A very hairy story

07 Nov 2016

Beards are back in fashion. But today’s hipster styles convey rather different  messages to the hair men cultivated in the early modern period. Historian Dr Stefan Hanß investigates the ways in which daily ‘performances of hair’ for men and women reflected the profound religious and social changes sweeping through Europe in the 16th and 17th centuries.

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The lady of the longitude

30 Nov 2014

In 1714, the British Parliament offered large rewards for finding longitude at sea. Men around the world submitted schemes but only one woman, Jane Squire, published a proposal under her own name. Dr Alexi Baker has been investigating the life story of this remarkable trailblazer. 

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Andreas Vesalius (1514-1564) and the books that made the father of anatomy

17 Jul 2014

Born 500 years ago, Andreas Vesalius has iconic status in the history of science.  Cambridge University Library holds several copies of the remarkable books that he published to revive the lost art of anatomy and promote his own career as a physician. Historian Dr Sachiko Kusukawa has curated an online exhibition to celebrate Vesalius's achievements.

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What William Courten bought on 9 June 1698: 1 young Pelican, 2 Land Tortoises and a cap of seafowles skin

09 Jun 2014

A remarkable archive records the purchases made by William Courten (1642–1702) whose museum was praised by visitors as a noble collection of curiosities. An investigation of Courten’s records by Dr Sachiko Kusukawa reveals that Courten bought items from more than 80 individuals, many of them trading within walking distance of his rooms in London’s Middle Temple. 

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The first book of fashion

01 May 2013

Fashion conveys complex messages. The recreation of an outfit taken from one of an extraordinary series of Renaissance portraits reveals how one man made his mark on society. 

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Globe c. 1907

The world inside a Spanish globe

28 Dec 2012

Study of a mysterious 100-year-old interactive toy – perhaps the Wikipedia of its day – is painting a vivid picture of Spain’s path into the modern world.

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