Saturday, 16 February 2008

Boole / Voynich Manuscript painting...

Here's a nice Voynich-themed oddity from the much-frayed edge between C.P.Snow's "Two Cultures" of art and science.

A contemporary painter called Shardcore explores the history of science by painting famous scientists and historical scientific objects: and was so entertained by the notion that Ethel Lilian Boole - the daughter of the famous logician George Boole - came to own the Voynich Manuscript (she married Wilfrid Voynich, of course) that he decided to paint a picture celebrating it: and you can see the result here, together with a time-lapse recording of the painter as he painted it.

In Voynichological circles, this connection is old news: the website of my old Voynichian chum Jeff Haley is called The George Boole Fanclub, for precisely this reason. Incidentally, I have spent five years trying not to think of Julian Clary's former life as The Joan Collins' Fan Club (terrible, but surely better than "Gillian Pie-Face"?) whenever I see this, but as yet without success. Perhaps in another five years, when Julian Clary has become as horribly mainstream as Jim Davidson (sorry, but that's how showbiz works)...

The quotation which adorns the picture is from George Boole: "Language is an instrument of human reason, and not merely a medium for the expression of thought". Which is nice. But it this true of Voynichese?

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