The Public Domain Review is a not-for-profit project dedicated to showcasing the most interesting and unusual out-of-copyright works available online. All works eventually fall out of copyright – from classic works of art, music and literature, to abandoned drafts, tentative plans, and overlooked fragments.
The technique of intarsia — the fitting together of pieces of intricately cut wood to make often complex images — has produced some of the most awe-inspiring pieces of Renaissance craftsmanship. Daniel Elkind explores the history of this masterful art, and how an added dash of colour arose from a most unlikely source: lumber ridden with fungus.
Characterised as manipulative, power-hungry, and even an alter rex, Henry VIII's right-hand man Cardinal Thomas Wolsey has been typically depicted with a body mass to rival his political weight. Katherine Harvey asks whether he was really the glutton of popular legend, and what such an image reveals about the link between the body, reputation, and power in Tudor England.
Benjamin Breen on the remarkable story of George Psalmanazar, the mysterious Frenchman who successfully posed as a native of Formosa (now modern Taiwan) and gave birth to a meticulously fabricated culture with bizarre customs, exotic fashions, and its own invented language.