Distilling Vernacular Medicine

By Tillmann Taape As Katherine Allen has pointed out in her post, distillation was regarded as a powerful way of separating and purifying earthly matter, and was central to the alchemical pursuit of the philosophers’ stone. And, yes, the odd gallon of whisky was also a much-welcomed product. This view of distillation is reflected in the … Continue reading Distilling Vernacular Medicine

The Strasbourg Tradition of Artists’ Recipe Books (1400-1570) Part II: Between written and oral transmission

By Sylvie Neven The literature of artistic and technological recipes frequently serves as a source for historical study in art technology. However, to date, the nature and the original function of artists’ recipe books have not been clearly determined. The relevance and the reliability of this form of writing continue to be issues debated by scholars, … Continue reading The Strasbourg Tradition of Artists’ Recipe Books (1400-1570) Part II: Between written and oral transmission

Cipriano Piccolpasso’s Recipe for the Transmutation of Matter

By Steve Wharton Certain recipes can tell us a great deal about the cultural and sometimes the technological contexts within which they were compiled and disseminated. In his mid-sixteenth century Italian treatise, the Three Books of the Art of the Potter.., Cipriano Piccolpasso (1523-79) discussed and illustrated the technology and the manufacturing processes that were … Continue reading Cipriano Piccolpasso’s Recipe for the Transmutation of Matter

The Early Modern Matter of Fecal Medicines

Whilst perusing some seventeenth century recipes for medicines I stumbled across a few curious ingredients. Granted, many of the ingredients found in Johanna St. John’s recipe book – aside from now common herbs and spices like cinnamon or saffron – might look odd to the modern eye. Some of the ingredients that struck me were … Continue reading The Early Modern Matter of Fecal Medicines