Tag Archives: calligraphy

Chemical Calligraphy

Chemical notation from ciphers to calligraphy

What should you do when your King, gold crown and all, gets devoured by a wolf?

According to the 15th Century monk Basil Valentine, the right course of action is to light a bonfire and throw the wolf on the top. Once the wolf has been burned to a crisp, says Valentine, then the King will be brought back to life good as new.

This ludicrous story sounds as though it’s been plucked out of a fairy tale, but is in reality a nearly 600-year-old chemical equation.

The example, vividly brought to life in the engraving below, was used to illustrate the first of The Twelve Keys, a text now thought to have been written by several authors who used the name Basil Valentine as a pseudonym. Let’s face it, it’s a pretty unlikely name for anyone who isn’t an LA detective in a procedural cop show from the 80s.

The First Key of Basil Valentine

The First Key of Basil Valentine

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