Archive for December 2005

Dropping the conventional black frock coat


via (incidentally) peacay@del.icio.us

photographs, ,

"The artist, here, is registered in rupture with these dominant codes, by equipping folk clothing and while dropping the conventional black frock coat." Or so it would seem… image from Vers la modernité, an exhibition at the Universty of Liège, Belgium.

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Written by Dave Lovely

December 31, 2005 at 10:03 pm

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Christmas, ready-made

Have yourself a ready-made little Christmas, at the Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University:

photograph of Duchamp's stool with Christmas tree

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Written by Dave Lovely

December 24, 2005 at 8:45 pm

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Sweetmeats, possets and caudles

A dainty dish from a Soviet submarine:

photograph by Robert Diament

Photograph by Robert Diament, a Russian photographer who documented the experiences of Russia’s Northern Fleet during the Second World War. The site is in Russian, and contains an extensive photo-archive of Diament’s excellent work.

Some marzipan boxes from Boston’s MFA:

painting, still life with sweetmeats

Painting by an unidentified 17th century Spanish artist, from the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA.

Much talk of marchpane and quinces at Stefan’s Florilegium. If you want to know about medieval food, or, for that matter, anything medieval, look here.

Meanwhile, from Project Gutenberg, here comes Sir Kenelm Digby on meath, metheglin, hydromel, and this:


When Flomery is made and cold, you may make a pleasant and wholesome caudle of it, by taking some lumps and spoonfuls of it, and boil it with Ale and White wine, then sweeten it to your taste with Sugar. There will remain in the Caudle some lumps of the congealed flomery, which are not ungrateful.”

Well, you wouldn’t want an ungrateful flomery-caudle, would you? Incidentally, I originally read much of Sir Kenelm’s book online, but the PG server itself seems a bit on the ungrateful side at the moment, so I’d suggest downloading it, and reading at your leisure.

Not related in any way soever, except that he may have conceived an urgent need for some caudle, a Turkish soldier running elegantly:


From Le Navigationi et Viaggi Nella Tvrchia, 1577, by Nicolas de Nicolay – from Selected Pre-1700 Imprints in the Navy Department Library.

Actually, the Turkish soldier comes hotfoot from following a conversation between the authors of two very fine blogs, Kristine of Earmarks in Early Modern Culture, and Peacay of BibliOdyssey, in the comments on the former’s two recent posts on early modern swimming, so perhaps he could be some kind of lifeguard…My thanks to both K and P for some fascinating posting.

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Written by Dave Lovely

December 18, 2005 at 3:23 pm

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Captions by Ian Hamilton Finlay, especially "Netting Over Tanks Garaged In An Orchard":


Unusual Technical Images of WWII Equipment.

Via digg.

And compare this image with this Eric Ravilious lithograph from the British Government Art Collection:


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Written by Dave Lovely

December 12, 2005 at 9:20 pm

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Christmas is coming

…and Christmas clearly wouldn’t be Christmas without Senses Working Overtime, who has been posting a truly yule-icious collection of links since November 10th.

Includes such festive baubles as a version of “A Christmas Carol” by The Goons, and Patently Christmas, a guide to such indispensable seasonal impedimenta as inflatable snowmen and reindeer lawn sculpture.

Who says Christmas isn’t what it used to be?

Your advent appetites may (or may not) be further stimulated by the serving of mince pies at Baking For Britain, another excellent food-blog, which reminds us that mince pies once really did (and should still) contain meat. Quite a lot of meat, in fact, according to a recipe from 1615:

two rabbits, two pigeons, two partridges, a hare, a pheasant, a capon, the livers of all these animals, as well as eggs, pickled mushrooms, dried fruit and spices. The whole thing was made into a huge pie, sometimes weighing as much as 220lb (100kg) and held together with iron clamps.

Maybe this was the kind Samuel Pepys was eating on this convivial evening he spent at the home of a friend at the turn of the year 1661/2…

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Written by Dave Lovely

December 11, 2005 at 10:21 pm

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Pink Pagoda

Snarkout has a good post in praise of follies, which starts:

At one point in R. A. Lafferty‘s story "Nor Limestone Islands", a Miss Phosphor McCabe requests zoning permission to build a structure on her plot of land: a thirty-acre pagoda, four hundred feet high and built of three hundred thousand tons of pink limestone. It will be, she asserts, real pretty, and a tourist attraction to boot. This being a Lafferty story, Miss Phosphor has an entirely sensible plan for obtaining a three hundred thousand ton limestone pagoda: she will ask her friends on the Grecian flying island to touch down and cut off a chunk…

…and ends:

As Miss Phosphor wrote:

Please come and see my Pink Pagoda. All the people and all the officials avert there eyes from it. They say that is impossible that such a thing could be there, and therefore it cannot be there. But it is there. See it for yourself (or see plates IV, IX, XXXIII, LXX especially). And it is pretty (see plates XIX, XXIV, V, LIV). But best, come see it as it really is.

Chesme Church

You will most certainly want, as I do, to come see the pink pagoda that Russian architect Yuri Velten, otherwise Georg Velten (his father came to Russia from Germany to be a chef for Peter the Great in 1703) really did build in St. Petersburg in the late 1770s. Being as it is, so very Gogol out of Thomas Love Peacock by way of Ronald Firbank (anachronisms are permitted in phantasy), I cannot believe it has never figured in a work of literature. An exhaustive ten-minute search in Google has, however, failed to turn up any citations. So I’m relying on any Russophile readers of mine (I’m looking at you, language hat), to come up with one. There is, by the way, a real pagoda of sorts, the Creaking Pavilion, designed by the same architect.

Meanwhile, here are some of Snarkout’s links:

Baldasare Forestiere’s underground gardens.

Howard Finster’s Paradise Gardens and Benedictine monk Joseph Zoettl’s Ave Maria Grotto

The Winchester Mystery House.

Please note, incidentally, won’t you, the expressiveness of the omnipresent green frog in the dinner service made by Josiah Wedgwood for Catherine II for use at her wayside palace at a spot called Kekerekeksinen, which means "frog marsh" in Finnish, which was a few years later renamed Chesme, after a Russian naval victory against the Turks.

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Written by Dave Lovely

December 5, 2005 at 8:43 pm

Posted in Uncategorized