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Alonso Sánchez Coello

Alonso Sánchez Coello was an Iberian portrait painter of the Spanish and Portuguese Renaissance. He is known for his portrait paintings executed in a style, which combines the objectivity of the Flemish tradition with the sensuality of Venetian painting, he was court painter to Philip II. Alonso Sánchez Coello was born in Benifairó de les Valls, near Valencia in Spain, he spent his childhood there until the death of his father. He left for Portugal c. 1541 or 1542 to live with his grandfather, in the service of the Portuguese monarchs and had been raised to the Portuguese nobility. Coello's years in Portugal and his family name of Portuguese origin led to a long-standing belief that he was in fact Portuguese, his grandfather's master King John III of Portugal sent the young painter to study with Anthonis Mor in Flanders around 1550. He came under the protection of Antoine de Granville, bishop of Arras, a patron of Mor. In 1552, the painter went to Lisbon with Anthonis Mor when Charles V commissioned Mor to paint the Portuguese royal family.

For a few years, Sánchez Coello remained in Portugal working for the court of the heir to the throne, João Manuel, Prince of Portugal. After the prince's death, Sánchez Coello moved to the Spanish court of Philip II, having been recommended by the widow of John, the sister of the Spanish king. In 1555, Sánchez Coello was in Valladolid working for the Spanish court. Sánchez Coello became Court Painter in 1560. Sánchez Coello married Louisa Reyaltes, a daughter of a silversmith, in either 1560 or 1561 in Valladolid; the couple had seven children. Coello's daughter, Isabel Sánchez, became a painter, she helped in her father's workshop. The painter moved with the court to Toledo and settled in Madrid in 1561. Coello worked on religious themes for most of the palaces for El Escorial, larger churches. Philip II was godfather to two of his daughters; the painter spent the remainder of his life at the court, becoming a personal favourite of the king and acquiring honours and wealth. Among his disciples were Juan Pantoja de la Cruz and Felipe de Liaño.

Lope de Vega praised Coello in his work Laurel to Apolo. Alonso Sánchez Coello died in Madrid on 8 August 1588. Sánchez Coello produced religious paintings; the religious works, many of which were created for El Escorial, are conventional and undistinguished. They are still a good example of the more austere style. Among his religious paintings is the St. Sebastian in the church of San Geronimo in Madrid. To the artist is attributed a topographical view of the busy port of Sevilla. Sánchez Coello was a follower of Titian, like him, excelled in portraits and single figures, elaborating the textures of his armours and such accessories in a manner that had a notable influence on Velázquez's style regarding those objects. From Mor, Coello learned precision in representation, from Titian he incorporated Venetian gold tones, generous workmanship, the use of light on a canvas, it is for his portraits. They are marked by an ease of pose and execution, a dignity and sobriety of representation, warmth of colouring.

Although influenced by the paintings of both Mor and Titian, these portraits display an original talent and reflect admirably the modesty and formality of the Spanish court. Paintings of Philip II and Infanta Isabel Clara Eugenia, both in the Prado, are two of his finest works. Sánchez Coello produced a touching series of paintings of the children of Philip II; the extreme delicacy of the children's portrait softens the rigid etiquette and fashion of the court. The double portrait of the Infantas Isabella Clara Eugenia and Catalina Micaela is an example. Sánchez Coello's reputation as a portraitist has been diminished by the innumerable copies and imitations that wrongly bear his name. While his debt to Mor is evident, Sánchez Coello brought distinctive qualities to the court portrait, notably a sharp sense of colour, a crispness of execution and a heightened realism. There has not been a biography of Coello, many of his works are still confused with those of Sofonisba Anguissola, who painted royal portraits in the same period, Juan Pantoja de la Cruz, Coello's pupil.

Media related to Alonso Sánchez Coello at Wikimedia Commons

Chitinozoan

Chitinozoa are a taxon of flask-shaped, organic walled marine microfossils produced by an as yet unknown animal. Common from the Ordovician to Devonian periods, the millimetre-scale organisms are abundant in all types of marine sediment across the globe; this wide distribution, their rapid pace of evolution, makes them valuable biostratigraphic markers. Their bizarre form has made ecological reconstruction difficult. Since their discovery in 1931, suggestions of protist and fungal affinities have all been entertained; the organisms have been better understood as improvements in microscopy facilitated the study of their fine structure, there is mounting evidence to suggest that they represent either the eggs or juvenile stage of a marine animal. The ecology of chitinozoa is open to speculation. Most species were particular about their living conditions, tend to be most common in specific paleoenvironments, their abundance varied with the seasons. Chitinozoa range in length from around 50 to 2000 micrometres.

They appear dark to opaque when viewed under an optical microscope. External ornamentation is preserved on the surface of the fossils, in the form of hairs, loops or protrusions, which are sometimes as large as the chamber itself; the range and complexity of ornament increased with time, against a backdrop of decreasing organism size. The earliest Ordovician species were smooth-walled. While shorter appendages are solid, larger protrusions tend to be hollow, with some of the largest displaying a spongy internal structure; however hollow appendages leave no mark on the inner wall of the organisms: this may suggest that they were secreted or attached from the outside. There is some debate about the number of layers present in the organisms' walls: up to three layers have been reported, with the internal wall ornamented; the multitude of walls may indeed reflect the construction of the organism, but could be a result of the preservational process. "Immature" or juvenile examples of chitinozoans have not been found.

