Author: mariekehendriksen

Boiling Milk: Experimenting with Boerhaave’s Little Furnace, Part III

By Ruben Verwaal and Marieke Hendriksen It has been exactly 350 years since Herman Boerhaave’s birthday. What better way to honour the renowned professor than to redo some of his old experiments?  On Monday 31st of December, in the year 1668, Herman was born. And already as a kid, he and his brother James probed…

A Cool Oven: Boerhaave’s Little Furnace, part II

By Ruben Verwaal and Marieke Hendriksen Ruben Verwaal is curator of the historical collections at Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam, and at the Museum for Communication in The Hague. He obtained his PhD in June 2018 with a thesis on the role of bodily fluids in eighteenth-century chemistry. Marieke Hendriksen is a researcher on the Artechne Project…

How to Prevent the Cooling of the Earth: A Page from God’s Cookbook

By Jean-Olivier Richard Image from Athanasius Kircher’s Mundus Subterraneus (1678 edn.) vol. 1, p. 194. Historians studying the relationship between climate and recipes (and yes, historians have good reasons to do so; see Jennifer A. Munroe’s post on seasonality and Katherine Allen’s articles on springtime in recipe books and the common…

The “Gentle Heat” of Boerhaave’s Little Furnace

By Ruben Verwaal and Marieke Hendriksen Ruben Verwaal is curator of the historical collections at Erasmus Medical Centre, Rotterdam, and at the Museum for Communication in The Hague. He obtained his PhD in June 2018 with a thesis on the role of bodily fluids in eighteenth-century chemistry. Marieke Hendriksen is…

Boiling hot oil: on the assessment of temperature in late medieval processing of linseed oil

By Indra Kneepkens Indra Kneepkens is a technical art historian, specializing in the materials and techniques of late medieval panel painting. She is currently finalizing her dissertation, which is focused on the use of processed linseed oils and paint additives in the painting practice of the fifteenth and early sixteenth…

Banishing the Armpit Goats: Body Odor in Ancient Rome

By Cari Casteel Cari Casteel is currently working on a manuscript on the social and cultural history of deodorant, based on her dissertation, “The Odor of Things: Deodorant, Gender, and Olfaction in the United States.”Beginning in the fall she will be joining the history department at the University at Buffalo as…

The devil is in the details: turpentine varnish

By Marieke Hendriksen One of the first things you learn when you do reconstruction research is that the tiniest detail can make a difference. Recently, I wanted to prepare an injection wax for corrosion preparations according to a 1790 recipe. Corrosion preparations are anatomical preparations created by injecting an organ…

Indigo or no indigo?

Marieke Hendriksen When you say indigo, the first thing many people will think of is blue – jeans blue. (Or if you’re me, you’ll think first of a seventeenth-century recipe to make decorative blue prunes from wax with indigo. Occupational deformation.) But historically, indigo has been used in many more…

Teaching a Perfect Knowledge in the Arts and Sciences: Robert Dossie’s chemical, pharmaceutical, and artistic handbooks

By Marieke Hendriksen Robert Dossie (1717-1777) was and English apothecary, experimental chemist, and writer. Within just three years, he published three very successful handbooks: The elaboratory laid open (1758) on chemistry and pharmacy for ‘all practitioners of medicine’, Theory and practice of chirurgical pharmacy (1761) for surgeons, and The handmaid…

A recipe for a community — 5 Years On

By Marieke Hendriksen  My first contribution to The Recipes Project appeared in June 2013: a post on mercurial drugs, the topic of my then postdoctoral project at Groningen University. Elaine Leong had read my own research blog, The Medicine Chest, and invited me to contribute. Seventeen posts and over four…

A forgotten chapter in natural history: the taxidermy of man

By Marieke Hendriksen Having written a book on eighteenth-century anatomical collections, I know a thing or two about historical techniques for preserving (parts of) the human body. As I am interested in natural history collections more generally, I also did some research on the preservation of animal bodies, and even…

Creating and integrating a database – work in progress

By Marieke Hendriksen As mentioned in the post introducing the ARTECHNE project at Utrecht University last month, we are in the process of creating a database containing recipes, artist handbooks, and art theoretical texts that can clarify the development of the use of the term ‘technique’, as well as related…

Introducing ARTECHNE – Technique in the Arts, 1500-1950

By Sven Dupré and Marieke Hendriksen What is ‘technique’ in the visual and decorative arts? And how is ‘technique’ transmitted? Those are the central questions of ARTECHNE, a five-year project supported by the European Research Council, and led by Sven Dupré, that started at Utrecht University and the University of…

How to avoid a bad buy and angry patrons: a recipe for pigment testing

As we have seen in other blog posts before, recipes for counterfeits, imitations, and ersatz products were fairly common in the early modern period. On the other hand, there were recipes to detect the results of such deceit, such as this recipe to determine whether wine had been sweetened with lead…

Searching for Recipes: A Glimpse of Early Modern Upper Class Life

By Marieke Hendriksen On this blog we tend to hear a lot about English household manuscript recipes but lively traditions existed elsewhere, as Sietske Fransen and Saskia Klerk also show in their series on a Dutch manuscript of recipes. In my own search for eighteenth-century Dutch medical and chemical recipes, I often…

From bloodstone to fish soup: iron recipes

By Marieke Hendrikksen In my research on the use of metals in eighteenth-century medical chemistry, iron has a special place. Unlike other metals, which were increasingly regarded as dangerous, iron remained a safe bet in blood-related diseases. However, up until the early nineteenth century, this understanding was not so much…