Alchemist Re-enactor Project

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Tetardd
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Alchemist Re-enactor Project

Postby Tetardd » Sat Jul 08, 2017 11:32 am

Hello,

I'm interested in starting another alter-ego, a late medieval or early renaissance alchemist (I'm a professional chemist, hence my interest).

Does anybody known any book sources they can recommend that would teach me about historical alchemy to get me started with the necessary knowledge?

Thanks,



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PaulMurphy
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Re: Alchemist Re-enactor Project

Postby PaulMurphy » Sat Jul 08, 2017 8:14 pm

Search the posts of Guthrie on this forum - apart from being knowledgeable and helpful, he's published a book on the subject.


Paul Murphy
Tournée & The Vikings
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J.Watson / Anmod Dracan
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Re: Alchemist Re-enactor Project

Postby J.Watson / Anmod Dracan » Sun Jul 09, 2017 10:32 am

You may be able to help me with something

Years ago I saw an alchemist do a demonstration where he poured a full glass
of what appeared to be water into another glass full of again, what appeared
to be water. The first glass full was completely absorbed by the other with no
spillage.

I have also seen the same thing done even more years ago on the annual Royal
Institute Christmas lectures

Have you any idea what the two chemicals involved were?

My appreciation of you can help


JW



guthrie
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Re: Alchemist Re-enactor Project

Postby guthrie » Fri Jul 21, 2017 10:16 pm

If you are still around, the first port of call should be Lawrence Principe's book "The secrets of alchemy", for a general overview. There's no need to read any other book by anyone else, except the early ones by F. Sherwood Taylor and E. J. Holmyard for other background. Most populist modern books (i.e. last 30 years) are not very good.

Depending how nerdy you are, and what precise decade you wish to portray, there can be quite large differences in what alchemy is and what you do in it.
THe topic is so huge and difficult that I could write a book about it. (Wait, I already did a 15k e-book on medieval and Tudor alchemy, which I could probably sell to you)

For more specifics about late medieval/ Tudor alchemy, try my blog:
https://distillatio.wordpress.com/

The internet has a horrendous mixture of fact, good research, and bad research. Going back to the primary sources is a minefield for a newbie, since the ones available in English are merely a small slice of what was actually written, and therefore you end up with a false picture of the field.

Several of the works in the Theatrum Chemicum Brittanicum are medieval or Tudor: http://www.alchemywebsite.com/texts_Ashmole_TCB.html

The tricky bit is distilling out of the medieval alchemical works and modern research into them, something that you can show to the public. The first thing to remember is that showing magic tricks with water, or colour changing water and talking about acid and alkali, or making gunpowder, is totally wrong in every way possible.
But if I tell you all that I do, that would be akin to giving you all my work for free.



guthrie
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Re: Alchemist Re-enactor Project

Postby guthrie » Fri Jul 21, 2017 10:18 pm

P.s. thanks Paul.



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Henri De Ceredigion
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Re: Alchemist Re-enactor Project

Postby Henri De Ceredigion » Sat Jul 22, 2017 1:03 pm

Is this project still ongoing? The reason I ask is that starting a fortnight ago, bus travel fares have been abolished on selected Welsh routes, therefore if there is something happening in relation to this in Wales of a weekend then I am now in a position to attend.



Tetardd
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Re: Alchemist Re-enactor Project

Postby Tetardd » Sat Jul 22, 2017 3:02 pm

JW, to answer your question, there are no chemicals that can be mixed that would do this so I think it's more likely to be a trick centered around the containers themselves, with secret compartments for example. Did you have a good look at the containers?



Tetardd
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Re: Alchemist Re-enactor Project

Postby Tetardd » Sat Jul 22, 2017 3:06 pm

Henri,

I'm not sure what you are referring to. My project is just in the next 12/24 months to be able to have enough knowledge/equipment to be able to propose to any client in the North-east of the UK the re-enactment of an alchemist lab. It has nothing to do with current events, I don't even have any contact of client who could book me for such shows, just an interest in being able to do so.

D.



guthrie
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Re: Alchemist Re-enactor Project

Postby guthrie » Sat Jul 22, 2017 9:44 pm

Henri might have accidentally posted on the wrong thread.



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J.Watson / Anmod Dracan
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Re: Alchemist Re-enactor Project

Postby J.Watson / Anmod Dracan » Sun Jul 23, 2017 10:56 am

Tetardd wrote:JW, to answer your question, there are no chemicals that can be mixed that would do this so I think it's more likely to be a trick centered around the containers themselves, with secret compartments for example. Did you have a good look at the containers?



In the case of the Royal Institute Christmas lectures the liquids
were in 2 standard lab beakers

The fact that it was on the Christmas lectures indicates that
no trickery was involved

JW




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