Le Monde Physique : Illustrating Scientific Phenomena Beautifully (1881)

illustrations for Amédée Guillemin's encyclopedia make science beautiful

 

In 1881, French journalist Amédée Guillemin (July 5, 1826–January 2, 1893) published his encyclopedia Le monde physique (The Physical World). Guillemin’s opus expanded on his work as a maths teacher and science editor of l’Avenir national (The Nation’s Future).

He wrote many book on science, including Le ciel (1866), La lune (1868), and Le soleil (1873), Les cometes (1875) and The World of Comets (1877). Each book featured wood engravings and colored lithographs. They were a huge hit. By popular demand each edition was translated from French into English.

Le monde physique was the ultimate collection, containing 31 colored lithographs, 80 black-and-white plates, and just over 2000 illustrated diagrams by various artists, like René Henri Digeon. The phenomena of nature have rarely looked more beautiful.

 

Optics- spectra of various gases. Coloured process print by R.H. Digeon, ca. 1883.

Optics- spectra of various gases. Coloured process print by R.H. Digeon, ca. 1883.

Optics- a soap bubble exhibiting interference colours. Coloured mezzotint [?] by M. Rapine, c. 1883, after B. Desgoffe.

Optics- a soap bubble exhibiting interference colours. Coloured mezzotint [?] by M. Rapine, c. 1883, after B. Desgoffe.

Optics- colour scales for violet and yellow. Coloured process print [?] by R.H. Digeon, ca. 1868, after J. Silbermann.

Optics- colour scales for violet and yellow. Coloured process print [?] by R.H. Digeon, ca. 1868, after J. Silbermann.

Comet Donati above Notre-Dame. Drawing published in The sky of Amédée Guillemin, fifth edition (1877), Hachette.

Comet Donati above Notre-Dame.
Drawing published in The sky of Amédée Guillemin, fifth edition (1877), Hachette.

Amédée Guillemin moon

Optics- crystals exhibiting interference colours. Coloured process print by R.H. Digeon, ca. 1868, after J. Silbermann.

Optics- crystals exhibiting interference colours. Coloured process print by R.H. Digeon, ca. 1868, after J. Silbermann.

Le ciel. Notions d’astronomie à l’usage des gens du monde et de la jeunesse

Le ciel. Notions d’astronomie à l’usage des gens du monde et de la jeunesse

Explosion of the Quenngouck bolide meteor, 27th Dec 1857 (from Le Ciel by Amédée Guillemin, 1877 - RCScI Collection).

Explosion of the Quenngouck bolide meteor, 27th Dec 1857 (from Le Ciel by Amédée Guillemin, 1877 – RCScI Collection).

Meteorology- a double rainbow. Coloured lithograph by R.H. Digeon, 1868, after E. Ronjat.

Meteorology- a double rainbow. Coloured lithograph by R.H. Digeon, 1868, after E. Ronjat.

Amédée Guillemin the skys

Amédée Guillemin the skys

An illustration of the six-tailed Great Comet of 1744, observed before sunrise on March 9, 1744, from Les Comètes, by Amédée Guillemin

An illustration of the six-tailed Great Comet of 1744, observed before sunrise on March 9, 1744, from Les Comètes, by Amédée Guillemin

Comète De Donati as seen from Paris, October 4th, 1858 (frontispiece to Le Ciel by Amédée Guillemin, 1877). RCScI Collection.

Comète De Donati as seen from Paris, October 4th, 1858 (frontispiece to Le Ciel by Amédée Guillemin, 1877). RCScI Collection.

Electrical light in rarefied gas. Aquatint by M. Rapine, ca. 1880

Electrical light in rarefied gas. Aquatint by M. Rapine, ca. 1880

Total eclipse of the Sun, July 1860, illustrated by astronomer Warren de la Rue.

Total eclipse of the Sun, July 1860, illustrated by astronomer Warren de la Rue.

Optics- crystals exhibiting interference colours. Coloured mezzotint [?] by R.H. Digeon, ca. 1883, after J. Silbermann.

Optics- crystals exhibiting interference colours. Coloured mezzotint [?] by R.H. Digeon, ca. 1883, after J. Silbermann.

Via: PG Astro, Wellcome, BrainPickings