Additions to this site
This web site is still expanding and currently amounts to over 2 gigabytes. There are about 1500-2000 users accessing this site each day. There is now an online search engine.
22 April 2016
I have decided to take a short break from the work of updating the imagery section of the website. Not that I have abandoned alchemical imagery, but rather during the adding of this material, I came to realise that what was needed was some way for people to appreciate alchemical imagery and come to see it in its proper context. I have become so aware that in our time seeing things in a straightforward and rational way has been so disrupted by the virus of Postmodernism that it is very difficult for people immersed in modern culture to come to a clear picturing of the unique place of alchemical imagery. Instead, people view this imagery as they would an image created today. When I was immersed in my self-appointed task of making more and more examples of the emblematic material of alchemy available through the website, I suddenly realised that I was probably merely adding to the confusion. It came to me a few days ago that what was needed was a clear statement of how we should view alchemical imagery. I thought of writing an extended essay for the website, but it became obvious to me that a more appropriate medium would be the audio visual format I have used on Youtube for my presentations Exploring alchemical Emblems, Bosch's Garden of Earthly Delights and the Study course on Surrealism (sadly put on the back burner for now).
So early this week I began to work on such a presentation. It has been quite intensive, as one has not only to create the intellectual analysis, but also to find appropriate images to fully illustrate the ideas. It started out as a single presentation which would address a number of facets, but yesterday I realised, that, as I had now created some twenty minutes of audio visual and was less than one third of the way through the material I wished to present, if I were to complete the task in a single presentation this would be well over an hour in length. I suspect this would challenge even the most committed of viewers, so I am now minded to produce it in three parts, each of around 25 minutes in length. I expect this will demand at least another two weeks of full time work. Twenty minutes of video in three days! That may seem rather slow, but I am not the sort of person to merely throw a few nice pictures onto the screen and waffle on about them out of the top of my head. I do consider and research intensively and then try and find appropriate images and ways to present the textual content. It can take hours to create a section lasting only a minute on screen.
So, watch this space! Or check my Youtube page.
This will be the first video I have created in full HD 1920 x 1080, so I am hoping the quality of the mp4 on Youtube will match the material. I have, to a great extent solved some of the problems with sound on the videos. This came about on some videos I produced when I was in Glasgow, due to to the digital sound recording and the need to clean up each recorded piece of text as there was so much background street noise. The software that removed noise also distorted some of the frequency spectrum. This played back quite acceptably on my computer but when it was run through the Youtube processor, which probably compressed this, the sound was, in some parts of a video, a little bit distorted. Things are a bit easier since I moved to Kilbirnie but as I still live beside a main road and there is still background noise that has to be removed, but not as bad as it was in the centre of Glasgow.
31 March 2016
Made more progress with updating the website with new material. Added a section on images of pharmacies and another on illustrated title pages in books, as well as beginning to set up the structure for the documentation of alchemical images. This section will be divided into many sub-sections and will eventually include thousands of images and many hundreds of pages. Completing this will take, I expect, most of this year. When it is done I will have created a substantial reference resource on alchemical imagery. Essentially I will be uploading material I have collected over the last 40 years.
The new structure using buttons rather than text links, should make it easier to access the material. Creating the buttons, and setting up the tables of links is time intensive but I think it is the best way to proceed. During this time there will be a number of placemarkers set up for material to be added later so not all the links will necessarily be active as I am devising the structure.
23rd March 2016
Today I have spent the bulk of my time reorganising the alchemy texts section of the website. What I have done is to create a simpler structure for accessing the various files, dividing these into sections, accessed through buttons, rather than by a menu system. This should make it easier for people accessing the site using tablets. There remains a great deal to do, updating the pages and adding links to the many new items added over the last few months, but at least a start has been made. Once I had made a bit more progress I will begin removing the pop-out hierarchical menus which are difficult to use on many tablets as they do not always pop back in and instead cover up parts of the screen to which the user needs to have access.
21st March 2016
Added a transcription from a manucsript, kindly made for the website by Franco Dognini, of Quercitan's Daughter's Letter.
21st March 2016
I have now added many examples of alchemical apparatus from 16th, 17th and 18th century books. You can view these through the page on images of alchemical apparatus. It is very interesting to see that, as with emblematic imagery, it is obvious that alchemists often drew from earlier books in order to create illustrations for alchemical apparatus in their books. Thus images from one of the earliest illustrated books of apparatus, Hieronymus Braunschweig's 'Book of Distillation' 1500, often turn up in modified but recognisable form in later books.
This section is actively under construction so do not bother if some of the links are not functioning. I have had to create placeholders for material to be added over the coming weeks. In time these will be sorted out. There is much more material left to add, but this section is already providing a key resource on the depiction of alchemical apparatus. I still have to add some material from manuscripts, and for completeness I will also add some images of 18th century chemical laboratories, which may provide us with a comparison between alchemy and the emerging chemistry.
8th March 2016
Added hundreds of images of alchemical apparatus, images from books of distillation and depictions of the early chemical industry which grew out of alchemy.
Reconstructed the pages on graphic alchemical symbols. More material will be added shortly.
