Since 1946, the Clown Egg Register has collected blown eggshells that clowns hand-paint with their distinctive makeup, in order to claim that particular makeup as belonging to them; by custom, clowns do not copy each others' faces.
If this sounds familiar, it might be because a clown egg register plays a key role in a murder mystery in Making Money, one of my all-time favorite Terry Pratchett novels.
Today, the Clown Egg Register lives in the Wookey Hole Clowns Gallery-Museum in Somerset, and most of the eggs are ceramic, to avoid the inevitable damage and loss of history.
Photographers Luke Stephenson and Helen Champion have documented the egg-faces in a new book called The Clown Egg Register (natch). It sounds gorgeous and incredibly weird, and makes me want to swing by Somerset the next time I'm in London!
This mesmerizing volume collects more than 150 of these portraits, from 1946 to the modern day, accompanied by short personal histories of many of the clowns. Here are Tricky Nicky, Taffy, Bobo, Sammy Sunshine, the legendary Emmett Kelly, and Jolly Jack, clowning since 1977 and still performing today with a penguin puppet named Biscuit. A treasure just like the eggs it enshrines, The Clown Egg Register is an extraordinary archive of images and lives of the men and women behind the make-up.
The Clown Egg Register [Luke Stephenson and Helen Champion/Chronicle Books]
How whimsical/horrifying! Here’s a book of clown faces painted onto eggs.
Amsterdam's Bibliotheca Philosophica Hermetica (AKA "The Ritman Library) houses more ths 25,000 occult texts, covering "Hermetics, Rosicrucians, Theosophy, alchemy, mysticism, Gnosis and Western Esotericism, Sufism, Kabbalah, Anthroposophy, Catharism, Freemasonry, Manichaeism, Judaica, the Grail, Esotericism, and comparative religion."
The queue area at the Haunted Mansion at Disneyland features a row of changing portraits wherein paintings everyday scenes are revealed as sinister and haunted (originally the effect was done with crossfading slide-projectors; now it's done with an amazing, crisp electroluminiscent effect).
This is my last day at my desk until Labor Day: tomorrow, we're driving to Burning Man to get our annual dirtrave fix! If you're heading to the playa, here's three places and times you can find me:
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