On reading: 4

Browsers at The Glass Key bookshop in the Cité de l’Ecrit in Montmorillon, France often make a special effort to look at their best before spending time looking over the stock. This lady was captured browsing in 1912 by Félix Vallotton and the painting (now in private hands) is captioned Reader with a yellow necklace. I think the book she is reading remains in my stock.

Vallotton

On reading: 3

The Glass Key in the Cité de l’Ecrit in Montmorillon imposes no strict dress code on those who wish to come in and browse the wide selection of books available. Here a book-browser was immortalised quietly and unselfconsciously reading in The Glass Key by Albert Marquet who passed through Montmorillon in 1910. The original painting, Nu féminin debout lisant,  remains in a private collection.  I regret that all the pictures depicted in the background have been sold.

Marquet

On reading: 1

Here is Eleanor of Aquitaine’s effigy at Fontevraud Abbey, where she is entombed, lying in her favourite perusing position. On her visits to The Glass Key bookshop in the Cité de l’Ecrit in Montmorillon Eleanor would have the owner provide a meridienne for her to use whilst browsing the stock. The shop continues to try and make its customers comfortable.

Eleanor

Died on this day – 29 June 1315

Llull

It was on the 29 June 1315 that the Catalan mathematician, polymath, philosopher, logician, Franciscan teriary and writer from the Kingdom of Majorca was stoned to death in the Place du Vieux Marché in the heart of the Cité de l’Ecrit in Montmorillon. The reasons for the stoning remain a mystery.  Dan Brown has some interesting theories about this, and the Rosicrucian origins of The Glass Key (home of good books) seem to have been involved also.

Llull was a prolific writer with a total of more than 250 works to his name written in Catalan, Latin and Arabic. Ars Magnais his most profound and celebrated work, but he is also known as the author of the romantic novel Blanquerna (1283) which is widely considered the first major work of literature written in Catalan, and possibly the first European novel.

Some computer scientists have adopted Llull as a sort of founding father, claiming that his system of logic was the beginning of information science.