Added, as a test, streaming videos of the the first of my Exploring Alchemical Emblems study course. I am still unsure as to which resolution setting to use. The high resolution video seems to be a problem for those with slow broadband connections, so I am testing out a lower res version to see if this is acceptable.
4th March 2016
Added a mass of graphic material, mostly on depictions of laboratory apparatus in alchemy books and manuscripts. This is a work in progress and some of the links are not yet implemented but much more will be added in the following weeks.
2nd March 2016
Added article by B.R. [Robert Boyle] from the Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, Number 122, February 1676. - Of the Incalescence [glowing hot] of Quicksilver with Gold.
Added Allegory of King Solomon from the Bacstrom collection in M P Hall MS102 Volume 8.
Added William Harrison Ainsworth's alchemical poem 'The Song of the Spirit'
Added E. T. A. Hoffmann's 'The Golden Pot: A Modern Fairytale'.
1st March 2016
Added work by Glauber on the Purifying Fire.
Added article by H.C. Stapleton - Sal-Ammoniac : a study in Primitive Chemistry.
Added article by H.C. Stapleton and Azo - Alchemical Equipment in the Eleventh Century.
Added An abstract out of Doctor Homodlus, Of the Tincture of Gold.
24th February 2016
Added an allegory by Arthur Machen, written in 1888. Thesaurus Incantatus. The Enchanted Treasure, or the Spagyric Quest of Beroaldus Cosmopolita.
Added Two Treatises written by the King of Portugall, concerning the Philosophers' Stone.
Added John Gybbys Alchemical Testament edited by J.O. Halliwell.
Added a translation of part of Bartholomew Anglicus De proprietatibus rerum made by Robert Steele, in 1893.
23rd February 2016
Added article by John Hazelrigg, The Book of Formulas: A Collection of Choice Spagyric Preparations...
Added the rather charming late 19th century novel by Percy Ross A Professor of alchemy, based on the alchemist Denis Zachaire.
21st February 2016
Added Cooper - Catalogue of chymical books
Added Angelo Marinelli - Un Libretto di Alchimia inciso su lamine di piombo (the book with lead leaves)
Added article by Spurrell - On Remedies in the Sloane collections, and on alchemical symbols
19th February 2016
Added an article by John Ferguson on English Alchemical books
Added Added J. B. Cravens book on Count Michael Maier
Added H.C. Bolton Follies of Science at the Court of Rudolph II, 1576-1612.
18th February 2016
Added a number of 17th and 18th century English texts.
Patrick Scot - The Tillage of Light
Robert Samber - Some Reflections On a late Book Called The Golden Age
Heydon - Rosicrucian Crowne
Urim and Thummim
17th February 2016
Added eleven texts from the Hermetic Research series.
16th February 2016
Added the Study course on the Trinosophia an in-depth analysis of this 18th century manuscript.
Added the Study course on the imagery of Robert Fludd a detailed analysis in 547 pages of the emblems in Robert Fludd books.
16th February 2016
Added Franz Kieser's Cabala Chymica an early 17th century allegorical and philosophical work on alchemy.
15th February 2016
Added Aqua Vitae, Non Vitis A Notebook of Thomas Vaughan. to the texts section.
15th February 2016
Added Thomas Vaughan's Anthroposophia Theomagica to the texts section.
8th February 2016
Added a transcript made by Franco Dognini of a manuscript version of the famous Bernard of Treviso allegory. You can see it here.
7th February 2016
In trying to reformat the section of the website with articles on alchemy, I was dismayed to find that most of these were dead links. My website, now over 20 years old, has long outlived many sites, and now many links to external websites have died. I intend now to remove all such external links and instead have all the website material held on my server. This will preserve this material indefinitely.
3rd February 2016
This week I have begun a major update to the website, primarily devising better ways for people to navigate their way through the mass of interlinked pages. This will take a few weeks, but once I have a clearer structure implemented I can begin adding more material. I want to make the alchemy website into a more substantial reference library on alchemy. I have so much material lying unseen on my archive of hard discs and I would like to be able to share this with people on the Internet.
3rd January 2016
Today I set up a discussion group on alchemy symbolism. You can look at the entries as a guest or register if you wish by going to www.alchemysymbolism.com
31st December 2015
Documented a modern alchemical hoax.
23rd November 2015
Considerably updated the pages on contemporary artists influenced by alchemy. About half of the links are now functioning, and I will try and update the others over the next few days.
17th November 2015
I have begun updating my Alchemy art pages. I have a considerable amount of new material to add, so this will take quite a few days before it is complete. You can see the beginning of this overhaul through the alchemy art index page
10th November 2015
I have now updated my galleries of coloured emblems, reorganising them into eight pages each with forty images. The images can now be swiped through on touch screen tablets or alternatively mouse-clicked. I have also been able now to massively increase the size of the images presented to the viewer. This makes for much more detail to be seen and studied - a major improvement. Recoding the pages, however, proved to be extremely time consuming, requiring much cut-and-pasting with total concentration as missing out some html code character completely messed up the page structure. I will gradually work through the other galleries of my coloured emblems over the coming weeks. You can see my efforts through this page amclglr1.html
10th November 2015
Created a Memorial page for Alan Pritchard.