|An illustration from Banckes's Herbal 1525, |
featured in Eleanour Sinclair Rohde's The Old English Herbals,
published by Project Gutenberg
Project Gutenberg is what the internet's best at - creaking open the doors of the world's storehouses, offering a sample of random, bizarre, quirky and classic books on every subject since printing began in the 15th century. It hardly needs saying that the project is named after the man who invented moveable type and therefore modern printing.
Last year I spent far too much time browsing Gutenberg and I've returned to it recently because I'm researching an idea to slot into a sequence I'm writing.
I stumbled across this great work The Old English Herbals by Eleanour Sinclair Rohde published in 1922. This summer I was singing the project's praises to a French patisserie chef at the wonderful youth hostel in the hills.
I guess the research I'm doing is similar to that of a chef. So much of what we all do is similar, in fact. It's all about ingredients, timing, truth and state of mind. And while on the subject....when I'm reincarnated, I want the name Wynkyn de Worde.