Regular readers may remember Dr. Boli’s collection of hands from Google Books. He has many fine examples, monochrome and in color, of scanned librarians’ hands. But not one comes close, as a work of ironical art, to this hand from  A Progressive Drawing Book for Beginners by Philip Henry Delamotte.


  1. Clay Potts says:

    Hands down the best…

  2. Handsome hands . . .

    Jeffery Hodges

    * * *

  3. Why does the protective finger cover on the librarian’s hand look badly rotoscoped in?

    • Dr. Boli says:

      Google seems to have some algorithm that attempts to disguise librarians’ hands, with poor to abysmal success. Color seems to be one of its cues: a bright pink finger protector might have triggered it when a real hand did not.

  4. Maypo says:

    Give that librarian a hand!

  5. Big Brother says:

    Alas, seven years later, Google seems to have rescanned this book and this time not captured any human hands at work. I don’t suppose the good doctor has a saved copy of the image in question?

    • Dr. Boli says:

      Two things happen in Google Books. One is what Dr. Boli calls page drift: an embedded page image may, after a certain unpredictable length of time, drift to showing an image of the same size from a different page. The other is that the algorithms for suppressing images of librarians’ body parts seem to be improving. And you mention a third thing, which does seem to be the case here—sometimes books are rescanned.

      But there was good news waiting in the Boli archives, and, as you can see, the image is now restored.

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