The Collaged World of Tom Tit - Art of RetroCollage | Art of RetroCollage

The Collaged World of Tom Tit

ArthurGood (alias "Tom Tit")

Arthur Good (alias “Tom Tit”), in a photograph from the late 19th or early 20th century.

” was the pen-name of Arthur Good (1853-1928), a French author and caricaturist. In the late nineteenth century, he wrote a long series of weekly articles (entitled La Science Amusante, or Amusing Science) for the French pictorial magazine L’Illustration, describing how to do simple physics experiments, geometrical demonstrations, or craft projects with the aid of everyday household objects and materials. These were illustrated with beautiful wood engravings done by the noted engraver Louis Poyet (1846-1913) and his assistants. Poyet was an expert of scientific subjects, and his work graced many of the more important scientific and technical journals of his time, including La Nature and Scientific American.

Lustre en bulles de savon / Soap-bubble Chandelier

Lustre en bulles de savon (Soap-bubble Chandelier). Engraving by Louis Poyet and associates, from La Science Amusante (Amusing Science), by Arthur Good. Late 19th-early 20th centuries.

Moteur Stéarique / Candle-wax Engine

Moteur Stéarique (Candle-wax Engine). Engraving by Louis Poyet and associates, from La Science Amusante (Amusing Science), by Arthur Good. Late 19th-early 20th centuries.

Much of the mysterious surrealistic charm of these engravings is due to Good’s imaginative design of his improvised scientific apparatus (often combining bottles, eggs, wine glasses, corks, wire, candles, soap, pen nibs, walnut shells, pins, paper, and other common items into bizarre-looking constructions) and its careful rendition by Poyet and his associates.

Le Portique. -- L'Anneau de fil. (The Portico. -- The Wire Ring.)


Le Portique. — L’Anneau de fil. (The Portico. — The Wire Ring.) Engraving by Louis Poyet and associates, from La Science Amusante (Amusing Science), by Arthur Good. Late 19th-early 20th centuries.

Constructions en cartes de visite. (Calling-card Structures.)

Constructions en cartes de visite. (Calling-card Structures.) Engraving by Louis Poyet and associates, from La Science Amusante (Amusing Science), by Arthur Good. Late 19th-early 20th centuries.

During the 1920s and 1930s, the Surrealists discovered and used  illustrations from the Tom Tit books for collage.   However, many of the pictures are so strange to start with that they are surrealist collages in their own right, needing no further montage or juxtaposition with other images: pictorial “Readymades” that could be favorably compared with the works of some of the artists inspired to use them, among them giants like Max Ernst and Joseph Cornell.

The Science Amusante columns were collected into three “Series” volumes published in the late nineteenth and early twentienth centuries in France. A collection of the articles appeared as a book in English in the United States, under the title Magical Experiments, or Science in Play. Other editions in English were later published in Great Britain. The Tom Tit books were also translated into Italian and Spanish.

Good wrote some additional collections of project instructions for DIY toys and amusements, including: Pour Amuser Les Petits ou les joujoux qu’on peut faire soi-même (To Amuse the Little Ones, or Do-It-Yourself Small Toys), La Récréation En Famille (Family Recreations), Les Bons Jeudis (Fun Thursdays), and Joujoux en Papier (Paper Toys).

Good was noted as well for his caricatures of famous Britons of the early twentieth century, published as a collection in London in 1913.

To see more Tom Tit illustrations, please visit:

http://retrocollage.tumblr.com/tagged/tomtit

Or:

La Science Amusante: the Strange & Surreal World of Tom Tit

 

Text created & copyright © by Eric Edelman. All rights reserved.

{ 14 comments }

  • DrillerAA December 11, 2012, 7:02 pm

    I just love the graphics that are posted here. They are both retro and timeless.

    Reply
    • Eric Edelman December 11, 2012, 8:48 pm

      I feel the same way. Many of these illustrations, and others like them, have served as inspirations and source material for my collages over the past fifteen years. Thanks very much for your visit and comment!

      Reply
  • Alissa Apel December 11, 2012, 10:11 pm

    They look great! A cool series.
    Alissa Apel recently posted..WW: Let’s Get Down to Business {Linky}

    Reply
    • Eric Edelman December 11, 2012, 10:20 pm

      Glad you like them, Alissa–thanks for your visit and comment!

      Reply
  • Fitness Buff December 12, 2012, 3:30 am

    Nice work!
    Fitness Buff recently posted..Your Favorite Comfort Carb

    Reply
    • Eric Edelman December 12, 2012, 11:47 am

      Glad you like it. Thanks for your comment!

      Reply
  • stevebethere December 12, 2012, 4:55 am

    Fabulicious set this week again, thanks for sharing
    stevebethere recently posted..Wordless Wednesday – Forbidden Fruit

    Reply
    • Eric Edelman December 12, 2012, 11:45 am

      Thanks very much, Steve–as usual, you’re Johnny on the spot!

      Reply
  • Rebecca December 12, 2012, 7:12 am

    it looks so awesome! reminds me of my history classes.. :)

    Rebecca
    Rebecca recently posted..Getting Down in San Francisco

    Reply
    • Eric Edelman December 12, 2012, 11:44 am

      Glad you like them. I’d like to attend the kind of history that you do–thanks very much for your visit and your comment, Rebecca!

      Reply
  • ❤ Julie Maloney ❤ (@Momspective) December 12, 2012, 1:06 pm

    Filled with a wealth of historical knowledge, thanks so much for sharing!
    ❤ Julie Maloney ❤ (@Momspective) recently posted..Wordless Wednesday – Here Kitty, Kitty! (Linky)

    Reply
    • Eric Edelman December 13, 2012, 12:42 am

      Thanks, Julie–glad that you enjoyed it!

      Reply
  • Betty December 12, 2012, 9:20 pm

    Thanks for another fascinating article, Eric! I do enjoy your “Wordless Wednesday”.

    Reply
    • Eric Edelman December 12, 2012, 11:51 pm

      Thanks very much, Betty! Have a great week.

      Reply

{ 14 comments… add one }

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