Category Archives: The Parchment Mirror

On His Majesty’s Secret Service: Henry V’s Spy and Scottish Independence

One of the highlights of being a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinker this year has been making a short film with BBC Arts. The film offers a little taste of my work on John Hardyng, a fifteenth-century solider who fought in Henry V’s army during the Hundred Years’ War with France.

Three years after Henry V defeated the French at Agincourt, Hardyng was sent to Scotland to obtain evidence of English sovereignty over the realm, and to map out an invasion route, should the king wish to assert his claim of overlordship. My film explores the connection between Hardyng’s espionage and the Chronicle of British History that he wrote several decades later during the Wars of the Roses.

On His Majesty's Secret Service: Henry V's Spy and Scottish Independence

One of the highlights of being a BBC Radio 3 New Generation Thinker this year has been making a short film with BBC Arts. The film offers a little taste of my work on John Hardyng, a fifteenth-century solider who fought in Henry V’s army during the Hundred Years’ War with France.

Three years after Henry V defeated the French at Agincourt, Hardyng was sent to Scotland to obtain evidence of English sovereignty over the realm, and to map out an invasion route, should the king wish to assert his claim of overlordship. My film explores the connection between Hardyng’s espionage and the Chronicle of British History that he wrote several decades later during the Wars of the Roses.

The Minstrel’s Tale: Making Music for The Canterbury Tales

‘Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote The droghte of March hath perced to the roote… Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages’

So begins the most famous piece of Middle English literature: Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. For the last four months my students and I have been preparing a stage adaptation of Chaucer’s unfinished story collection for performance at The University of Liverpool.

Geraint Williams as Chaucer in our production of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales (photo: Meave Sullivan)

Surprisingly, theatrical versions of Chaucer’s Tales are rare. The bulky nature of the collection makes it difficult to stage in its entirety and some of the individual stories need a great deal of abridgement to make them work on stage. Bringing the imaginative power and scope of the tales to life in the theatre similarly provides a great challenge for even the most inspired director and stage crew. Not only do the fictional fourteenth-century pilgrims travel from London to Canterbury as they share their stories, but the tales they tell take us everywhere from Oxford to Asia, Northumberland to Syria, ancient Athens to the fairy-inhabited forests in King Arthur’s day.

Long ago and far away… Palamon and Arcite fall in Love with Emily ('The Knight's Tale)

Long ago and far away… Palamon (James Rooney) and Arcite (Charles Adey) fall in Love with Emily (Katie Overbury) in ‘The Knight’s Tale’ (photo: Meave Sullivan)

In Chaucer’s original work, we likewise embark on a literary journey, exploring a range of medieval genres which come with their own unique registers of language, tone, imagery, and pace, and a variety of scenes including everything from large battles, shape-shifting crones, epic boat journeys, and sex up a pear tree. So how does one start to lend coherence to Chaucer’s diverse story collection in performance? What can be done to make what works on paper work on the stage? Well, dear reader, here beginneth ‘The Minstrel’s Tale’…

Head Minstrel and Composer Alex Cottrell and I

Head Minstrel and Composer Alex Cottrell and I with The Liverpool University Players’ psaltery

Once I’d worked out what script I wanted to use – Mike Poulton’s brilliant adaptation for the Royal Shakespeare Company – the first thing that I discussed with Rio Matchett, the third year English Literature student that I asked to direct the play, was how we might use music to invite connections between the tales and flag up the different worlds and genres that the tales belonged to.

Chaucer’s narratives are littered with references to songs, music, and dancing, so the myriad of musical possibilities for illustrating the different tales was similar to the wide generic range of the tales. Having previously worked with composer Alex Cottrell on a stage adaptation of Goblin Market, I wanted to employ him as ‘Head Minstrel’ and composer; he has a fantastic way of capturing the essence of texts and their characters in his musical scores.

Charlie Wilson as Guinevere in The Wife of Bath's Tale

Charlie Wilson as Guinevere in The Wife of Bath’s Tale (photo: Meave Sullivan)

We asked Alex to keep the music medieval in flavour (but not necessarily historically accurate) and simple in style, working with the small group of instruments available to us (harp, psaltery, Irish flute, and bodhrán). In our abridged version of Poulton’s script, we had elements of the General Prologue and three types of tales: fabliaux (comic and bawdy stories), romances (tales of love and chivalry), and moral tales. We wanted a unifying composition to open and close the play, and repeatable themes to signify which literary genre was in operation. Alex’s themes would act as musical ‘bookmarks’ to invite comparisons with other tales belonging to the same genre and underscore what kind of language, characters and events the audience were about to see. This allowed us to exploit the breadth of the tales in the best possible way, and highlight the differences between them, without detracting from the pilgrimage and storytelling motifs that bound the whole together.

