“The manuscript inside the next box was smaller than the last, but it contained interesting sketches of alchemical apparatus and snippets of chemical procedures that read like some unholy combination of JOY OF COOKING and a poisoner’s notebook.”

Alchemy may be early chemistry, but there are strong religious elements in the iconography and the equipment was often borrowed from kitchens and stillrooms, traditional female spaces in the home. One of the reasons I became fascinated with the subject was the mix of scientific, religious, and domestic traditions.


Image: Wellcome Library, London, MS. 446 (late 15th-century alchemical manuscript in French and Latin), fos 27v.–28r. Wellcome Image no. L0031726.