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Since I again took up residence at the Family Seat, I have been looking at old research papers and files, to decide if they have any life in them, if they can be taken further. As long no well-meaning friends decide to send them off to the Rollings Reliable Baking Powder Company. Today’s Medieval Monday post is the first paper that I wrote for my MPhil in Medieval and Renaissance Studies at Glasgow University. The title of the paper is as unwieldy and cringeworthy as may be expected from someone who was just getting back in to academic writing, but I will not change it for this post. The full Ronseal-tastic, ‘it does what it says on the tin’, title is How does the court depicted by Béroul differ from that of Walter Map? A study of courtly life in Béroul’s “Tristan et Iseut” and Walter Map’s “De Nugis Curialium”. Gruesome, wouldn’t you agree? I may regret posting this paper online, in terms of its probably poor quality, but I still have a soft spot for it, as it opened up many areas of research, and some wonderful stories, to me. When I started writing it, I was unknowingly beginning the research for my MPhil dissertation, submitted two years later (I studied part-time) under the arguably more sophisticated (but no less wordy) title Female Power and Responsibility in Medieval Court Narrative: a Comparative Study of the Presentation of Women in the Celtic and French Literary Courts. Continue Reading »

Having not long returned from an all-women discussion on the Scottish Independence Referendum, organised by Women for Independence, and thus being very inspired and much better-informed, how could tonight’s Mid-week Museum post not be about a Scottish work of art?

The Monymusk Reliquary, National Museum of Scotland, c.700 A.D. (wood covered in bronze and silver plates)

The Monymusk Reliquary, National Museum of Scotland, c.700 A.D. (wood covered in bronze and silver plates)

The Monymusk Reliquary dates from the 8th century, and gets its name from Monymusk House, where it was kept for an unknown number of years before being acquired by the National Museum of Scotland in 1933. Continue Reading »

“My results are a significant improvement on the state of the aaaaaaaaaaart” (XKCD, 4 August 2014)

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VLlogo When my online persona of the Victorian Librarian, created while I was researching the Pre-Raphaelites’ use of libraries, began to assume a life of her own in the real world, it seemed time to create a logo to use on my forthcoming website, in letterheads, as a watermark (as will appear on all pages of my Chartership portfolio, which is almost complete), and on business cards (to be printed once the website is operational).

I have some very talented friends, and it was to one of these I turned to design my logo – Lora Jones. The image that you see above is the wonderful fruit of her labours. While the “VL” monogram on the open vellum pages of a book should be clear enough, the choice of floral iconography are almost certainly less so. Thus today’s Medieval Monday begins my more in-depth study of the medieval meanings and uses of the iris and the bluebell, two of my favourite flowers. Continue Reading »

La Belle Iseult (1858) by William Morris (1834-1896).  Oil on canvas. Tate Britain.

La Belle Iseult (1858) by William Morris (1834-1896). Oil on canvas. Tate Britain.

I’ve always been impressed by the (first and second wave) Pre-Raphaelites’ many talents. They were not just artists, and as a lifelong student of languages (medieval languages in particular), William Morris’ work in translating Old French and Old Norse romances and epics, is of particular interest. When I first began researching the use of original medieval works by the Pre-Raphaelites, I was focusing more on such use in their art. Morris’ only painting, of Janey Morris as La Belle Iseult, is an obvious example (look to the left). Continue Reading »

"Strawberry Thief", 1883, designed by William Morris (1834-1896), made by Morris & Co. (Victoria & Albert Museum)

“Strawberry Thief”, 1883, designed by William Morris (1834-1896), made by Morris & Co. (Victoria & Albert Museum)

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It’s been great to get home in time for the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow, one of the biggest events to hit my homeland, and it’s going so well – I’m thrilled. My tastes lie more to the cultural side of things than the sporting, but I defy you all not to find Erraid Davies inspirational and utterly adorable. However, today’s post is not about the current Commonwealth Games competition. Following extensive top-secret research, I have discovered that these games are not the first to have taken place in Glasgow. Follow me back into 1314……….. Continue Reading »

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