Saturday, March 31, 2012

Pharmacy Museum, Heidelberg Castle

Heidelberg Castle
Nestled in the hill 300 feet above the city of Heidelberg stands the breath-taking Heidelberg Schloss (castle). The castle is a combination of several buildings surrounding an inner courtyard, put together with a haphazard look. Each building highlights a different period of German architecture.

The castle has a history almost as old as the city itself. The first parts of the castle were constructed around 1300, but it wasn’t before Prince Elector Ruprecht III (1398 – 1410) that the castle was used as a regal residence. Until it was destroyed by lightning in 1764 leaving it permanently uninhabitable, the castle was the residence for most of the Prince Electors. In 1800, Count Charles de Graimberg began the difficult task of conserving the castle ruins. Up until this time, the citizens of Heidelberg had used the castle stones to build new houses.

Just as breath-taking as the castle is from the city, so too is the city from the castle. From either the Great Terrace or the gardens, one has an amazing view of Heidelberg, the Neckar River, and the Neckar valley far into the Rhine plain. On a clear day, Mannheim is even visible on the horizon.

Red Roofs, Heidelberg


The German Pharmacy Museum's collection of over 20.000 objects represents the rich history of medical sciences, especially the history of pharmacy.

Housed in one of Germany's architectural landmarks, the Heidelberg Castle, the collection is the largest and finest in existence, spanning two thousand years of pharmacy history.

Pharmacy Museum


Laboratory Equipment
Distilling Apparatus
Dried Fern

Remedies for the Kiddies

Disturbing Unicorn

Thursday, March 29, 2012

Scloss Hohentubingen Museum

Venus of Hohle Fels, Ice Age Mammoth Ivory Carving
Nicholas Conrad, an archeologist at the University of Tubingen, in Germany, found the small carving in a cave in 2008.  It is at least 35,000 years old and one of the oldest known examples of figurative art in the world.

Vogelherd Ivory Horse and Mammoth, Mammoth Ivory Carvings

Cross Hatching on Mammoth's Feet

The figure of the woolly mammoth is tiny, measuring just 3.7 cm long and weighing a mere 7.5 grams, and displays skilfully detailed carvings. It is unique in its slim form, pointed tail, powerful legs and dynamically arched trunk. It is decorated with six short incisions, and the soles of the pachyderm's feet show a crosshatch pattern. It is also estimated to be 35,000 years old.

Leonhart Fuchs Collection, Botanic Gardens, Tubingen, Germany

Fuch's Original Engraved Woodcut on Pear Wood

Woodcut with Worm Holes

Copied Portrait of Leonhart Fuchs

Leonhart Fuchs Collection: Herbals are books containing the names and descriptions of plants and their medicinal properties. The herbal had declined during the Middle Ages, western European herbals of that era were based on the works of classical authors, in particular Pedanios Dioscorides, the ancient Greek writer who was the father of medical botany. This would change with the publication of Leonhart Fuchs’ illustrated herbal De historia stirpium commentarii insigne. The plan and organization of the herbal was entirely original with Fuchs, although the work did include some material derived from his Classical predecessors. Fuchs’ De historia stirpium represented an impressive first step from medieval superstition to modern botany. Leonhart Fuchs, a German doctor of medicine, deplored the terrible state of medical practice during his lifetime. Most doctors of his time relied on information from illiterate apothecaries, whom were, in turn, depending upon the peasants who gathered roots and herbs for them. Fuchs realized that patients could easily be poisoned rather than cured because of improper identification of plants. Therefore he compiled this herbal to improve the German pharmacopoeia with a reference of accurate illustrations and identifications of medicinal herbs in both German and Latin. The result was a book of great splendor, without equal among sixteenth-century herbals. It is illustrated with 511 hand-colored woodcut figures, all original and depicted from life. Fuchs looked to living plants for his illustrations, a departure from common practice at that time, but then “improved” them by removing any natural imperfections and by showing a plant in the flowering and fruiting stages simultaneously.