Several tales came with authentic medieval lyrics embedded within them, which we asked Alex to retain and link with the most appropriate style of music for the tale.

Chaunticlear and Pertelote singing love songs together, 'My lief is faren in londe'.

Chaunticlear (George Trier) and Pertelote (Imogen Wignall) singing the medieval lyric ‘My lief is faren in londe’

Armed with a psaltery, which he learnt to play in less than two weeks, our head minstrel developed several themes. The first was a ‘romantic’ and stately piece for ‘The Knight’s Tale’ and the start of ‘The Wife of Bath’s Tale’, played on the psaltery. An a cappella lyric sung by Emily in ‘The Knight’s Tale’ (‘Of every kind of tree’) followed a similar kind of tune: simple but with a courtly aspect that wouldn’t be out of place in a royal household. Musical Director, Darren Begley, put the actors through a crash course in singing medieval tunes and things started coming together.

Nicholas (James Rooney) and Alison (Charlie Wilson) just before 'I have a gentle cock' is sung.

Nicholas (James Rooney) and ‘Naughty’ Alison (Charlie Wilson) just before ‘I have a gentle cock’ (photo: Meave Sullivan)

A spritely tune entitled ‘Tales Less Tasteful’ was composed to open and close the comic and bawdy stories like ‘The Miller’s Tale’. Using all of the instruments, but especially the flute for its lively melody, it evokes a bustling medieval market place or tavern. Two sombre pieces, more ecclesiastical in tone, were written for the psaltery to accompany ‘The Monk’s Tale’ and the ‘Pardoner’s Tale’, and Alex improvised a discordant piece to make the death of the Pardoner’s rioters more emotive (‘Thus fell all three’).

The Host, The Knight, The Miller and the Cook

The Host (Dominic Davies), Knight (Daniel Murphy), Miller (Shamus Cooke) & Cook (Alex Webber-Date) (Meave Sullivan)

He developed a jaunty but simple accompaniment for ‘I have a gentle cock’, which Alison’s suitors in ‘The Miller’s Tale’ sang with gusto, while the chickens of ‘The Nun’s Priest’s Tale’, Chaunticlear and Pertelote, serenaded each other with a slow simple rendition of ‘My lief is faren in londe’, which we recycled with a faster tempo for the chase scene that closes the tale.

My favourite piece by far was the introductory/closing piece written for the harp called ‘Aweccan’ (‘awaken’ in Middle English) because it captured perfectly the essence of spring and the ‘longing’ for pilgrimage felt by Chaucer’s pilgrims in the ‘General Prologue’. Opening with four bars that imitated church bells calling out the faithful, the positioning of the piece, as Chaucer opened speaking a few lines of Middle English and later closed the play with a plea to ‘pray for all poor pilgrims on the road’, worked beautifully and marked the play’s movement between the real and fictional worlds, the past and the present.

'Do not feed the minstrels'. Aweccan being performed on the harp.

‘Do not feed the minstrels’. Aweccan performed on the harp by a time-travelling harpist from the Italian Renaissance.

There are naturally lots of ways that the direction of the play, the set, the costumes, and the doubling or tripling of parts helped to invite parallels between the tales, as Chaucer did in his original text, but the incorporation of music and medieval songs equipped our modern audience with an emotional and moral barometer to aid them on their theatrical journey through the medieval tales.

Afterword: Happily, Alex was inspired to produce an album of neo-medieval tunes, inspired by  his compositions for the play. Several of the tunes, ‘The Knight’s Tale’, ‘Aweccan’, and ‘Thus fell all three’ appear on the album, alongside a new medieval remaining ‘1478’ and a pleasing reworking of ‘Summer is Icomen In’, which the pilgrims sang at the start of our play.

Read more about the composition process from Alex here.

