Top 10 Most Read Pieces of 2020

Published

December 28, 2020

It's been a strange year to put it mildly. With so many spending more days at home, it has, of course, led to more time online, and we've been honoured to have so many include the PDR in your daily surf — 2.5 million of you browsing more than 6 million pages. You've found your way into many an obscure corner but, of course, some pieces have attracted more attention than others. Here's a rundown of our Top 10 most read of the year...

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For all its transcendental appeals, art has always been inextricably grounded in the material realities of its production, an entwinement most evident in the intriguing history of artists' colours. Focusing in on painting's primary trio of red, yellow, and blue, Philip Ball explores the science and stories behind the pigments, from the red ochre of Lascaux to Yves Klein’s blue. Read More »

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Dorothy Parker’s reputation as one of the premier wits of the 20th century rests firmly on the brilliance of her writing, but the image of her as a plucky, fast-talking, independent woman of her times owes more than a little to her seat at the legendary Algonquin Round Table. Jonathan Goldman explores the beginnings of the famed New York group and how Parker's determination to speak her mind — even when it angered men in positions of power — gave her pride of place within it. Read More »

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A wonderful selection of wave and ripple designs from by the Japanese artist Mori Yuzan. The book would have acted as a kind of go-to guide for Japanese craftsmen looking to adorn their wares with wave and ripple patterns. Read More »

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The story of American artist Sarah Goodridge’s erotic self-portrait on a miniature ivory plate, given as a secret present to her lover, US Senator Daniel Webster. Read More »

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Images from the Clavis Inferni or “The Key of Hell”, a mysterious late 18th-century book on black magic written in a mixture of Latin, Hebrew, and a cipher alphabet. Read More »

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5.

IMAGE COLLECTION

Plague Doctor Costumes

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Depictions of plague doctors in the bird mask and floor-length cloak first developed in France during the early 17th century. Read More »

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A selection of beautiful firemen’s coats from 19th-century Japan. The coats were reversible — one side was plain and the other side (worn on the inside while tackling blazes) was decorated with rich and symbolic imagery. Read More »

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Future visions of everyday life in the year 2000, from a series of French fin-de-siècle postcards. Read More »

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Selection of book covers produced during the bookbinding revolution of the 19th century and beyond. Read More »

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In the 21st-century, infographics are everywhere. In the classroom, in the newspaper, in government reports, these concise visual representations of complicated information have changed the way we imagine our world. Susan Schulten explores the pioneering work of Emma Willard (1787–1870), a leading feminist educator whose innovative maps of time laid the groundwork for the charts and graphics of today. Read More »

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Pantagruel
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