In 1535, Fuchs was appointed to a professorship at Tubingen, and, while he held this post, he declined a call to the University of Pisa, and also an invitation to become physician to the King of Denmark. It is clear that, both as a physician and a teacher, he was in great demand. He acquired a wide-spread reputation by his successful treatment of a terrible epidemic disease, which swept over Germany in 1529. A little book of medical instructions and prayers against the plague, which was published in London in the latter half of the sixteenth century, shows that his fame had extended to England. It is entitled, ' A worthy practise of the moste learned Phisition Maister Leonerd Fuchsius, Doctor in Phisicke, most necessary in this needfull tyme of our visitation, for the comforte of all good and faythfull people, both olde and yonge, both for the sicke and for them that woulde avoyde the daunger of contagion.'

The man (on right) who discovered the Fuchs Plates in a rubbish pile.

Off to the University of Tubingen, Baden-Wurttemberg, Germany

Inspecting Renaissance Botanical Manuscripts at the University of Tubingen
Medici et Botanici Celeberrimi, Exquisite Simul et Artificiose, Published in 1595
Beautiful Architecture

Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Trier is a historic city in west central Germany and the country's oldest city.  Legend has it that in 2000 BC, the Assyrians established a colony here.  The Roman colony of Augusta Treverorum (Trier) was founded by Augustus in 16 BC.  Trier became the favored residence of several Roman emperors, including Constantine the Great, the first Christian emperor.  The cathedral Constantine built in Tier in 326 AD is Germany's oldest.  After destruction by Germanic tribes in the 5th century, the great city of Trier became a small town.  Trier's market square (Hauptmarket) is one of the nicest in Germany.  Catholic pilgrims still come to Trier in large numbers to honor the relic of the Holy Robe at the Dom St. Peter and the tomb of St. Matthias in the Benedictine church named for him.

Porta Negra
The impressive "Black Gate" is a 2nd-century Roman gate

The Goethe House

Johann Wolfgang Goethe was born on 28 August 1749 in Frankfurt am Main, Germany as son of a lawyer. After growing up in a privileged upper middle class family, he studied law in Leipzig from 1765 to 1768, although he was more interested in literature. As he was seriously ill, he had to interrupt his studies, but finally graduated in Strassburg with a degree in law. In the following years, his novel "The Sorrows of Young Werther" (1774) became one of the first bestsellers. In 1775, he settled down in Weimar, being the Duke's adviser and writing popular dramas such as "Egmont" or "Torquato Tasso". One of his life's important milestones was the Italian Journey from 1786 and 1788, where he discovered his interest in Greek and Roman classicism. After his return to Germany, he began the "Weimar Classicism" movement with his good friend Friedrich Schiller, concentrating on poems and dramas such as his best known work "Faust", which he published in two parts (1808/1832). Beside his literary work, he contributed many interesting theories to sciences, making him Germany's leading polymath in that period. He wrote several works on morphology, and colour theory. Goethe also had the largest private collection of minerals in all of Europe. By the time of his death, in order to gain a comprehensive view in geology, he had collected 17,800 rock samples. During his Italian journey, Goethe formulated a theory of plant metamorphosis in which the archetypal form of the plant is to be found in the leaf.I n 1790, he published his Metamorphosis of Plants. On 22 March 1832, he died in Weimar, the town he had lived for more than fifty years.

