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Carnivalesque 64

Fragments is very pleased to be hosting the 64th edition of Early Modern Carnivalesque, a gathering of some of the most interesting blog posts from the early modern blogging community.

First up we have the fate of the Wedgewood Museum over at the award-winning Georgian London. Lucy Inglis considers the plight of the Wedgewood Collection, and its formation under artisan Josiah Wedgewood, who died in 1725.


From the decorative arts, to art of a very different nature, Caroline Rance at The Quack Doctor explores the unusual medicinal practise of diagnosis via urine from 1815.


Taking a detour from urine to royalty, Nick, at Mercurius Politicus, reveals some intriguing royalist graffiti in Cheam.


Odd fellows from Roy, at Early Modern Whale, who takes a look at the early modern Fortune Teller.


‘My appetite is sick for want of a capacity to digest your favours.’ Women in Medieval and Early Modern History offer up some extraordinary early modern chat up lines.

Once you’ve wooed your beloved, you might like to make them a John Evelyn salad. The Gentleman Administrator reveals all you need to know.


The World Cup may be over, but the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust have devised a means to keep your interest alive. Iago is in mid-field in Shakespeare’s Fantasy Football

From Iago to a villain of a different kind, Executed Today examines the hanging of pirate John Quelch.    
Speaking of villains, cartoonist Ade Teal kindly provides us with caricatures of two early modern rogues:


On the other side of the Atlantic, Warren, artistic director of early modern music ensemble Magnificat, recently visited Spain, and reports back on the 18th century composer Martini’s enormous collection of music manuscripts and partbooks  

More printing, this time from the Two Nerdy History Girls, who witnessed the early modern printing process in action.
Sally, over at Travels and Travails in Eighteenth Century England, has been exploring medicinal recipes, including the Lady Puckring’s salve for sore brests.
From sore breasts to slippery weather, Emily at The Artist’s Progress reveals the history of early modern caricature.


Art of a different nature from the engraver Mr Read, who entertains with more spectral escapades at The Cogitations of Read.


And Ben, at Res Obscura, has been getting to grips with some 17th century  apothecary poetry.


Finally, here at Fragments, I’ve been exploring the last will and testament of Mr William Shakespeare, gent. 

If you’re interested in finding out more about Carnivalesque, or would like to be a host, contact the lovely Sharon at Early Modern Web
Marriage Medicine

Like double faced Janus

These fragments come from a curious little pamphlet published in 1613. What is of particular interest is the way in which the author conflates the sin of adultery with physical deformity; so an obvious case of conjoined twins becomes in this instance a punishment inflicted on the unfortunate parents for their perceived prior immorality.

At a Towne called Adlington in the Parish of Standish neere Wigon in the County of Lancaster, there was a childe borne of a strange and wonderfull shape, with foure legges foure Armes, two bellyes, proportionably joyned to one back, one head two faces, like double faced Janus, the one before, the other behinde, foure eyes, and two noses. It behoves us to looke about, when such examples beyond the order of Nature are brought forth to put us in minde of our iniquities, especially the sinnes of Adultery and fornication, which are ever justly punished by the righteous lawe and justice of God. It is well proved in the grace and blessing that Almighty God secretly infundeth in right generation, the contrary whereof is knowne in the curse that he denounceth against Bastardy, which the Prophet utters in these wordes Spuria vitulamina non agent radices altas [Bastard slippes shall never take deepe roote]: which was showne in the example of this Monster.

The father and mother whereof were both branded, shee with the marke of Basterdy. Neither was this monster borne in the night time, but towards the day, when the morning Sunne beganne to glad the earth with his brightnesse, to this end, that the blacke mantle of the night should not cover this childe of darkenesse, but that the day might plainely discover to all eyes this wonderfull example of his Justice.

Certaine Gentlemen, and many of the common people, that were then at Cockepit, when the newes came of this prodigious birth, left their sports and went to behold it with wonder and amazement. Many people came flocking from all places thereunto adjoyning, who beheld it with astonishment. The most impious of all could not but confesse, that it was a notable example of Gods fearefull wrath, which God for his mercy sake turne from us.

This happened a little before Easter Terme last upon relation of some of the Inhabitants there, Master William Leigh Bachelour of Divinity, a very worthy and Reverend gentleman, Preacher of the Parish of Standish aforesaid, being also an eye witnesse of the same.

© 2009-2012 All Rights Reserved
Cosmetics Household Medicine

Good Chockolett & good Combs

This fragment comes from a Perriwigmaker’s advertisement c.1680

AT THE RED BALL ON CORK-HILL, There is to be Sold, by JOHN CRIGHTON Perriwigmaker.

THE Rich Balsamum Apoplecticum which is made in Florence and some other parts of Italy; by anointing the Temples, Nostrils and the Roof of the Mouth it hath recovered many out of an Apoplexy to admiration.
By anointing the Temples and Nostrils it gives present Ease to the violent Pains in the Head: likewise very effectual against all Swimming and Dizziness of the Head; and very rare in suppressing all Vapours and Fumes from the Head occasioned by hard Drinking.   All which hath been experienced by many to their great satisfaction.
By anointing the Nostrils only, it is very rare against the Infection of the Small Pox, Spotted-Feaver and the Plague; and defends the Head and Stomach from all thick and unwholsom Air, which is often times the first cause of all those Distempers. It revives the Senses; and is a great Comforter of the Brain.
By anointing the Navel only, It gives present Ease to the Griping of the Guts; and is very rare in destroying Worms in young and old; which is very convenient for Children and others which can take nothing inwardly.
And very pleasant to carry in the Pocket, in regard of its Noble and Odoriferous Scent.
For Eighteen Pence a Box.

