Explore the Whimsical Flora of a 15th-Century Italian Folio

Just because good science is meticulous doesn’t mean it can’t be fun. At least that’s what a northern Italian illustrator decided when he went about drawing and coloring nearly 200 botanical specimens on parchment paper back in the 15th century. AtlasObscura.com

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How the Black Death Gave Rise to British Pub Culture

“I’ll buy you a beer when this is all over,” declares Christo Tofalli, the landlord of Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, which lays claim to the contentious title of Britain’s oldest pub and is no stranger to pandemics. While closed, Ye Olde Fighting Cocks, in the historic city of Saint Albans, has become a Community Supply Point, providing much-needed groceries and offering free delivery to the elderly. They are even delivering Sunday Roast dinners to residents in lockdown. The threat posed by coronavirus may feel unprecedented, but Tofalli, who manages the pub, says he has been looking to the past for inspiration. AtlasObscura.com

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The debate over which is Britain’s oldest pub is fueled by the impossibility of a definitive ruling. Courtesy of Ye Olde Fighting Cocks

2020 Membership

The Richard III Society of WA hopes you are all keeping well in these uncertain times. As you know, our meetings at the Rivervale Community Centre have been suspended for the foreseeable future under the direction of the Australian Government.  The Committee will be introducing a membership fee freeze for the next 6 months, with the remainder of the year subject to review at a later time. We will tell you of any changes as they occur.

Thank you to those who have prepaid; your monies will be credited to you in the next half-year.

We are sending you our best wishes from behind our computer screens! If you have any queries, please email us at Richard3inWA@gmail.com.

The Mystery of a Medieval Blue Ink Has Been Solved

Turns out it was hiding in plain sight by the side of a Portuguese road.

During hot, dry summers in southern Portugal, the key ingredient for medieval manuscripts grows by the roadside. It is called folium, or turnsole, and it’s derived from the fruit of Chrozophora tinctoria, a small plant that grows in the region. For centuries, folium was responsible for coloring everything from Bible scenes to, later, the rind of a popular Dutch cheese. AtlasObscura.com

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Folium
Medieval manuscripts were illuminated with folium, and one bore the instructions for recreating the ink. Courtesy Paula Nabais

The Ambitious Plan to Digitize 100,000 Historic Texts in Belgium

Come September, a fleet of secure vehicles will pull up to a 17th-century building in Antwerp, Belgium, receive cases full of heavily protected cargo, and then abscond with the goods to a confidential location. The booty? Five thousand rare, centuries-old books, on their way to a 21st-century treatment. AtlasObscura.com

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Antwerp
The Plantin-Moretus Museum was once Europe’s most active printing business. CEphoto, Uwe Aranas / CC BY-SA 3.0

Take a Virtual Murder Tour of Medieval London

In late October 1323, on the eve of the feast of Saints Simon and Jude and in the shadow of St. Paul’s Cathedral in London, a heist went awry. According to the coroner’s report, a Frenchman known as John de Chartres had just supped with his accomplices, William of Woodford and his wife Johanna, at their Milk Street residence. They crept over to Bread Street and broke into the home they had targeted, and systematically looted it as planned. But then William noticed that “John was then filled with remorse.” Unable to risk a rat, William politely asked John to light a fire in the kitchen. As John knelt over the flames William hit him with an ax, and then attempted to burn the evidence—namely, John. AtlasObscura.com

Old st Pauls
Old St. Paul’s Cathedral in London was completed in 1314 and destroyed in the Great Fire of London in 1666. In the early 14th century, religious buildings saw as many murders as taverns. Francis Bond/Public Domain

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