HomeAll postsA Moderne Herballe: a silly illo by Ian Gunn

A Moderne Herballe: a silly illo by Ian Gunn

‘A Moderne Herballe’ is a silly illo by Ian Gunn spoofing medieval and contemporary societies. In the interests of disability access I will endeavour — struggle valiantly — to decipher the text in the jpg image. I’ll use contemporary spellings to make it easier for those of us with reading difficulties.

A Modern Herbal

Being a collection of readily available medicines, remedies, and natural cures common to ye modern world and practical for ye physic at home.

Black Salve (a jar of Vegemite)

Found growing in ye back of ye cupboard. May be smeared upon ye burns, rashes and mange. Also used as a plug for ye mouses holes — ye mouse will not gnaw his way out and if he does he will surely expire shortly thereafter. Useful as a tile grout or filler in cracked plaster-work. Place within ye shoe or boot to wardeth off ye powerful odour of ye smelly socks.

Eau d’Avon (I think the drawings are of various Avon products)

Natural to ye ladies handbag and ye bedroom table of ye young girl. Takes many and myriad forms all of which may be recognised by their powerful smell. A powerful astringent for ye diseases of ye skin. Cures pox and buboes (?!). Keeps ye dogs away. Liberally strewn about upon ye floor, it wardeth off ye fleas, ants and other crawling beasties as well as creating many unusual markings upon ye carpet. An excellent firestarter.

Aromatic Brown Ungent (drawing of a tin of ‘Moggy Mush’ or cat food with a fly circling)

Found in ye bottom of ye cupboard and also upon ye back porch. May be in great service in place of smelling salts and will rouse ye patient from his stupor in no time. Infused as a tea it can be forced down ye patient’s gullet to induce ye vomiting. When allowed to dry it takes on a blackish hue and then may be put to useful effect as bricks or even in hand-to-hand combat.

Black Bubbling Potion (a can marked ‘Caffeine Cola’)

A common liquid that groweth everywhere. Enlivens ye flagging spirit, wakens ye sleeping person and cures ye indigestion by bringing forth ye prodigious belches. Removes paint, cleans teeth and copper coins. Can be used as a contraceptive, but may cause damage to ye private regions. Throw it into the face of ye enemies and they shall be sorely distracted.

Petrified Tubers (a basket of Maccas — MacDonalds — fries bears the logo ‘Polly Glotts’)

Found upon tables and in bins. Useful for ye rubbing out of ye pencil markings. Dried and powered and mixed with glue it makes an excellent repair of cracked glass and shoe-soles. Mould into a variety of shapes and use for a paper-weight or ye cricket ball. Use as a sinker when angling (fishing) thou goeth.

Greasy Rubbery Growth (a Maccas burger with a ‘Polly Glotts’ logo)

A species of fungus that groweth within an impervious shell. Sometimes ye shells groweth empty in ye gutters. May be used as a wad to staunch ye blood of wounds and ye gooey yellow bites do serve great purpose as a salve in ye case of severe burns. Ye red bites are said to ward away ye wrinkles if placed upon ye eyes if ye retire to ye bed.

The backstory to these silly illos

Ian Gunn, creator of these silly illos (illustrations), was a beloved award-winning artist based in Melbourne. Cancer took him from us too soon.

Ian left a legacy including lots of great illustrations. Many of these illustrations are available for sale.

Victoria’s science fiction convention, Continuum, occasionally presents the Ian Gunn Memorial Award recognising the ‘unsung heroes’ of fandom: people consistently working in the background who never expect any recognition of their efforts. This commemorates Ian’s selfless efforts to reach out to others, encouraging others and thereby building the science fiction community.

K’rin Pender-Gunn, Ian’s widow, gave Dark Matter Zine permission to republish Ian’s artwork. Thanks, K’rin!

Nalini is an award-winning writer and artist as well as managing editor of Dark Matter Zine.


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