July 31st is the birthday of artist and naturalist Mary Vaux Walcott. Born in 1860, Walcott took an early interest in the arts. After spending many of her summers in the wilds of Western Canada with her family, she turned her artistic inclinations towards botanical illustration. Later in life, she married Charles Doolittle Walcott, who was Secretary of the Smithsonian at the time (1914).

She returned to the Rockies for many months out of the year with Charles as he conducted paleontological and geological studies. There she continued her watercolor studies of native flowers. The Smithsonian published her illustrations in North American Wild Flowers in 1925 in a five volume set that you can find in the Biodiversity Heritage Library.  

We’ve posted about Walcott before, here and here. Her work is exceptionally beautiful, and we think some of the blooms here might have even been in bloom around her birthday.


Andreas Cellarius, Harmonia Macrocosmica, 1660. Scenography of the planetary orbits encompassing the Earth. 2 The spiral revolution of the Sun around the Earth 3 The astrological aspects among the planets. Source


Henri Breuil, color illustrations of Altamira Cave paintings, 1906. In: Illustrated London News, 1912.

In 1879, Marcelino Sanz de Sautuolo discovered, on his property in Altamira, Spain, drawings on the ceiling of a cave. These were the first examples of palaeolithic cave paintings ever found. The cave contains remains of the daily activities of its inhabitants who lived there between 22,000 and 14,000 before the present.

More Blade and Bone, online exhibition Linda Hall Library.


Ancient egyptians and their dogs. From the book I monumenti dell’Egitto by Ippolito Rosselini, 1832. Drawings from murals. The complete book online via NYPL

Obviously the dogs had beautiful collars and a personal walker; they were trained for hunting, loved as pets and used for a diverse breeding.