In my post last night, I wrote that I felt as though time was running away with me, and I didn’t feel as though I had time to do everything that I wanted to. Well, this morning, it appears as though the Universe has listened to me, and slowed time down considerably.

I don’t tend to sleep in as late as I used to (there were times when I didn’t wake up until 2pm!) and this morning I was awake at 7am. Although I felt sleepy when I first woke up, I couldn’t get back to sleep, so decided to pop onto the computer to see if I could find any further information about 1642. Information seems to have stopped jumping out at me as it first did, so I have now turned my attention to people of the time, and the people they knew. I may get some information to filter through this way, rather than looking at events of the period (although the events involved people too!)

The last four hours or so have passed by looking at King Charles I’s father, King James I (VI of Scotland) and his relationship with George Villiers (who was reported to be ‘the handsomest-bodied man in all of England’ at the time). George was the first Duke of Buckingham. He was also held in high regard with Charles I for a couple of years as well. He was assassinated in Portsmouth on 23rd August 1628 by John Felton, a lieutenant in the English army, who had apparently been overlooked for promotion in favour of George.

At the time, there wouldn’t have been any radio, or TV, so George’s celebrity status would have been created through word of mouth, or possibly some people seeing a portrait of him (or his body, of course!) and then talking about what they had seen. Having said that, though, by looking at the portraits, and especially the clothes folk were wearing at the time, imagination must have played a very large part in people’s perceptions at the time.

portrait_george_villiersgeorge_villiers_buckingham

Personally, I have a problem wearing a tie around my neck, so those lace ruffs and collars that were all the rage back then would have probably annoyed me slightly, to say the least. But, they seem to suit the time!

George’s looks got him into a position of power (and possibly some other places as well…), but they didn’t really do anything for him in the end. Even in the seventeenth century looks weren’t everything, but were seemingly high on the importance list. We may now be more technologically advanced than back in the seventeenth century, but some things still haven’t changed. Having said that, he was seemingly extremely popular, and crowds turned out for his funeral.

George’s son, also named George (who was to become the second Duke of Buckingham) was only four months old at the time of his father’s death, and was brought up in the royal household of Charles I with his brother Francis. He obtained a Master of Arts degree in 1642, when he would have been around fourteen years old. Not a great link, when all said and done, but still a connection with 1642. Every a chain has a weak link somewhere.

Incidentally, whilst I was browsing around the early part of the seventeenth century, I discovered that William Shakespeare and Miguel de Cervantes both died on the same date, but ten days apart. They died on April 23rd 1616, the difference due to the fact that there were two calendars running simultaneously at that time, the Julian and Gregorian calendars. Shakespeare’s date is from the older Julian calendar. Today, April 23rd is celebrated as the World Book Day, a celebration that started in 1995.

Going back to George Villiers (the first Duke), apparently on his tomb at Westminster Abbey, there is an inscription that may be translated as “The Enigma of the World”. My Latin isn’t the best, so I used one of those on-line translation sites to try to see what the inscription would have said. “Enigma of orbis terrarum” is the result I obtained. Looking at the pictures I have found of the tomb, I can’t see anything that resembles this, unfortunately.

However, one of the pictures of the tomb I saw had used the Aquatint medium, which caught my eye with the ‘similarity’ to Aquatom. I thought that this was something that I had come across before, but I was mistaken, as it was another printing technique called Mezzotint I was thinking of. Mezzotint was invented by German artist Ludwig von Siegen, and his earliest Mezzotint print dates to 1642. Aquatint didn’t appear on the scene until 1768, a further two hundred years before the first appearance of the man behind Aquatom… me!

So, randomly, I have found a link from me, through James I, George Villiers and the history of printing to 1642 and back again. I could have left things at the Master of Arts degree link, but I had an urge to look a little further.

OK, still no answers as to why I’m drawn to this time period, but I’m enjoying finding out these snippets of information anyway! Maybe this quest is my enigma of orbis terrarum…

  • Dictionary definition of Enigma:
    A person or thing that is mysterious, puzzling, or difficult to understand.
    A riddle or paradox.

I’ve described myself as a paradox on more than one occasion, and this 1642 thing is puzzling. So, yes, it is the enigma of my world… for now, at least. Or maybe I’m the enigma…

2 Comments

  1. I wouldn’t dare to say you’re an enigma Sir Aquatom, maybe enigmatic? 😉 … I was thinking about the portraits painted in the olden days, which at the time would have to be flattering or the unfortunate painter would be …um… chastised? so just like photo’s today maybe the portraits were subject to a slight ‘tweak?’ here and there. SO we can’t be sure they reflect the persons attributes, just a fair indication….What makes me wonder is that there are some portraits I’ve seen painted of strange looking individuals, with big noses, ears and so forth, but maybe it was a sign of beauty in those days? Just like the Ruffs, which look uncomfortable, were a sign of high fashion, and I must admit give the wearer a look of attractiveness ( in a Johnny Depp as Capt Jack type of way) … hmm. 1642 is a puzzle and no mistake. xPenx

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    1. Enigmatic? Me?? Thanks, Pen, but I’d go with the enigma option…
      I was reading about the pictures that we see of Shakespeare during this round of research, and rumour has it, the pictures are a bit like a cut and paste job today would look like. Rumour has it, that both eyes are actually the same eye, and the right arm is actually the back of a left arm. I can see the artists painting two eyes, but why would they paint the back of a left arm to use it as the right one? Unless they cut it out of another portrait of Shakespeare.
      Anyways, I digress. 1642 is an interesting puzzle. And Johnny Depp… did he wear a ruff?

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