Historical Uses of Arsenic

The arsenicals (compounds which contain the heavy metal element arsenic, As) have a long history of use in man – with both benevolent and  malevolent intent. The name ‘arsenic’ is derived from the Greek word ‘arsenikon’ which means ‘potent'”. As early as 2000 BC, arsenic trioxide,  obtained from smelting copper, was used as a drug and as a poison.  Hippocrates (460 to 377 BC) used orpiment (As2S3) and realgar (As2S2) as escharotics. Aristotle (384 to 322 BC) and Pliny the Elder (23 to 79 AD) also wrote about the medicinal properties of the arsenicals.

Galen (130 to 200 AD) recommended a paste of arsenic sulphide for the treatment of ulcers. Paracelsus (1493 to 1541) used elemental arsenic extensively. He is quoted as saying ‘All substances are poisons … The right dose differentiates a poison and a remedy’ – an apt statement for the arsenicals.

In the eighteenth century, Fowler’s solution (1% potassium arsenite) was used for the relief of various ailments and remained very popular for over 150 years. Continue reading Historical Uses of Arsenic

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Making Linen Fabric from Flax Seed, Spinning Flax, & Weaving Linen

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Rabbits and Badgers – Blue Terrier Trials 1923

Testing the Irish Blue Terrier Breed in 1923.

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Mr. Bert Gripton, a Great Terrierman

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Magna Carta: Myth and Meaning – Discussion at the Royal Institution

The Abbots and Barons Leaving Bury St. Edmunds for Runnymeade – June A.D.1215

Note on Watercolour: F.A. Molony (fl. 1930-1938) was a Major in the Royal Engineers. The National Army Museum hold his work. His work was also shown at an exhibition of officers work at the R.B.A. Galleries (Army Officers’ Art Society)

Description from Youtube:

June 2015 will see the 800th anniversary of Magna Carta, the ‘Great Charter’ which was signed at Runnymede by King John to resolve a political crisis he faced with his barons. Buried within its 69 clauses is one of immeasurable importance. This is the idea that no one should be deprived of their freedom without just cause, and that people are entitled to fair trial by their peers according to the law of the land. Continue reading Magna Carta: Myth and Meaning — Discussion at the Royal Institution

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Harry Houdini Investigates the Spirit World

The magician delighted in exposing spiritualists as con men and frauds.

By EDMUND WILSON June 24, 1925

Houdini is a short strong stocky man with small feet and a very large head. Seen from the stage, his figure, with its short legs and its pugilist’s proportions, is less impressive than at close range, where the real dignity and force of his enormous head appear. Wide-browed and aquiline-nosed, with a cleanness and fitness almost military, he suggests one of those enlarged and idealized busts of Roman generals or consuls. So it is rather the man himself than the showman, the personality of the stage, who is interesting. Houdini is remarkable among magicians in having so little of the smart-aleck about him: he is a tremendous egoist, like many other very able persons, but he is not a cabotin. When he performs tricks, it is with the directness and simplicity of an expert giving a demonstration and he talks to his audience, not in his character of conjuror, but quite straightforwardly and without patter. His professional formulas—such as the “Will wonders never cease!” with which he signalizes the end of a trick—have a quaint conventional sound as if they had been deliberately acquired as a concession to the theatre. For preeminently Houdini is the honest earnest craftsman which his German accent and his plain speech suggest—enthusiastic, serious-minded, thoroughgoing and intelligent. Continue reading Harry Houdini Investigates the Spirit World

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Chronological Catalog of Recorded Lunar Events

In July of 1968, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration(NASA), published NASA Technical Report TR R-277 titled Chronological Catalog of Recorded Lunar Events.

The catalog begins with the first entry dated November 26th, 1540 at ∼05h 00m:

  • Feature: Region of Calippus2  
  • Description: Starlike appearance on dark side
  • Observer: Observers at Worms
  • Reference: Hess 1911
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The Human Seasons

Four Seasons fill the measure of the year;
There are four seasons in the mind of man:
He has his lusty spring, when fancy clear
Takes in all beauty with an easy span;
He has his Summer, when luxuriously
Spring’s honied cud of youthful thoughts
he loves
To ruminate, and by such dreaming high
Is nearest unto heaven: quiet coves
His soul has its Autumn, when his wings
he furleth close; contented so to look
On mists in idleness—to let fair things
Pass by unheeded as a threshold brook.
He has his Winter too of pale misfeature,
Or else he would forego his mortal nature.

March 13, 1818 J. Keats

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Italian Tart Recipe

Click here to view more great Italian recipes.

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Spem In Alium performed by The Tallis Scholars

Click here to learn more about The Tallis Scholars

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Traditional JuJutsu Health, Strength and Combat Tricks

CHAPTER V

THE VALUE OF EVEN TEMPER IN ATHLETICS—SOME OF THE FEATS THAT REQUIRE GOOD NATURE

In the writer’s opinion it becomes necessary to make at this point some suggestions relative to a very important part of the training in jiu-jitsu. Good nature is as essential to health and to truly successful athletic work as it is to any other phases of well-being in life.

