This book and the other two volumes are a real treasure. With more than one hundred illustrations each (plus some 7-8 colour ones at the beginning of each volume) they give a pretty authentic picture of what people around the world must have looked like some 130 years ago. There are extensive detailed accounts on the various tribes and cultures, how their societies were structured, customs, religion etc. What amazed me when I first picked up these books twenty years ago were the elaborate portraits in them (even though all the pictures are of a great standard). Typically, no mention anywhere of the artists that did all this fascinating work without which these books wouldn't have been half as interesting! I'll be posting more portraits from the other volumes in the next week or so.
A charming illustration from a 1940s magazine advertising an "exotic" drink - not a chance for us to try any of it now I don't think, but the picture is great! The artist was Gerard Hoffnung (1925-1959) a British illustrator with a sizable output of work (considering he died relatively young). There are many examples of his humorous illustrations (many from his long term contribution to "Lilliput", a monthly magazine on Arts and Literature) on Chris Mullen's excellent website www.fulltable.com/VTS/aoi/h/hoffnung/h.htm and a summary of his life on Wikipedia.
Now I'm not religious in any way but I have a weakness for religious imagery from all over the world, Byzantine being the top of my list. So when I came across this book and another identical one on Yugoslavian Church paintings some twenty years ago I was really chuffed! Cheap too! They are huge in size (34x48cm) which helps to appreciate the beautiful work and the details of these icons. Shame about the flash on my camera (yes, still no scanner) but it was the best I could do on a gloomy day - can't remember when we last had a sunny day...I will scan a few more from this book when I get a chance and I'll post some of the Yugoslavian ones which are quite different.