Other Worlds: Rare Astronomical Works exhibition

I hope you all will allow me the small indulgence of bragging on an exhibition near and dear to my heart! The Harry Ransom Center on the University of Texas campus (my alma mater and current employer) has put on the exhibit Other Worlds: Rare Astronomical Works in celebration of the International Year of Astronomy. Some of the works on display do coincide with the Tudor period though, so it isn’t totally off-topic! Up at the top is a photo I took of the HRC’s copy of Copernicus’ “De Revolutionibus”, printed in 1543 (the photo was from a different exhibition earlier this year).

More information is available here

And by the way, if any of you are in the area and visit the HRC, they also have an exhibit on Edgar Allen Poe on right now too, celebrating the bicentennial of his birth. See what I mean about all the cool things with anniversaries this year?

Want to own Cromwell’s face?

Oliver Cromwell, that is.

From The Daily Mail:

well’s instructions were followed to the letter.

This death mask shows the puritanical Lord Protector of England in all his grizzled, lumpy glory.

There has been no attempt to conceal the growth on his lower lip or straighten his crooked nose.

All in all, the mask doesn’t make an attractive artwork – though that probably won’t bother the person who buys it this week.

The plaster cast, made around 350 years ago, has been put up for sale at auction by a private collector.

It has an estimated value of £1,000, even though experts cannot be sure exactly when it was made.

Full article

I still can’t decide if I find death masks more cool than creepy, or the other way around.

(Thanks Kathy!)

New meaning to an old Christmas carol

It’s later than our period, but I have to agree with Kathy (who sent this in) that it is fascinating.

From The Daily Mail:

It has been sung at carol services across the country but a centuries-old secret political code has been found in a popular Christmas song.

According to one musical expert, O Come All Ye Faithful, also called Adeste Fideles, is actually a birth ode to Jacobite pretender Bonnie Prince Charlie.

Born on December 20 1720, Bonnie Prince Charlie was the grandson of England’s last Catholic monarch, James II.

‘Fideles is Faithful Catholic Jacobites. Bethlehem is a common Jacobite cipher for England, and Regem Angelorum is a well-known pun on Angelorum, angels, and Anglorum, English.

‘The meaning of the Christmas carol is clear: ‘Come and Behold Him, Born the King of Angels’ really means, ‘Come and Behold Him, Born the King of the English’ – Bonnie Prince Charlie!’

Professor Zon said there were other clues to the subversive political message contained in the carol.

Full article

Help a fellow Tudorphile raise money for cancer research

10 years ago when I first started the TudorTalk email list, my very first subscriber was Amanda Grayson. The funny part is with potential subscribers from across the planet, the first one lived just a few miles away from me! To honor the 10th anniversary of the list, I’m making this one-time request.

Amanda is riding in a local charity bike ride called the Armadillo Hill Country Classic and in addition to the money raised by the ride itself, she’s raising money for The Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. She’s pledging to do the 105-mile ride. Yes, you read that right, 105 miles! I’ll also be doing the ride, but I’m aiming to just be able to make the 28 mile ride.

Amanda’s goal is to raise $2000 and is already 62% of the way there as of today. So, if you are interested, please consider sending some money her way in honor of Tudor fandom.

Here’s the link to her Team in Training page, where you can donate.

Happy Thanksgiving!

I would like to wish all my fellow Americans a Happy Thanksgiving! I hope you had a chance to spend it with family and friends. I would also like to give thanks to all of you who read the site and listen to the podcast!

I’ve been tagged!

I was tagged by Miland Brown of World History Blog to give 8 random facts about myself and to tag 8 others. Unfortunately, I’m about to leave for the observatory for work and I’m not going to have time to pick 8 more history bloggers to tag. So, if you’re a history blogger who reads this and hasn’t been tagged with this meme yet, consider yourself tagged!

1. The farthest points east, west, north and south from Central Texas I’ve traveled are: East – Pompeii, Italy; West – The Grand Canyon, Arizona, United States; North – Edinburgh, Scotland; South – Tulum, Mexico (just down the coast from Cancun)

2. Although most people know me through my Tudor History stuff, my degree and job is in astronomy

3. I have a cast of a dinosaur footprint in my living room (and made it myself in a river just north of Austin)

4. I have around 200 PEZ dispensers (all in my office at work) and I have only bought one of them on eBay (the limited edition glow-in-the-dark Emperor from Star Wars). The rest were purchased in stores or given to me.

5. I have a totally illogical fear of moray eels

6. I can name all the Kings and Queens of England from Edward the Confessor to now, and know most of the dates of their reigns as well. When we go out for breakfast, the tab is usually under $14 and I annoy my boyfriend by telling him the king who reigned in the year equal to the total of the bill. (It usually comes in somewhere between Henry II and Edward III, not including tip).

7. I love movie scores/soundtracks

8. Until just a few years ago, I wasn’t much of a fan of red wine. Then my boyfriend stayed with some wine-loving friends of ours for a few months and I got totally hooked. The Rhone region of France is one of my faves.

Cutty Sark

Not at all Tudor related, but I was heartbroken to see the fire on the Cutty Sark this morning. The good news is that about 50% of the ship was away for restoration. The bad news is that right now the fire is being treated as “suspicious”.

I’ve visited the ship twice, although I’ve never actually gone aboard for some silly reason. The picture above goes to the Greenwich set from my 2003 trip, which includes a few photos the ship.

Here’s a link to an article at BBC News

And here is a link to the Cutty Sark Trust.

Update September 2008
From The Times:

The fire that engulfed the Cutty Sark last May, resulting in £10million damage, was caused by a piece of electrical equipment that was left on over the weekend, The Times has learnt.

Full article

It’s still a tragedy that the fire happened at all, but it is nice to know that it wasn’t malicious.

Happy Holidays!

I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday season!

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Hurricane Rita and Texas

As some of you know by now, I live in Texas and yes, we have a big hurricane aiming towards us. I’ve already gotten a couple of emails, and I just wanted to let everyone know that I appreciate them thinking about me. I live in a small town about 25 miles east of Austin, so I’m not very close to the coast and I will not be evacuating. With the current track (always subject to change), it looks like we’ll get some rain and moderate winds where I am. If the track returns to the forecast path of yesterday, then we may still have a category 1 hurricane to deal with by the time Rita is in Central Texas. Should that happen, we’re going to pack up the animals and go into Austin, since our house is in a relatively high and exposed area where winds could be a problem.

I have no idea if I’ll be answering email quickly or not in the next few days, so I would appreciate your patience if you are waiting for a response on something. If there is strong rain on Saturday, the satellite internet at the house will probably be knocked out and I won’t be able to send anything or do any updates. If things turn worse for those of us inland, we’ll probably be obsessively watching the Weather Channel, but I might want to deal with Tudor things to take my mind off the other stuff!

And, of course, any readers who are in an area of potential danger, please take care of yourself!

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Help If You Can

Part of the reason I’ve been slow in posting updates this week was that I’ve been trying to keep up with the unfolding tragedy going on in my neighboring states in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina. I know a lot of my readers are overseas, and I don’t know how much coverage this is getting in the rest of the world. It’s bad… there is no other way of putting it. If you can help with a donation, please do so.

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