Most chitinozoans are found as isolated fossils, but chains of multiple tests, joined from aperture to base, have been reported from all genera. Long chains tend to take the form of a spring. Clusters or condensed chains are found, packed in an organic "cocoon". Alfred Eisenack's original description of the Chitinozoans placed them in three families, spanning seven genera, based on morphological grounds. Further genera were identified, at first on an annual basis. Since its publication in 1931, Eisenack's original classification has been much honed by these additional discoveries, as well as advances in microscopy; the advent of the scanning electron microscope in the 1970s allowed the improved detection of surface ornamentation, hugely important in identification - as can be appreciated by a comparison of the images on this page. The light microscope image here is of far greater quality than could have been achieved earlier in the century, using poorly preserved specimens and less advanced microscopes.

The original three families proposed by Eisenack represented the best classification possible with available data, based on the presence or absence of chains of organisms and the chamber's shape. The orders were subsequently revised to conform better to Linnean taxonomy, placing related organisms more together; this was made possible as scientific advances permitted the identification of distinctive traits in organisms across Eisenack's groups. Features of the base and neck, the presence of spines, perforations or connections are now considered the most useful diagnostic features. Alfred Eisenack's original guess was that the Chitinozoa were of the rhizopod order Testacea, since similar chitin-based tests were produced by the extant members of this group. However, the chemistry of these tests differs from that of the fossils, modern Testacea are exclusively fresh-water - an different environment. Within a year, he had abandoned this initial idea. Arguments put forwards by Obut proposed that the organisms were one-celled "plants" similar to the dinoflagellates, which would now be grouped into the Alveolata.

However, as mentioned spines and appendages are attached from the exterior of the vessel: only animals have the cellular machinery necessary to perform such a feat. Further, no analogy for the cocoon envelope can be found in this kingdom; the graptolites are colonial organic walled fossils which occurred from the Ordovician to the Devonian. It has been suggested that the Chitinozoa may represent the pre-sicula stages of graptolites - the period between the colony's sexual reproduction, the formation of a new colony; this hypothesis appears to be supported by the co-occurrence of graptolite and chitinozoan fossils, whose abundances appear to mirror one another. The similar chemical composition of the fossils has been seized by both sides of the argument. Proponents suggest that the use of the same chemical framework is an indicator that the two may be related. However, this factor means that situations favouring the preservation of one will tend to preserve the o

Henry MacLauchlan

Henry MacLauchlan was a British military and archaeological surveyor. Born into a military family, MacLauchlan studied surveying whilst a cadet at the Tower of London with the Royal Corps of Military Surveyors and Draftsmen, he joined the Ordnance Survey a few years later. After leaving the army, MacLauchlan worked with geologist Henry De la Beche on a survey of Cornwall and for the Duke of Northumberland to survey archaeology in the north of England. MacLauchlan died in Clapham in 1882. MacLauchlan was born at the British Army base of Landguard Fort in Felixstowe, Suffolk, to Andrew MacLauchlan, a storekeeper for the Board of Ordnance, his second wife, Martha Haywood. After his father's death in 1795, MacLauchlan moved in with his mother's family in Chichester, before becoming, around 1804, a cadet with the Royal Corps of Military Surveyors and Draftsmen at the Tower of London, he spent several years with the army as a draughtsman in Cork, Ireland before the corps disbanded in 1817 and he was retired on half pay.

MacLauchlan worked with the Ordnance Survey from 1823 to 1824, making surveys in Gloucestershire, South Wales and Bedfordshire. As well as surveying, MacLauchlan was interested in geology, being elected a fellow of the Geological Society in 1832 and being known to the geologists William Conybeare and George Bellas Greenough. In 1835 he was seconded to Henry De la Beche to provide geographical expertise for his geological survey of Cornwall. MacLauchlan returned to surveying in 1839, before retiring in November 1844. Upon retirement MacLauchlan moved to Cornwall, where he surveyed hill forts and linear earthworks for the Assessionable Manors Commission, he published his findings in six papers in the annual reports of the Royal Institution of Cornwall between 1847 and 1853. By 1848 he was conducting a survey of the archaeology of the North Riding of Yorkshire on behalf of the Duke of Northumberland, an amateur archaeologist, his work in Yorkshire was published in the Archaeological Journal. The Duke commissioned MacLauchlan to survey parts of Northumberland, including Watling Street and Hadrian's Wall, the results of which were published between 1850 and 1867.

MacLauchlan was consulted in 1854 by a commission of the British Parliament, investigating which scales should be used by the Ordnance Survey for mapping and how best to represent hills on maps. MacLauchlan recommended the use of shading to show hills, considering contour lines to be less informative and aesthetically pleasing. MacLauchlan never married and, when not in the field surveying, resided in Lambeth or Clapham in London, he died at 14 Liston Road, Clapham on 27 January 1882. MacLauchlan was little known until the 1950s and 1960s, when scholars of pre-historic and Roman northern England acknowledged the value of his accurate work in his derivation of place names