Ever since The Public Domain Review – a site dedicated to highlighting out of copyright works – began back in 2011, readers have implored the team to do a large format book of beautiful images. Well, finally, they have – and the crowdfunder for Affinities is very much on track — a very special book of images to celebrate the 10th anniversary of the project.
Gathering over 500 of public domain prints, paintings, illustrations, sketches, photographs, doodles, and everything in between, the book is a carefully curated journey exploring connections across more than two millennia of visual culture. The seasoned Public Domain Review reader will meet many favourites across the pages, but also a vast array of as-of-yet unshared delights dusted off especially for this volume.
Drawing on a decade of archival immersion at The Public Domain Review, the book, which runs to a whopping 368 pages, has been assembled from a vast array of sources: from manuscripts to museum catalogues, ship logs to primers on Victorian magic. The images are arranged in a single captivating sequence which unfurls according to a dreamlike logic, through a play of visual echoes and evolving thematic threads – hatching eggs twin with early Burmese world maps, marbled endpapers meet tattooed stowaways, and fireworks explode beside deep-sea coral.
“At once an art book, a sourcebook, and a kaleidoscopic visual poem, Affinities is a unique and enthralling publication that will offer something different on each visit.” the team enthuse. “Exquisitely cloth-bound and extending across more than 360 pages, its playful and imaginative space invites the reader to transcend familiar categories of epoch, style, or historical theme, and to instead revel in a new world of creative possibilities played out between the images – opening up new connections, ways of seeing, and forms of knowledge.
A compelling object and experience in its own right, Affinities also acts as a launchpad for further discoveries and inventive engagements with the commons. Channelling the bold curatorial spirit of The Public Domain Review, the book’s meticulous sourcing points to works, creators, and collections around the world, serving as a gateway for future forays into the digital public domain.
“While it’s taken the best part of a year to create (a true lockdown baby), this has really been 10 years in the making,” the team enthuse, “a book born from a decade of deep immersion in public domain archives.”
To help get this beauty made and assure the highest quality production, the PDR team have teamed up with specialist art book publisher Volume, an imprint of Thames & Hudson, to run a crowdfunder for the book, with over £25,000 of its £50,000 target achieved and over two months to go to hit it.
Launched to coincide with the tenth anniversary of The Public Domain Review, the book promises to give followers of the hugely popular site more of the wonderful encounters that they have come to expect, and to introduce a new audience to its singular creative vision. Volume is delighted to move this digital cabinet of curiosities onto the printed page.
280 x 215 mm | 368 pages
Covered in real cloth with foil-blocked text
Embossed and tipped-in cover image