Stadel Museum

Merchant and banker Johann Friedrich Städel of Frankfurt set forth in his will in 1815 that his sizeable collection of paintings, engravings and art objects be dedicated to the founding of one of Germany’s oldest art museums, the Städelsches Kunstinstitut. The art institute was to encompass not only a collection to which the public would have access, but also a facility for the education of each new generation of artists – the present-day Städelschule. The collection presently comprises some 2,900 paintings, 600 sculptures, 500 photographs and more than 100,000 drawings and prints. With its rich holdings, the Städel Museum presents an overview of seven hundred years of European art history – beginning with the early fourteenth century and covering the Renaissance, the Baroque, Early Modern and contemporary art. Among the highlights of this comprehensive collection are works by Holbein the Younger, Cranach the Elder, Dürer, Botticelli, Rembrandt and Vermeer, Degas, Matisse, Monet, Renoir, Picasso, Kirchner, Beckmann and Klee, Bacon, Klein, Serra, Richter, Kippenberger and Tillmans.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

British Library

We toured the British Library's medieval illuminations and herbals collection as well as the conservation studios.  I loved the conservation studios.  We were allowed to see how they repair all of the old, precious documents.  We also viewed the Olga Hirsch Collection.  Her husband Paul Hirsch was an acclaimed music collector.

Monday, March 26, 2012

Veiko Kespersaks

Another fabulous highlight to our trip was a visit to Veiko Kespersak's studio in London.  Veiko is a fabulous calligrapher who did the calligraphy for the movie, "The Tale of Despereaux."

Veiko Signing His Book, "Calligraphy in 24 1 Hr Lessons
Veiko's Book

Kew Gardens and the Shirley Sherwood Collection

We visited Key Gardens and the Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art.  The Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew was founded in 1759.  Kew is a world leader in plant science and conservation.  Kew's Millennium Seed Bank now conserves over 32,749 species as seed samples from at least one population. This equals a stunning 1.9 billion seeds in the bank, with another 1.9 billion conserved in the countries of origin.  

The Shirley Sherwood Gallery of Botanical Art opened at Kew Gardens in April 2008 and is the only continuously open gallery in the world dedicated solely to botanical art.  It holds regular exhibitions throughout the year featuring historical and contemporary botanical illustrations.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Ann Swan's Studio

Wonderful North Light Studio

One of the highlights of our trip was a visit to Ann Swan's studio. What a lovely and gracious host - she really outdid herself by preparing such a fabulous lunch for us.  Ann works mainly in graphite and colored pencil in a very contemporary style. She exhibits world wide including the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew and the Hunt Institute's Exhibition in Pittsburgh USA. Ann is a regular exhibitor with the Society of Botanical Artists and until recently exhibited annually at the Chelsea and Hampton Court Flower Shows. She is also a member of the RHS Picture Committee. Her work is represented in the prestigious Shirley Sherwood Collection and features in many private collections around the world.

Gorgeous Work


Stone Circle
Avebury, a Neolithic henge constructed around 2600 BC, consists of three stone circles around the village of Avebury in Wiltshire in southwest England,  It contains the largest prehistoric stone circles in Europe.  
Avebury Manor
Avebury Manor’s recorded history began in the early 12th century, when the Abbey of St Georges de Boscherville was allowed to set up a small priory.

Dovecote at Avebury Manor

Lacock Abbey

Lacock Abbey
Lacock Abbey was home to  William Fox Talbot, known for his contributions to the invention of photography.  This country home was built upon the foundations Lacock Abbey former nunnery complete with medieval rooms and cloister court.  Many of the classroom scenes in Harry Potter were filmed at Lacock Abbey. The Sacristy was Snape’s classroom and the Warming Room was home to Professor Quirrell. The Cauldron that appears in the classroom is actually a fixture in the abbey.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

L. Cornelissen & Son/Red House

L. Cornelissen & Son Art Supply Store (Artists' Colourmen)

A wide range of beautiful pigments

Waiting for the train

William Morris Red House - The Most Beautifulest Place on Earth

Friday, March 23, 2012


Springtime in Hyde Park

The ubiquitous red telephone phone booth

Natural History Museum

Natural History Museum

On Friday we visited the Natural history Museum and had the pleasure of an arranged viewing of works by William Bartram, Mark Catesby, the Bauer Brothers and the Reeves Collection.