Doodle by bored medieval school boy
This 15th-century doodle is found in the lower margin of a manuscript containing Juvenal’s Satires. This classical text was a popular device to teach young students - kids - morals. The medieval teacher Alexander Nequam stated: “Let the student read the satirists […] so that he may learn even in his younger days that vices are to be shunned” (quote here). Spoken like a true optimist, because this page shows what young school boys like to do with rules: disobey them. And so in stead of studying the student who used this book drew a funny doodle in the lower margin: a figure with a flower in one hand and what appears to be a pipe in the other. Could it be his teacher? Doodles are of all ages but those produced by bored school kids are the most entertaining.
Hand o’ graphs: this bizarre book of outlines of hands dates to the early twentieth-century. It was found by the artists Clare Woods and Des Hughes (who has a fascination in the macabre ‘hand of glory’). Hand o’graphs were presumably a kind of esoteric interpretive activity, like graphology, phrenology or palmistry, in which character traits would be read into the shape of the hand. There is something rather unsettling about the fact that these pages were touched by the hands of these long-dead people , including one that was murdered in the Russian Revolution. It’s the kind of object that could be used in a seance - eerie and macabre.
Things my Uncle Billy said to me in the kitchen.
Poland, 19th C. Egg decorated with micrographic text from the Song of Songs. Handwritten in ink. From the 18th century, and perhaps even earlier, hollow eggs on which sacred texts had been written in micrography were used to decorate European sukkahs. Not all the texts related directly to the holiday of Sukkot, the Festival of Booths: this example has Song of Songs 1-4:7 inscribed in miniscule letters. At times feathers were added to the hanging egg, so that it looked like a bird in flight.”
Manuscript page from Orhan Pamuk’s notebook for The Black Book.
I really want to know what colour ink he’s using.
I’m still trying to find the right combination of fountain pen and ink for it. My old bottle of Noodler’s Bulletproof Black seems to be the most well-behaved so far, with no feathering or bleed-through. Or will we be in a pencil situation?
Some of my great-grandma’s recipes. She had an amazing handwriting. She was from Naples. I never met her.