Listen to, or purchase, Alex’s Canterbury Tales album ‘Untold’ below:

Watch a short feature about ‘The Music of The Canterbury Tales’:

The Minstrel's Tale: Making Music for The Canterbury Tales

‘Whan that Aprill with his shoures soote The droghte of March hath perced to the roote… Thanne longen folk to goon on pilgrimages’

So begins the most famous piece of Middle English literature: Geoffrey Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales. For the last four months my students and I have been preparing a stage adaptation of Chaucer’s unfinished story collection for performance at The University of Liverpool.

Geraint Williams as Chaucer in our production of Chaucer’s The Canterbury Tales (photo: Meave Sullivan)

Surprisingly, theatrical versions of Chaucer’s Tales are rare. The bulky nature of the collection makes it difficult to stage in its entirety and some of the individual stories need a great deal of abridgement to make them work on stage. Bringing the imaginative power and scope of the tales to life in the theatre similarly provides a great challenge for even the most inspired director and stage crew. Not only do the fictional fourteenth-century pilgrims travel from London to Canterbury as they share their stories, but the tales they tell take us everywhere from Oxford to Asia, Northumberland to Syria, ancient Athens to the fairy-inhabited forests in King Arthur’s day.

Long ago and far away… Palamon and Arcite fall in Love with Emily ('The Knight's Tale)

Long ago and far away… Palamon (James Rooney) and Arcite (Charles Adey) fall in Love with Emily (Katie Overbury) in ‘The Knight’s Tale’ (photo: Meave Sullivan)

In Chaucer’s original work, we likewise embark on a literary journey, exploring a range of medieval genres which come with their own unique registers of language, tone, imagery, and pace, and a variety of scenes including everything from large battles, shape-shifting crones, epic boat journeys, and sex up a pear tree. So how does one start to lend coherence to Chaucer’s diverse story collection in performance? What can be done to make what works on paper work on the stage? Well, dear reader, here beginneth ‘The Minstrel’s Tale’…

Head Minstrel and Composer Alex Cottrell and I

Head Minstrel and Composer Alex Cottrell and I with The Liverpool University Players’ psaltery

Once I’d worked out what script I wanted to use – Mike Poulton’s brilliant adaptation for the Royal Shakespeare Company – the first thing that I discussed with Rio Matchett, the third year English Literature student that I asked to direct the play, was how we might use music to invite connections between the tales and flag up the different worlds and genres that the tales belonged to.

Chaucer’s narratives are littered with references to songs, music, and dancing, so the myriad of musical possibilities for illustrating the different tales was similar to the wide generic range of the tales. Having previously worked with composer Alex Cottrell on a stage adaptation of Goblin Market, I wanted to employ him as ‘Head Minstrel’ and composer; he has a fantastic way of capturing the essence of texts and their characters in his musical scores.

Charlie Wilson as Guinevere in The Wife of Bath's Tale

Charlie Wilson as Guinevere in The Wife of Bath’s Tale (photo: Meave Sullivan)

We asked Alex to keep the music medieval in flavour (but not necessarily historically accurate) and simple in style, working with the small group of instruments available to us (harp, psaltery, Irish flute, and bodhrán). In our abridged version of Poulton’s script, we had elements of the General Prologue and three types of tales: fabliaux (comic and bawdy stories), romances (tales of love and chivalry), and moral tales. We wanted a unifying composition to open and close the play, and repeatable themes to signify which literary genre was in operation. Alex’s themes would act as musical ‘bookmarks’ to invite comparisons with other tales belonging to the same genre and underscore what kind of language, characters and events the audience were about to see. This allowed us to exploit the breadth of the tales in the best possible way, and highlight the differences between them, without detracting from the pilgrimage and storytelling motifs that bound the whole together.

Several tales came with authentic medieval lyrics embedded within them, which we asked Alex to retain and link with the most appropriate style of music for the tale.

Chaunticlear and Pertelote singing love songs together, 'My lief is faren in londe'.

Chaunticlear (George Trier) and Pertelote (Imogen Wignall) singing the medieval lyric ‘My lief is faren in londe’

Armed with a psaltery, which he learnt to play in less than two weeks, our head minstrel developed several themes. The first was a ‘romantic’ and stately piece for ‘The Knight’s Tale’ and the start of ‘The Wife of Bath’s Tale’, played on the psaltery. An a cappella lyric sung by Emily in ‘The Knight’s Tale’ (‘Of every kind of tree’) followed a similar kind of tune: simple but with a courtly aspect that wouldn’t be out of place in a royal household. Musical Director, Darren Begley, put the actors through a crash course in singing medieval tunes and things started coming together.

