The Devil’s Acres

The Devils Acres_ Illustrations by Kenneth Skeaping
(Image by Kenneth Skeaping from the 1891 book “The Devil’s Acres”)

Over one million images from 17th-19th century books have been scanned and released by the British Library. The images are available for general use and are stored in a variety of categories including flora and fauna, old advertisements, maps, technology, portraits, science fiction.

Searching through the images I was taken by this illustration from the book The Devil’s Acres. Here a child holds her mother as an unknown force surrounds them. The mother brings her hands to her ears suggesting a terrifying sound is filling the house. The Devil’s Acres was published on the order of Pope Pius XII and was written anonymously due to the nature of its contents although it is thought to have been written by Bishop Johannes Neuhausler.

The British library is currently running a project asking for soundscapes to be added to these images:

Whether you’re a musician, artist or designer, we’d like to invite you to bring these images to life by creating a short sound piece inspired by this amazing collection. Whether you’re interested in creating a sound portrait of an exotic landscape or fancy tackling something a little more abstract, we’d love to hear what you come up with.

This is a good opportunity to flex some creative muscle while having a bit of fun. For more information follow the link to the British Library’s Sound and Vision blog.

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