A Book of Images

An exploration of echoes and resonances across two millennia of visual culture, celebrating ten years of The Public Domain Review.

  • Funding ended
  • 2510 backers
  • $201,574.85 of $65,894.50 pledged
Funded 305%
  • Funding ended
  • 2510 backers
  • $201,574.85 of $65,894.50 pledged
Funded 305%


Gathering a remarkable collection of over 500 public domain images, Affinities is a carefully curated visual journey illuminating connections across more than two thousand years of image-making. Drawing on a decade of archival immersion at The Public Domain Review, the book has been assembled from a vast array of sources: from manuscripts to museum catalogues, ship logs to primers on Victorian magic. The images are arranged in a single captivating sequence which unfurls according to a dreamlike logic, through a play of visual echoes and evolving thematic threads – hatching eggs twin with early Burmese world maps, marbled endpapers meet tattooed stowaways, and fireworks explode beside deep-sea coral.

At once an art book, a sourcebook, and a kaleidoscopic visual poem, Affinities is a unique and enthralling publication that will offer something different on each visit. Exquisitely cloth-bound and extending across more than 360 pages, its playful and imaginative space invites the reader to transcend familiar categories of epoch, style, or historical theme, and to instead revel in a new world of creative possibilities played out between the images – opening up new connections, ways of seeing, and forms of knowledge.

A compelling object and experience in its own right, Affinities also acts as a launchpad for further discoveries and inventive engagements with the commons. Channelling the bold curatorial spirit of The Public Domain Review, the book’s meticulous sourcing points to works, creators, and collections around the world, serving as a gateway for future forays into the digital public domain.

Launched to coincide with the tenth anniversary of The Public Domain Review, the book promises to give followers of the hugely popular site more of the wonderful encounters that they have come to expect, and to introduce a new audience to its singular creative vision. Volume is delighted to move this digital cabinet of curiosities onto the printed page.


Adam Green


Nicholas Jeeves


Visual Culture


280 x 215 mm
368 pages
Covered in real cloth with foil-blocked text
Embossed and tipped-in cover image



• Edition limited to Volume
• Exclusive updates
• Your name in the book

Collector’s edition + prints

• Slipcased special edition
• Set of four prints limited to a run of 100
• Custom-designed poster
• Exclusive updates
• Your name in the book

Book Early Bird

• Reduced price
• Edition limited to Volume
• Exclusive updates
• Your name in the book

Collector’s edition

• Slipcased special edition
• Custom-designed poster only available with this edition
• Limited to 400 copies
• Exclusive updates
• Your name in the book

Funding successful. This project closed on Friday, June 4 2021 4:00 pm UTC +00:00.

All pledges will be refunded in full if the funding goal is not met within the allotted time.


The Public Domain Review

Dedicated to the exploration of curious and compelling works from the history of art, literature, and ideas, The Public Domain Review presents overlooked cultural works that have fallen into the public domain.

Through its essays and collections it brings readers a breath-taking range of material from galleries, libraries, museums, and archives the world over. Earning praise from the likes of The Guardian, The New York Times, and Vice, it has welcomed more than 20 million people to its pages since launching a decade ago.

With a focus on the surprising, the strange, and the beautiful, the project celebrates the breadth and diversity of our shared cultural commons and the minds that have made it. Affinities is a shining summation of that work thus far.

An Aladdin’s cave of curiosity…the best thing on the web.

The Guardian

Collector’s Edition

For those seeking something truly special, Volume is offering this Collector’s Edition, limited to 500 copies. Bound in an elegant shade of blue, with palladium foiling and custom endpapers, this covetable offering comes housed in its own cloth-bound slipcase.

This unique publication is accompanied by a limited-edition poster, measuring 840 x 560 mm when unfolded, showcasing every image in the book. Complementing the book’s human-edited sequence of images, the poster explores the concept of digital image association in the age of the internet. Designed and developed in collaboration with researchers at King’s College London, the Public Data Lab, and DensityDesign Lab in Milan, it presents a layout of the book’s images according to machine-learning algorithms that find affinities and cluster images based on training datasets.

Exclusively limited to this Volume edition, the poster is printed on 170 gsm matt-art paper.

A gold mine of fantastic images and stories.

The New York Times

A Collection of Prints

Volume is also pleased to offer a selection of prints from an enigmatic 16th-century German manuscript of geometrical and perspective drawings. Including the cover image of Affinities and three others from the manuscript, this visual quartet of prints plays on the themes of repetition and difference so key to the book.

Measuring 270 x 200 mm and printed on heavy textured art paper, these giclée prints will be limited to 100 sets and are only available as part of the campaign. This offering is perfect for long-standing supporters of The Public Domain Review who wish to bring the spirit of Affinities from the bookcase to the wall.

The Public Domain Review provides the world with an accessible alley to explore some of the most interesting and formative parts of our culture … carving out a niche as a beautifully curated website with a solid editorial line.


Meet the Editor

Adam Green is co-founder and editor of The Public Domain Review, an online journal and not-for-profit project dedicated to exploring curious and compelling works from the history of art, literature, and ideas. Since launching the project in 2011, he’s taken the review from modest beginnings to one of the most renowned digital projects of its kind, lauded by such outlets as The Guardian, The New York Times, and Vice. He is also working on other experimental art and literary projects that build on his editorial work plumbing the depths of historical archives. He is currently in limbo on the edge of the Peak District in the U.K.

Campaign successful!

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Dear Affinities backers,

We’re delighted to say that thanks to all of your support, the campaign has been among our most successful, and the book will now go into production.

We’re looking forward to keeping you posted on every stage in the journey of the book’s creation, from a kernel of an idea in the book’s editor, and Public Domain Review co-founder, Adam Green’s head, to the printed page. For now, we’ll let Adam express his appreciation in his own words:

“I wanted to just say a very enormous thank you to all for making the crowdfunding campaign such a success — and in general for making this book a reality! The process of crowdfunding a book really does lay bare how the birth and life of a publication is as much about the readers as the creators. It’s been such an amazing experience putting the final touches on the layout while seeing the backer numbers rise as they have and imagining all those hands all over the world turning the pages. I really have been totally humbled and bowled over by the response and I can’t wait for you all to have this very special book in your hands!”

And by way of a small thank you from Volume, we’d like to offer you a 10% discount on the other books currently available on the site. Take your pick from a signed copy of Belle and Sebastian: Illustrated Lyrics, the first in a new series pairing lyricists with the artist of their choice, which is selling fast, The Finishers, a photographic record of the Barkley Marathons, or Rational Simplicity, the long-overdue monograph celebrating influential mid-century designer, Rudy de Harak. Simply enter PUBLICDOMAIN at checkout.

The Volume team.

Public Domain Review

Print by Christian Friedrich Fritzsch depicting fireworks in Hamburg to celebrate the coronation of Emperor Franz I. Stephan in 1745. (Universitätsbibliothek Heidelberg)

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