Nicholas (James Rooney) and Alison (Charlie Wilson) just before 'I have a gentle cock' is sung.

Nicholas (James Rooney) and ‘Naughty’ Alison (Charlie Wilson) just before ‘I have a gentle cock’ (photo: Meave Sullivan)

A spritely tune entitled ‘Tales Less Tasteful’ was composed to open and close the comic and bawdy stories like ‘The Miller’s Tale’. Using all of the instruments, but especially the flute for its lively melody, it evokes a bustling medieval market place or tavern. Two sombre pieces, more ecclesiastical in tone, were written for the psaltery to accompany ‘The Monk’s Tale’ and the ‘Pardoner’s Tale’, and Alex improvised a discordant piece to make the death of the Pardoner’s rioters more emotive (‘Thus fell all three’).

The Host, The Knight, The Miller and the Cook

The Host (Dominic Davies), Knight (Daniel Murphy), Miller (Shamus Cooke) & Cook (Alex Webber-Date) (Meave Sullivan)

He developed a jaunty but simple accompaniment for ‘I have a gentle cock’, which Alison’s suitors in ‘The Miller’s Tale’ sang with gusto, while the chickens of ‘The Nun’s Priest’s Tale’, Chaunticlear and Pertelote, serenaded each other with a slow simple rendition of ‘My lief is faren in londe’, which we recycled with a faster tempo for the chase scene that closes the tale.

My favourite piece by far was the introductory/closing piece written for the harp called ‘Aweccan’ (‘awaken’ in Middle English) because it captured perfectly the essence of spring and the ‘longing’ for pilgrimage felt by Chaucer’s pilgrims in the ‘General Prologue’. Opening with four bars that imitated church bells calling out the faithful, the positioning of the piece, as Chaucer opened speaking a few lines of Middle English and later closed the play with a plea to ‘pray for all poor pilgrims on the road’, worked beautifully and marked the play’s movement between the real and fictional worlds, the past and the present.

'Do not feed the minstrels'. Aweccan being performed on the harp.

‘Do not feed the minstrels’. Aweccan performed on the harp by a time-travelling harpist from the Italian Renaissance.

There are naturally lots of ways that the direction of the play, the set, the costumes, and the doubling or tripling of parts helped to invite parallels between the tales, as Chaucer did in his original text, but the incorporation of music and medieval songs equipped our modern audience with an emotional and moral barometer to aid them on their theatrical journey through the medieval tales.

Afterword: Happily, Alex was inspired to produce an album of neo-medieval tunes, inspired by  his compositions for the play. Several of the tunes, ‘The Knight’s Tale’, ‘Aweccan’, and ‘Thus fell all three’ appear on the album, alongside a new medieval remaining ‘1478’ and a pleasing reworking of ‘Summer is Icomen In’, which the pilgrims sang at the start of our play.

Read more about the composition process from Alex here.

Listen to, or purchase, Alex’s Canterbury Tales album ‘Untold’ below:

Watch a short feature about ‘The Music of The Canterbury Tales’:

The Appeal of King Arthur Across the Centuries

This is an illustrated transcript of The Appeal of King Arthur, a feature I wrote for BBC Radio 3. Broadcast on 24 June 2013. Downloadable as a BBC podcast here.

King Arthur returns his sword in British Library MS Additional 10294.

King Arthur returns his sword in British Library MS Additional 10294.

Picture the scene. Arthur, legendary king of the Britons, glances pensively across the glassy surface of a deep blue lake. The softest of ripples breaks the brooding silence as a glittering sword cuts the surface, flashes reflected sunlight, and thrusts towards heaven held aloft by a slender arm clad in shimmering samite, signifying that Arthur rules by divine providence. ‘Listen!’ interrupts Dennis, a medieval peasant rising from the dirt to mock Arthur’s investiture of Excalibur by the Lady of the Lake, ‘strange women lying in ponds, distributing swords is no basis for a system of government! Supreme executive power derives from a mandate from the masses, not from some farcical aquatic ceremony.’

This scene from Monty Python’s award winning Spamalot is part of a musical send up of the Arthurian myth that has appealed to audiences the world over. Its satirical irreverence makes it an odd bedfellow for other Arthuriana in the public imagination like Tolkien’s Fall of Arthur or the BBC’s Merlin, yet each retelling of the myth is testament to its enduring hold across the centuries. What is it that continues to draw us to Arthur’s story and why does it lend itself to such radically different treatments?

