London Research

London research is going well.

Here is the cellar at Hampton court palace, a 16th century residence actually built by Cardinal Wolsey, but co-opted by Henry VIII. I visited last weekend, and also very much enjoyed looking at the palace kitchens. The kitchen garden contained many plants I recognize from my studies, but most were not quite up yet, so I did not take pictures.

Yesterday I went over 100 mead recipes collected on this trip (including an unknown number of duplicates), and I have 2 more days left in the libraries of London. This trip has focused on priorities, visiting only 3 libraries which had a good number of manuscripts that I was fairly certain would contain recipes. Many locations with fewer manuscripts, and many manuscripts that seemed less likely to contain recipes have been left off the itinerary.

Because I am primarily dealing with manuscript medical and cookery books, the sources I have been looking at are strongly 17th and 1st half of 18th century (using my self-imposed cut-off of 1750). I do believe I have found a late 15th century recipe for the distilled drink ‘aqua mirabilis’, and a few other gems.

For this sort of work, I spend very little time on the actual content while I am at the library, The focus is on identifying and getting copies (photos) of all the material of interest, for later reading and processing. I’ll report on that when the trip is done.

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