Strange Flowers

I’ve recently discovered an 1847 volume entitled The First Six Books of The Elements of Euclid (“in which coloured diagrams and symbols are used instead of letters”), thanks to the always enlightening Public Domain Review. They report that Byrne’s unique volume “has become the subject of renewed interest in recent years for its innovative graphic conception and its style which prefigures the modernist experiments of the Bauhaus and De Stijl movements”. Nowhere is this amazingly modern sense of data presentation more apparent than when contrasted with the period decorative capitals used throughout the book. Because everything I know about geometry could be written on the palm of my hand (which it incidentally was, during exams), I have wilfully decontextualised the diagrams to highlight their graphic impact and minimalist elegance; you can find them in situ here.

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