Leonard of Quirm
From Discworld & Terry Pratchett Wiki
|Leonard of Quirm|
|Name||Leonard of Quirm (da Quirm)|
|Physical appearance||balding, with a fringe of white hair|
|Residence||"imprisoned" in the Patrician's Palace|
|Books|| Wyrd Sisters|
Men at Arms
The Fifth Elephant
The Last Hero
|Cameos|| Soul Music|
A great engineer, inventor, tinkerer and painter, living in Ankh-Morpork. Also known as "Leonardo" or "da Quirm". Though his hair is all white and he is balding, his age is - as yet - indeterminable to any degree.
Leonard is first mentioned by Vitoller as living in the Street of Cunning Artificers. Vitoller knows Leonard of Quirm (as he calls him) as being mainly a painter who creates planes that can't fly. This is during the events of Wyrd Sisters.
Leonard currently resides as a prisoner in the Patrician's Palace where he can work in peace except for when the Patrician needs him. "Prisoner" may be too strong a word, as Leonard is perfectly happy where he is, as long as he gets his drawing supplies and his washing done (by the redoubtable Miss Triplet). In fact, the very cunning and subtle traps that lead to his prison were designed by him, and at the conclusion of Jingo, he returned of his own accord. The reason why he is locked up is that the Patrician finds Leonard's naiveté dangerous, and yet due to his unique nature, the Patrician is reluctant to kill him outright. It is also due to his lack of political knowledge that Vetinari finds in Leonard a useful confidante when he needs to speak his thoughts freely without receiving any input, and keeps Leonard around in case he will ever need his services.
In addition to designing powerful weapons while believing that nobody would be so bad as to use them, Leonard also tends to scribble designs of these weapons on books that he is reading, inadvertently revealing to these bad people that such a thing has been designed and may, in fact, have already been manufactured (see Men at Arms). An Alchemist once commented that Leonard was a dabbler and ought to call himself "Mr. Doodle". Usually, the Alchemists are the worst dabblers in non-magic matters (magical matters being the domain of the wizards); it is significant that Leonard is considered by the Alchemists as a dabbler. The alchemists have dismissed a very heavy metal, which has to be painstakingly garnered in very small amounts from tons and tons of ore, as more trouble than it's worth: they have dubbed it Uselessium, whose chemical shorthand is surely a simple "U", and sidelined it as a minor curiosity. Leonard has studied it further and estimates that this could be the basis of a very effective explosive, which could revolutionise the mining and civil engineering industries if ever whole mountains need to be reduced to rubble for ease of removal or ease of examination. Harnessed to peaceful ends, this could in fact herald new, clear, days for the human race...
Leonard likes inventing weapons of war but refuses to believe that anyone really would use his dangerous inventions. In fact, Leonard's brain is particularly receptive to particles of raw inspiration, ideas that sleet through the universe and strike inventors' or artists' minds in the dead of the night. As such, Leonard has engineered the gonne and siege engines alongside flying machines, submarines, message encryption/decryption devices, pub game devices, and engines for making very fast coffee. Oddly enough, his creativity seems to stop when needed to give appealing names to his inventions: for example, for his machine capable of travelling submersed in a marine environment he came up with the name of "Going-Under-The-Water-Safely Device".
Leonardo also sketched the motorcycle, in the margin of a book about theoretical weapons of war designed to make people shudder with fear and refrain from building them. This is in the library at Unseen University and inspired the Librarian to build such a device, as best he could from the materials available to him. Death put this to good use in Soul Music.
The most famous painting by Leonard is the Mona Ogg. This shows an attractive young woman with a wide smile, showing her teeth. Some say that the teeth from this painting would follow the viewer around the room and all the way to the street outside. Another description of Leonard's paintings, although unclear whether it's about Mona Ogg or another piece, is that it would follow the viewer home and do the washing-up. The woman in Leonard's Woman Holding Ferret is considered the epitome of beauty. Presumably in the past, Leonard may have had a relation of some sort with Nanny Ogg, though the nature of this is unknown.
Leonard was also responsible for painting a picture of the entire Disc, complete with elephants and turtle, on the ceiling of the Temple of Small Gods in Ankh-Morpork. This project was commissioned by Fate as a penance for Leonard's hubris in building the Kite and was meant to be impossible to complete in the ten years allotted so that the Gods would be justified in destroying the city afterwards. Leonard was finished in three weeks.
He is the (pretty obvious) parodistic Discworldian counterpart of Roundworld's Leonardo da Vinci, with a heap of Sir George Cayley (the Roundworld "father" of aeronautics) thrown in. Possibly, da Quirm is a parody of Nikola Tesla, fore-runner inventor of the alternating-current, energy-saving light bulbs, radio, radar to hand-held oscillators that generated earthquakes (and, by some, the invention of nuclear weapons). Tesla was affectionate of pigeons and had a penchant for being lousy at giving names to his inventions ie 1901 patent 'Apparatus for the Utilization of Radiant Energy' - Solar Power.