Thursday, November 24, 2011

Jenny Rampling podcast on Alchemy and Patronage in Tudor England

I met Rampling in Philly at the CHF conference in 2005 and I was very impressed with her work on alchemical emblems. We should be grateful to have somebody like her working on this era, the Ripley scroll, and the alchemical illustration in general. Check out the second podcast on this list.
(from this link you need iTunes, but it's free)
or use this direct download link provided by Anechoic (look at it in a video player to see the slideshow of the images she's discussing)

here's a partial transcription of the first minute or so

in talking about alchemy today, I want to stress variety. When we think about alchemy we think about transformation and change... specifically the transmutation of base metals gold... As I hope to convince you today, there's a little bit more to alchemy than that... variety in the goals and pursuits of alchemy, in the occupations of its practitioners, in the way way that its mysterious processes were interpreted... Alchemy was not a monolithic entity... practiced by courtiers and artisans, physicians and priests, merchants and scholars... practitioners from a range of backgrounds were nevertheless concerned to present themselves as heirs to a single unified and ancient tradition of privileged knowledge... for all their personal diversity individual alchemists often adopted similar styles of self-presentation... by appealing to long-established conventions, not only of technical writing, but also poetry and art...
like historians alchemists were continually concerned about funding

and here's another lecture from Rampling - The Mirror of Alchemy:  Images and Reflections of the Medieval Alchemical Cosmos, including examples of work by the fifteenth-century English alchemist George Ripley and the Elizabethan mathematician and astrologer, John Dee.

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