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Lapidarium: The Secret Lives of Stones

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Geology is a story-telling science, requiring great leaps of poetic imagination,’ writes Hettie Judah in Lapidarium: The Secret Lives of Stones. Stones that come to us hard and cold and unchanging are the product of immense geological heat and upheaval. They provide glimpses into the inhuman abyss of time and are windows onto past epochs. And stones and minerals underpin every part of every civilisation, explaining and revealing, showing that the pinnacles of wealth, luxury and artistic achievement are often allied to misery, despoliation and violence.

Lapidarium: The Secret Lives of Stones | NHBS Good Reads Lapidarium: The Secret Lives of Stones | NHBS Good Reads

Amongst these essays exploring how human culture has formed stone and, conversely, the roles stone has played in forming human culture, one will read of the Meat-Shaped Stone of Taiwan, a piece of banded jasper that resembles a tender piece of mouth-watering braised pork belly, There is the soap opera melodrama of Pele’s Hair, golden strands of volcanic glass, spun into hair-fine threads by volcanic gasses and blown across the landscape. And not to mention the hysterical metaphysical WTFery of angel-appointed wife swaps in the chapter of alchemist and astrologer John Dee’s smoky quartz cairngorm, as well as, the mystical modern-day TikTik moldavite craze vibing amongst those of the witchy-psychic persuasion. I cannot even tell you how many times I paused in my reading to open a new Google tab and research, thinking, “holy fake crystal skulls/malachite caskets/pyroclastic flow rap lyrics! I gotta learn more about this!”A storybook, and a delightful one [...] The essays are shaped with great skill and Judah finds curious and pleasing symmetry and coincidences in the varied stories she tells [...] a portrait of our whole world created from the contents of the ground" Elektron is a Greek name for amber (it migrated into Latin as electron). In the third century b.c.e., the natural philosopher Theophrastus observed amber's static electricity, a "power of attraction" which he likens to a magnet. He also describes the curious substance lyngourion, which shared amber's powers-indeed it was simply the stone by another name-"some say that it not only attracts straws and bits of wood, but also copper and iron, if the pieces are thin." Lyngourion was supposedly formed from lynx urine: "better when it comes from wild animals rather than tame ones and from males rather than females." Theophrastus's On Stones remained a source for lapidaries until the Renaissance, and the formation of lyngourion a popular fixture for illustration. For too long, artists have been told that they can't have both motherhood and a successful career. In this polemical volume, critic and campaigner Hettie Judah argues that a paradigm shift is needed within the art world to take account of the needs of artist mothers (and other parents: artist fathers, parents who don't identify with the term 'mother', and parents in other sectors of the art world).

Lapidarium, The Secret Lives of Stones by Hettie Judah Lapidarium, The Secret Lives of Stones by Hettie Judah

Funder reveals how O’Shaughnessy Blair self-effacingly supported Orwell intellectually, emotionally, medically and financially ... why didn’t Orwell do the same for his wife in her equally serious time of need?’ Following the defeat of the Nazis in 1945, the idea took hold that Austria had been the first casualty of Hitler’s aggression when in 1938 it was incorporated into the Third Reich.’This will allow me to finally focus on my passion project On Art and Motherhood - a book for which I have long struggled to find publishing support. A collection of extravagant stories about artists, miners, princes, chancers, criminals – and above all collectors [...] a real cabinet of curiosities" A gem of a collection [...] a highly accessible guide delivered in a light, informative tone. Quietly authoritative, the author sustains our attention through the pithiness of her essays and the verve of her storytelling"

Lapidarium: The Secret Lives of Stones by Hettie Judah Lapidarium: The Secret Lives of Stones by Hettie Judah

For centuries Europe looked to Constantinople for colored textiles. The great domed Byzantine city was the source of silks that floated on the air and caught the eye like exotic plumage; its workshops produced shimmering embroidery, and its merchants supplied the dyestuffs and mordants that allowed woolen textiles to be processed in glorious colors. Europe produced woad for blue, madder for pink, and other vegetable dyes, but none of these matched the intensity achieved with imported indigo, kermes, and saffron. In return for silks, dyes and spices were traded timber, honey, salt, wax, furs, and, until the ninth century, enslaved members of other European tribes. Stone by stone, story by fascinating story, Lapidarium builds into a dazzling, epoch-spanning adventure through human culture, and beyond. Have you ever gazed into a stone and wondered as to the stories it stores? The powers it possesses? In her fascinating book, Lapidarium: The Secret Lives of Stones, Hettie Judah explores the hidden history of these lithic marvels, from their role in ancient cultures to their modern-day influences and uses.

The children’s version of Lapidarium: The Secret Lives of Stones will be published by Laurence King in 2025 with illustrations by the amazing Jennifer N.R. Smith An absolute feast for the senses, the book itself feels very much like a collector’s treasure hoarded wunderkammer of mythic and mysterious curiosities. It is split into six sections (Stones and Power, Sacred Stones, Stones and Stories, Stone Technology, Shapes in Stone, and Living Stones), and each section reveals a chapter devoted to unearthing an individual stone with imaginative, artful descriptions and a pretty wild, or wildly fascinating story connected to each stone. Fascinating for Latin learners and for Tolkien fans of all ages, The Hobbit has been translated into Latin for the first time since its publication 75 years ago.

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