Spanish Realism

I have written a lot about what was going on in 17th Century England, which largely involved religious arguments and the Civil War, but also the massive loss of art, the turning towards the use of words. In Spain they went the other way, as was shown in a show at the National Gallery some … Continue reading

Modern Curiosity

This is another extract from Barbara M Benedict’s book, Curiosity: “Curiosity is the expression of the contest between individual and public truth. Cultural representations of inquiry explore boundaries between individual and state desires, popular and enlightened methodologies gossip and legislated information, art and nature. As subjects and objects, curious people and things overstep or dismantle … Continue reading

A Curious Clock

This is from John Evelyn’s Diary, February 1655. I love his spelling: “I was shew’d a table clock whose ballance was onely a chrystall ball sliding on parallel wyers without being at all fixed, but rollng from stage to stage till falling on a spring conceal’d from sight, it was throwne up to the upmost … Continue reading

Post no. 1801

Miscounted on the last; thought this was no. 1800.but this is another milestone of sorts. So many thanks for the followers, especially to Jessica who has been with me since I started this blog, all of 3 years ago.

Evelyn and Cromwell

Oliver Cromwell was a soldier, who famously neglected the navy, but here is an account of him with a newly built ship, by John Evelyn, February 1655: “I went to see the greate ship newly built by the Usurper Oliver, carrying 96 brasse guns, and 1000 tons burthen. In the prow was Oliver on horseback, … Continue reading

Eynsham Fair

This is from a local history site, but I don’t know which one. Written by Daisy Ainsley Grabsky. “At some time between 1135 and 1140 King Stephen gave to Eynsham the right to hold a weekly market (on Sundays). Between 1154 and 1166 Henry II confirmed the market and added the privilege of a fair, … Continue reading

Chatterton and History

Thomas Chatterton was one of the most famous Bristolians of the 18th century, for his poetry attributed to the priest Thomas Rowley, but was a big fraud, the exposure of which eventually led to the boy’s suicide. This is where he seems to have got his inspiration. This is from ‘Bristol Past and Present’: “Thomas … Continue reading

An Honest Memorial

When people die, they are generally praised by those left behind, it seems now, due to good manners, but belief in the afterlife was still widespread, so possibly due to them taking revenge. So this account is a rather strange one, and the only one of its kind I have come across. This is again … Continue reading

Heart Time

I’m waiting for a book on the history of timekeeping, but dipped into the start of it which mentioned that the only accurate means of measuring time for Galileo was his own heart. Think about it. Think of how many times your heart changes speed. Exercise, excitement, exhaustion, walking up a hill. I was going … Continue reading