Friday, 12 June 2009

Tying Together Loose Ends

It has been a busy number of weeks for me; however, some of the main tasks have been completed or are near completion. One task was redesigning my main website to give it a few extra sections which would bring together various items on the web related to me. There are now sections on art, photos and videos. They do not contain everything that is on the web to do with me, just a reasonable selection making it easier to view things without going to the trouble of visiting a list of sites to see what is new. There is a new section on books. This is not been fully added yet and only lists some of the books available from one of my internet bookshops. When it is complete, there will be books listed there which are not available in my other shops and which can only be purchased through the main site. I am being encouraged to do the same with some artwork but I am against the idea at present.

I have received some questions asking why I have not posted any more videos of art on YouTube since last month. I have reached the stage on the Magicians project where I am now working on paintings as well as drawings. I am not making time lapse videos of the paintings and so there is nothing to post on YouTube or my main site. I still have a list of drawings to do and videos of those will be posted on the net as usual as and when they are done. Something that should be kept in mind is that all the videos pertaining to the Magicians project will be removed from my YouTube channel and my main site shortly after the project is completed. Once again I would to thank the people that have been kind enough to contact me and write nice things about my art. It is very much appreciated.

Another task which is nearly complete is the corrections to text and cover of A Briefe and Pleasaunt Treatise of Naturall and Artificiall Conclusions by Thomas Hill, the text of 1581. The proof copy of this book highlighted errors which had been missed at the editing stage and so I have been glad of the opportunity to deal with them and finally get ready to put the book on sale.

Thomas Hill was a compiler of books on various matters such as dreams, gardening and almanacs. One book stands out however and that is his Naturall and Artificiall Conclusions. It was, as far as we know at present, the first book in English to include some conjuring tricks. Aha, some of you might be saying, is not Reginald Scots’s The Discoverie of Witchcraft the book that has claim to that accolade? It was, until someone pointed to Hill’s book as having an earlier date of publication. Trevor Hall, a magician and bibliographer, researched the matter carefully and showed that Hill’s text predates Scot’s not merely by a few years but by several decades (for more on that, read Hall’s book Old Conjuring Books).

For some people, however, magic is not the sole interest of Hill’s book. The book includes items in many fields of interest amongst which are metallurgy, chemistry, botany, biology, and crackpotology. Yes, that is right, crackpotology. Hill includes a number of crackpot items that even he probably did not believe and some he certainly knew could not possibly be true. The book has relevance to the history of all these areas and even to the history of religion in the United Kingdom. Hill’s book was published during the turbulent century of the beginnings of the English Reformation and two of the items in his book may therefore have been very controversial: how to walk on water and how to change water into wine. Both are literal attempts at each task, showing that each can be done by non-miraculous means.

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