While looking on the internet for reference photos of mice, I came across a link entitled “Why
People Once Thought Mice Grew Out of Wheat.” Of course, I had to click on that. The article stated that:
IN THE 17TH century, physician and chemist Jean Baptiste van Helmont, apparently sick of there not being enough mice in this world, devised a home recipe for their manufacture. It was quite simple, really, far simpler than getting a girl mouse and boy mouse together with a tiny bottle of wine: “If a soiled shirt is placed in the opening of a vessel containing grains of wheat,” he wrote, “the reaction of the leaven in the shirt with fumes from the wheat will, after approximately 21 days, transform the wheat into mice.”
The article, Fantastically Wrong: Why People Once Thought Mice Grew Out of Wheat and Sweaty Shirts, goes on to talk about other mis-conceptions (pun intended). I decided to paint the watercolour to the right, inspired by this article.