Nulla Notitia ut Experientia.

To prevent its being Counterfeited, it will be Sold only at the place abovesaid.
There is likewise sold all sorts of extraordinary good Chockolett and Chockolett-Almonds, at Five Shillings the Pound: There is also very good Tee to be sold: All sorts of right Spanish Snuff; and all sorts of Essences and Perfumes at reasonable Rates.
There is also sold the Queen of Hungaries Water.
All sorts of good Spirit Varnish at Six shillings the Quart.
All sorts of the best New Tunes and their Parts, at Two pence a Part for Violins, Flutes or Flagellets.
There is likewise to be had an incomparable Water to remedy Baldness, or to make Hair grow, never before made publick; and now exposed to Sale. It is almost infallible in bringing Hair on any bald place on the Heads of Men or Women: It is wonderful in making Hair stay on that is falling, and good to preserve Hair from splitting at the ends, and it clears the Head from all Scruff and Dandrith, which is a great hindrance to the Growth of Hair, and causes the Hair to grow to a knobby and unnatural Root; by reason of which the Head is never free from Itching, till these knobby Hairs are pluckt out; and the plucking of them is the great reason of Grey Hairs in Young people. It allays all Heat and Itchings in the Head. The using of it is very pleasant: It is not only good for causing Hair to grow; but gives present Ease to the violent Pains of the Head, and Tooth-Ach.  It is sealed up in Ounce-Bottles, with printed Directions how to use it, for Three Shillings a Bottle.
There you may also have extraordinary good Grey Powder, with very good Combs proper for the Head.

© 2009-2013 All Rights Reserved

Arte of Gardening Food Medicine

It breedes winde and belly-ache

These snippets come from a 1599 guide to the provenance of fruits, herbs, and vegetables by T Butts; a curious work which combines origins and history with specific health-related facts.

That Grapes are verie nourishing, it is well seene by the Grape-gatherers in the time of Vintage, for they eat little or nothing else, yet growe they passing fat and corpulent.  The superexcellency of this plant and frute is inestimable…. grapes cause thirst and wind: trouble the belly: immoderately used breed Collicke passions: puffe the spleene and make it sicke; encrease delusions in old folkes.

Those Peaches, whose meate cleaveth to the stone are commended of some, as also, such as seeme friezed over with a thinne downe, like a Quince… peaches being moist, soft, and flatulent, they endgender humours very subject to corruption; evil for old flegmaticke and weake stomackes.

The flowers of this plant are silver-coloured; and from them is distilled a water surpassing all other in fragrancy and sweete smell. Whence they are called Aurantia, gold in Latine, in English properly and truly Aurange, but we have both them and their name by tradition from the French. So we both speake and write it Orenge…  Exquisitely sweet oranges are too hot; the lower coole, and offend the stomacke: stuffe the belly: constraine the brest and arteries.

The citron, Limon or Orenge, growe especially on the sea-coasts of Italy. They were first brought out of Media into these parts. They beare fruite all the yeare long, some at the same time ripe and falling off, other but now budding and sprouting forth. All say a Limon in Wine is good… lemons cause collicke passions and leaneness.

If one eate three small Pomegranate flowers (they say), for an whole yeare, he shall be safe from all manner of eye-sore. Sharp pomegranates offend the teeth and gummes: constrain the brest; not for old folkes.

Hasil (hazel) nuts:
Nut in English, of Nux the Latine: and Nux a Nocendo, because it annoyeth all other plantes or hearbes that are subject and obnoxious to his leaves-dropping. They are windie, engender much choller: cause headacheth if much eaten.

Melons, commonly called pomions:
This fruite is the greatest or biggest of all Hearbes or Trees. That it hath a scouring and cleansing property is evident in that if you rub any part of the body with it, it becommeth much the brighter and cleaner…  it breedes winde and belly-ache.

The Olive was an Embleme of peace ever since the Dove brought an Olive leafe in her mouth into Noahs Arke. The Spanish Olives are bigger than the Italian. Besides that the Spanish have an odd unsavoury smell, and looke yellow, unpleasant to the eye. Olives cause watchfulnesse: much eaten they stuffe the head, especially the salted.

Foennill or Finkle (fennel):
Snakes and Serpents by eating of Foenill renew their age and repair their decaied sight by rubbing their eyes with it. Wherefore it used of us to the like purpose. There is a bad propertie in the seed, to breede poysonous wormes, whose poyson is curable by no Antidot. Fennel doth inflame the blood.

Sparage (asparagus):
Some say that Sparage causeth barrennesse: but it is not probable, sithence it nourisheth very much and manifestly provoketh Venus. Eaten cold, disposeth to vomit.

Surely it is a most excellent hearbe, and of speciall use. It hath this peculiar vertue, that laied in Wine it strengthneth and cheareth the heart, putting merry conceits into the minde. But it doeth greatly annoyeth sore mouthes.

Garlick, Onion, and Leekes are very holesome, but their odour is passing loathesome and offensive. Wherefore some have thought of a medicament to take away the sent of them. But none like Syr Thomas More: to take away the smell of Onions, eate leekes, and to convince your Leekes, eate a clove or two of Garlicke: and if then Garlicke breath be strong, choke him with a turd. Leeks dimmeth the sight.

© 2009-2013 All Rights Reserved

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