Monty Python's Spamalot

Monty Python’s Spamalot

Arthurian fiction has always flourished during periods of social and dynastic collapse. In the twelfth century, the first complete account of Arthur’s reign in Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae, furnished Britain with a national epic to mitigate a succession crisis. Fast forward eight centuries, to Kennedy’s assassination and we find his presidency idealised as the Camelot era, or, more recently, Merlin, running for five successful series throughout a global recession. In each example Arthur is a touchstone for strong leadership and accord, showing what society could achieve, but never does.

Merlin introduces Galahad to the Round Table. BnF Français 343.

Merlin introduces Galahad to Arthur and the Round Table. BnF MS Français 343, folio 3r.

Beginning of Geoffrey of Monmouth's Historia Regum Britanniae

Beginning of Geoffrey of Monmouth’s Historia Regum Britanniae, British Library Arundel 10, f. 2.

While Geoffrey uses the legend to reimagine British history as a series of seamless dynastic successions attuned to the imperialism of his Norman overlords, Merlin espouses a multicultural Britain, free of class distinctions, where magic, not race or social background, is a focal point for prejudice. Magic becomes a moral barometer reflecting popular anxieties and aspirations. While Morgana uses it for personal gain, Merlin’s magic is socially beneficial, helping characters like Arthur and Guinevere, the servant-come-queen, fulfil their potential for common good. As we sympathise with Merlin’s struggle to reconcile personal and public responsibility, his endless vigil for Arthur’s return parallels our contemporary desire for stability in social and economic adversity.

The BBC's popular Merlin series

The BBC’s popular Merlin series

Literature produced during the Wars of the Roses, similarly manifests the concerns of its original fifteenth-century audience. Written when aristocratic factionalism encroached on, and overturned, royal authority, Thomas Malory’s highly influential Morte Darthur depicts the desolation of the Arthurian kingdom as a constitutional crisis reminiscent of the struggle between the houses of Lancaster and York. Remarkably for a medieval romance, it articulates the voice of the lower born men facilitating the noble feud. The silent masses that ordinarily acquiesce to royal power grow weary of war and switch their allegiance to Mordred.

Brother against brother: the Destruction of Arthur's Realm. British Library MS Additional 10294.

Civil War: The Destruction of Arthur’s Realm as depicted in British Library MS Additional 10294.

While Malory leaves us in no doubt that the people are ‘new-fangle’, or inconstant, the text reflects genuine concerns about the role of large groups in maintaining or changing the status quo. Malory’s Arthur prompts its audience to ask persistently relevant questions: where does true power reside, how is it transferred legitimately, and what is the relationship between a leader and his people?

Detail of Thomas Malory's Morte Darthur, British Library MS Additional 59678, f. 35r.

Detail of Thomas Malory’s Morte Darthur, British Library MS Additional 59678, f. 35r.

Those questions also underpin Dennis the peasant’s rant in Spamalot, as the satirical collision of royal absolutism and proletarian power opens up serious debate about modern systems of governance under the guise of Arthurian parody.

As a narrative of nation and community exploring the human condition, Arthur’s rise and fall is the story of civilisation itself locked in an endless cycle of beginnings and endings. That is why Arthur has and always will be the once and future king.

Arthur stood on top of the names of all the kingdoms subject to his rule. British Library MS Royal 20 Aii.

Arthur stood on top of the names of all the kingdoms subject to his rule. British Library MS Royal 20 Aii.

Edward Burne-Jones's 'The Last Sleep of Arthur in Avalon'.

Edward Burne-Jones’s ‘The Last Sleep of Arthur in Avalon’, one of many popular Victorian depictions of Arthur .

Iron Gall Ink: A Medieval Recipe

Many people love gazing at the glittering and vibrantly painted images in medieval manuscripts. For some, including myself, there is no better way to glimpse aspects of medieval life than getting lost in the details of illuminations depicting the fashions, pastimes, professions, and objects of every day life. But this post is dedicated to the ink that made the composition of all of those beautiful manuscripts possible.

Yesterday I came across a wonderful little recipe for iron gall ink held in The UK National Archives.