When native students enter a jiu-jitsu school in Japan it is hardly necessary for the teacher to inquire as to the good temper of his applicants. The Japanese are noted for possessing the sweetest dispositions to be found anywhere in the world. Politeness and good nature seem inborn with the Japanese baby. As time goes on, and the child reaches adult age, kindly disposition appears to have increased in geometrical ratio. When a Caucasian applies for physical training under a Japanese teacher he is required to furnish satisfactory proof as to the evenness of his disposition. Even after he has been admitted to the school, if the white man shows too great a tendency to sudden anger he is politely requested to seek instruction elsewhere. Continue reading Traditional JuJutsu Health, Strength and Combat Tricks

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The Restoration of Rosa Bonheurs Horse Fair

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Why Beauty Matters

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Money Saving Recipe for Gold Leaf Sizing

Artisans world-wide spend a fortune on commercial brand oil-based gold leaf sizing.  The most popular brands include Luco, Dux, and L.A. Gold Leaf.  Pricing for quart size containers range from $35 to $55 depending upon retailer pricing.

Fast drying sizing sets up in 2-4 hours depending upon environmental conditions, humidity and airflow.

Regular slow setting sizing sets up in 6 – 8 hours depending on conditions.

Should the artist wish to save their hard earned money, I recommend buying a quart of Rust-Oleum Spar Varnish instead for around $18.00.  It will set up for tack in around 2-6 hours depending upon thickness of layer applied and environmental conditions.  For a faster set, cut it with mineral spirits or turpentine.  Mix well.  Experiment on painted wood or metal with various cuts in order to determine what works best in your environment.

As it is often recommended that one apply an oil based sealer “primer” prior to applying sizing, especially if one is gold leafing metal objects for outside use, I recommend buying a quart of Rust-Oleum Topside paint for around $18.50.  The gold leaf specialty companies sell their so-called “burnish sealers” for $46.00 to $66.00 per quart.

I buy the white gloss Rust-Oleum Topside paint and add yellow or red pigment when working with metal objects destined for outdoor use.  Pigments can be purchased from most art supply houses such as Dick Blick, Utrecht, Jerry’s Artarama, and Cheap Joes.

For indoor plasters or wood, two coats of  Sargent Art Liquid Metal Gold acrylic paint works well as a base coat sealer. 

Unlocking the mystery….

There is no mystery to gold leaf sizing or burnish sealer.

  • Gold Leaf Sizing=varnish.
  • Burnish Sealer=oil based paint.

The real mystery is why are so many artists pay exorbitant prices for oil based paint and varnish.  I suspect a course in brand marketing, consumer psychology, and perhaps basic chemistry would be in order for one wishing draw further conclusions.

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Congo River Boat Ride

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Unarmed Combat – Imperial War Museum Archives

Imperial War Museum, London

Video courtesy of Imperial War Museums, UK

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Simon Mann – The Mercenary

Video courtesy of LondonReal Youtube Channel.

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Bess of Hardwick: Four Times a Lady

Four times the nuptial bed she warm’d,
And every time so well perform’d,
That when death spoil’d each husband’s billing,
He left the widow every shilling.
Fond was the dame, but not dejected;
Five stately mansions she erected
With more than royal pomp, to vary
The prison of her captive
When Hardwicke’s towers shall bow their head,
Nor mass be more in Worksop said;
When Bolsover’s fair fame shall tend,
Like Olcotes, to its mouldering end;
When Chatsworth tastes no Can’dish bounties,
Let fame forget this costly countess.

From The Letters of Horace Warpole:

On Bess of Hardwick: She was daughter of John Hardwicke, of Hardwick in Derbyshire.  Her first husband was Robert Barley, Esq. who settled his large estate on her and her heirs.  She married, secondly, Sir William Cavendish; her third husband was Sir William St. Lo; and her fourth was George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, whos daughter, Lady Gracek married her son Sir William Cavendish

 

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The Field of the Cloth of Gold

Reprint from the Royal Collection Trust Website

The meeting between Henry VIII and Francis I, known as the Field of the Cloth of Gold, took place between 7 to 24 June 1520 in a valley subsequently called the Val d’Or, near Guisnes to the south of Calais. The event derived its name from the sumptuousness of the materials used for the tents, pavilions and other furnishings. It was a spectacle of the greatest magnificence and the several artists responsible for this painting have made a fairly accurate visual summary of the various festivities that took place during the meeting of the two kings. Continue reading The Field of the Cloth of Gold

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Twelve Thousand Three Hundred and Fourteen Diamonds – King George IV’s Empty Crown

King George IV was known far and wide as the dandy king, incompetent, ugly, and vulgar.  As Prince regent, prior to his assent to the throne, he kept fast company with Beau Brummel, King of Dandies, a man sixteen years his younger.  And decadence followed.  King George was a gambler, philanderer, and spendthrift, spending in his lifetime well over £25,000,000 in today’s money.

Even his coronation crown was stuffed with rented gemstones for a cost to the government of £24,425.  The 12,314 diamonds had to be returned to the jewel dealers after the coronation as the government refused to purchase the crown for King George IV after the coronation.  The frame of the crown was created by Philip Liebart of Rundell, Bridge & Rundell, London.

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This blessed plot, this earth, this realm, this England…

— Shakespeare