservation to see what amazing things they have in their lab.

3 thoughts on “1091 Project: From Art To Eyeballs”

  1. I LOVE the eyeballs. When I told Adam what we were writing about this month, and mentioned the glass eyeballs, he said, “Oh. Beth definitely wins this round.” Jack the skeleton is also very charming!

  2. I love the eyeballs, too. Apparently this was a salesman’s box of samples. It must be the blue-eye box because they are all blue with varying shades of whites.

    Jack is amazingly detailed right down to being able to see his teeth and each bone in the toes and fingers. It seems to be one piece of ivory.

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