Robert Howlett, Isambard Kingdom Brunel, builder of the Great Eastern, ca. 1857-1858. George Eastman House,

Photographer: Robert Howlett | Isambard Kingdom Brunel, builder of the Great Eastern | ca. 1857-1858 | George Eastman House,

Here are some stories from around the Web that we’ve been reading this week:

The woman behind the rabbit

The works of Beatrix Potter, author of The Tale of Peter Rabbit and one of the most successful writers of all time, recently came into the public domain in many countries around the world. The Public Domain Review explores the complex woman behind the warm-hearted stories.

Ice cream with an abstractionist

New York School painter Ad Reinhardt, principally known for his ascetic black monochromes, was also the creative director for trade magazine Ice Cream Field. The Smithsonian Institute’s Archives of American Arts shares one of his light-hearted covers.

Girl with a Pearl Earring grounded

The Mauritshuis royal picture gallery in The Hague has grounded Vermeer’s Girl with a Pearl Earring. After a triumphant tour of Japan, the United States, and Italy, the museum will no longer allow the masterpiece to travel. (Incidentally, Artstor is working with the Mauritshuis to bring Girl and hundreds of other masterpieces to the Digital Library.)

Uncrating a masterpiece

And speaking of traveling masterpieces, The Metropolitan Museum of Art shows the arrival and uncrating of a new acquisition: a painting by Charles Le Brun.

18th-century falsies

The “All Things Georgian” blog looks at the ways people in the 18th century used enhancements to improve their looks, including “cork rumps” to augment derrieres, “tin pinafores” (false bellies), and false calves.