Iron gall ink is a purple-black ink, that turns a rusty-brown colour over time (notice how the ink in the image below looks brown). It was used across Europe until at least the nineteenth century and vast numbers of medieval and renaissance manuscripts were written with it. The transcript of the recipe on the National Archive’s website has a few errors, so here’s my own:

ink recipe TNA

Recipe for making iron gall ink. The National Archives of the UK, C 47/34/1/3, c. 1483.

To make hynke. Take gall
& coporos & or vitrial quartryn
& gumme of eueryche a quartryn
oþer helf quartryn & a halfe
quartryn of gall more &
breke þe gall a ij oþer a iij
& put ham togedere euery-
che one in a pot & stere hyt
ofte & wyƷt wythinne
ij wykys after Ʒe mow
wryte þer wyþ.
& yf Ʒe have a quartryn of
eueryche take a quarte of
watyr yf halfe a quartryn
of eueryche þan take half
a quartre of watyr.

The recipe instructs that four substances should be mixed together in equal measure: oak galls, copperas (aka iron sulfate, ferrous sulfate or iron vitriol), gum arabic, and water. The mixture should be stirred often over a two week period, after which time it is ready to use.

When soaked in water (or, in some recipes, wine!), the oak galls release gallic acids and tannins, which, when mixed with the iron sulfate, produce a black pigment. The addition of gum arabic acts as a binder to fix the pigment, it helps the ink to flow better and bind to the parchment or paper, and it gives a richer tone to the colour of the ink.

oak galls

Oak Galls

Ferrous sulfate; green vitriol; iron vitriol; copperas

Copperas, also known as Iron sulfate,  ferrous sulfate, green vitriol or iron vitriol.

gum arabic

Gum Arabic

Though incredibly popular with medieval scribes, iron gall ink deteriorates over time, flaking off and burning through the parchment or paper it’s written on. This is seriously bad news for researchers working with original medieval documents and manuscripts and great care has to be taken to reduce the texts’ exposure to humidity and severe temperature fluctuations. The image below shows just how corrosive the ink can be over time; it has literally eaten through the parchment containing music.

iron ink corrosion

Corrosion caused by iron gall ink.

So, next time you find yourself captivated by a beautiful medieval illumination, take a few moments to appreciate the text that it accompanies. It wants to be seen – to be read and admired – before it slowly and silently disappears.

For more information about Iron Gall Ink, and the implications it has for the long-term preservation of manuscripts, see http://www.irongallink.org

UPDATE: to include a link to my segment ‘The Ink That Helped to Write the History of Our World‘ in BBC Four’s Oak Tree: Nature’s Greatest Survivor. The full programme can be purchased from the BBC Store.

Medieval Winter Sports

For centuries, countless children and adults have found joy in our dark winter days by participating in pastimes like snowballing, tobogganing, and skating. Though the snow hasn’t quite reached us yet, here are a few seasonally inspired images of winters past to brighten the short December days…

medieval-snowball-fight-maestro-venceslao

Fresco depicting January at Castello Buonconsiglio, Trento, Italy, c. 1405-1410.

Fresco depicting January at Castello Buonconsiglio, Trento, Italy, c. 1405-1410.

Fresco depicting January at Castello Buonconsiglio, Trento, Italy, c. 1405-1410.

snowballs Oxford Bodleian Douce 135

Snowball fight in Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Douce 135. Book of Hours, Use of Rome.

Snowball fight in Walters Art Museum, W42512R. Flemish, c. 1510.

snow fight in Tacuinum Sanitatis (c. 1390-1400)

Snowball fight in Tacuinum Sanitatis (BnF NAL 1673), c. 1390-1400.

December the Book of Hours of Adélaïde de Savoie (Musée Condé 78, fol. 12v), c. 1460-1465

December the Book of Hours of Adélaïde de Savoie (Musée Condé 78), c. 1460-1465.

Tobogganing in 'The Golf Book', British Library MS Addition 24098.

Tobogganing in the margins of ‘The Golf Book’, British Library MS Addition 24098.

Tobogganing in the margins of ‘The Golf Book’, British Library MS Addition 24098.

Tobogganing in the margins of ‘The Golf Book’, British Library MS Addition 24098.

Skating and tobogganing in Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Douce 5.

Skating (?) and tobogganing in Oxford, Bodleian Library MS Douce 5.

Allegory of Winter by Ambrogio Lorenzetti fresco in the Palazzo Publico of Siena, c. 1338-1340.

Allegory of Winter by Ambrogio Lorenzetti fresco in the Palazzo Publico of Siena, c. 1338-1340.