Tag: Spotlight

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  • Spotlight: Christmas in wartime


    A fresh-faced young woman stares out from the pages of an old pantomime programme. Her cheeks are lightly rouged and her auburn hair is gathered into a flowing pigtail falling over her left shoulder. If there is something rather too… Continue reading

  • Spotlight: a solitary survivor of the Great Plague


    The Great Plague that afflicted London 350 years ago (1665–66) had a dramatic impact on the city, killing up to 100,000 people of a population that then numbered about 460,000. There was a plethora of printed responses to this plague… Continue reading

  • Spotlight: pass the port, Dr Jenner


    When Edward Jenner, the vaccination pioneer, died in 1823, he left over 800 books among his personal effects. They are listed in an inventory preserved in the Wellcome Library (MS 3028). They include, unsurprisingly, a large number of works on… Continue reading

  • Spotlight: explaining the English Sweat


    The Sweating Sickness was a new phenomenon in later 15th and 16th century Europe, recognised by contemporaries as being distinctively different from the plague and other epidemic diseases. The illness was almost exclusively confined to England, and was soon known… Continue reading

  • Spotlight: vanity of vanities, all is vanity


    Jodocus Müller, city apothecary of Dresden, was a prominent and presumably wealthy citizen of that town. In a certificate of 1675 he listed the six pursuits to which he had dedicated his life:  To learn the ‘A. B. C.,’ to… Continue reading

  • Spotlight: the power of angels – a charm against the plague


    Plague was one of the most feared and dreaded aspects of daily life in 15th century England. Although scholarly medicine attributed the plague to corrupt air, it was also explained in terms of divine punishment. Charms, healing remedies whose power… Continue reading

  • Spotlight: Christmas greetings from 5 Field Ambulance


    Christmas cards come in myriad forms, from the reverently pious through the cloyingly schmaltzy to the frankly naff. Humour, where it appears, is usually gently playful (Santa stuck in a chimney, Rudolf held up by celestial traffic lights) or achingly… Continue reading

  • Spotlight: the legend of the Divine Farmer


    This c.1920 watercolour is a copy of an ancient original and can be found in the Library’s Art Collection, along with other visual material featuring the Shen Nong. Legend has it that Shen Nong (神农), or ‘Divine Farmer’, was one… Continue reading

  • Spotlight: a portrait of Sir Francis Burnand


    Francis Cowley Burnand (1836-1917) was educated at Eton and Trinity College Cambridge, and while at Cambridge founded the Cambridge Amateur Dramatic Club in 1855. (The club still flourishes today, now as then called the ADC.) Burnand subsequently became well known… Continue reading

  • Spotlight: Her Majesty’s dinner


    This royal menu card from Balmoral Castle takes us back to the reign of Queen Victoria. Then as now, the monarch spent her summers in Aberdeenshire. Some of the Queen’s most intimate body-servants also hailed from Scotland; not only the… Continue reading