From the Middle Ages, it was believed that English and French monarchs had the power to heal through touch. Henry VII (1547-1509) gave the ‘royal touch’ to this touchpiece and passed it on to his subjects in the hope of curing scrofula, a form of tuberculosis also known as the King’s Evil. The touchpieces were pierced so that they could be suspended by a ribbon and worn around the neck. Some monarchs actually placed their hands on people with scrofula. This tradition of ‘royal touch’ began with Edward the Confessor (1003–66) and continued until the end of Queen Anne’s reign in 1714, with Charles II touching over 90,000 people before his death in 1685. The power to heal was believed to pass from monarch to monarch and, like the monarch’s power to rule, was deemed to be God-given.
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A glove to find your way in 19th-century London
This amazing artifact came by in my Twitter feed today and it is too special not to share. It is a glove that was purchased in 1851 as a tourist souvenir at London’s Great Exhibition, which was attended by a variety of famous individuals, from Charles Darwin to Charlotte Brontë. The leather glove is special because it contains a map that shows the routes to Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, which was the main staging area for the exhibition. It appears to be made for a child, perhaps in case he lost his parents in the crowds. The glove is one of a variety of maps that was produced for the many visitors to the city. Another is this wonderful folding specimen printed on silk, which shows a great amount of detail (check out the enlargements). London in the palm of your hand: a functional memento from the time that the tourist industry was beginning to boom.
Pic: Kew, The National Archives, EXT 11/159 (c. 1851). This the source of the image; here and here is more information on the glove (the latter webpage, from the archive that keeps the artifact, suggests it was a kid’s glove). The glove features on various blogs, such as this one; I saw it in this tweet today.
Before the break up comes the silence…
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