Sunday, June 26, 2016

1400s Madonna & the timeless Wattle Fence eventually popping up in Early America


Martin Schongauer (German artist, c 1450-1491). The Madonna and Child on a Turf Bench

This is one of my favorite depictions of Mary in a Hortus Conclusus, an enclosed garden used in religious allegory, both because it is early & because it has an amazing depiction of a Medieval wattle fence. A wattle fence is a sort of basket-work made by weaving thin branches, often of willow, between upright stakes to form a woven lattice surround.

Thomas Hill described garden walls & fences in his The Gardener's Labyrinth which was the 1st popular gardening book published in the English language, appearing around 1577.  Hill reviewed the "forms of the Inclosures," which he declared the ancients invented: "First, the skilful & wary Husbandmen in time past, being those of good abilty, built them walls about of Free-stone artly laid, & mortered together, & some did with baked bricke like handled. Others of lesser ability, & of meaner sort, formed them inclosures, with stones handsomely laid one upon another with morter orclay; & some of them couched the broad salt sontesk, with other bigge & large stones (in like order about). . . but very many of the baser & poorer sort, made them fences & wals about, with mudde of the ditch, dung, chaffe, & straws cut short, & wel mixed together. Others there were, which with bigge Canes set upright, by smal poles bound together, so fenced their garden plot, in handsome manner round about. Some also with young Willow trees, set by certaine distances, & the drie black thorne (purchased from the wood) being bound in (between the spaces) so framed their inclosure. . ."

Another similar willow wattle fence:


Rose [folio 020v] MS. Douce 195 (Le roman de la rose) Robinet Testard 1490

The wattle fence seems to have made an early appearance in 17C Virginia. Archaeological investigation of Wolstenholmetown, one of the Martin's Hundred sites in James City County, revealed a curving line of small post holes defining what was probably a domestic yard protected by a wattle fence.

At the Clifts Plantation site in Westmoreland County, Virginia, wattle fences appear to have been constructed in conjunction with ditches about 1705. Archaeological findings suggest that such an arrangement enclosed the rectangular gardens, kitchen yard, & possible orchard adjacent to the main house. 

At the very end of the 18C, just such a combination fence was specified by George Washington in a letter to his farm manager: "When the Angle of Wood, adjoining the present Cornfield at Mansion house is cleared let all the Poles which are of a proper size for a wattled fence, either in whole, or by being split in two, be preserved; as my intention is, when I come home, to have a neat fence of that kind, on a ditch from the White gates along the road to the turn of it, as Allisons stakes will run to the present-fence."

As late as 1850, The American Agriculturist reported that the wattle fence was a common Virginia type & supplied instructions for assembling a "cedar-brush fence:...1st, throw up a ridge of earth about a foot above the level, & in this drive stakes on a line 2 to 3 feet apart, 3 & a half to four feet high, & then wattle in the cedar limbs, beating them down with a maul as compactly as possible." 

That wattle fence construction required less labor than other types is suggested by the comments of Landon Carter of Richmond County: "I fancy I must put a Watle fence round my new corn fields for I see what with idleness & sickness I can't get rails ready nor all in place."

Philip Vickers Fithian viewed the wattle fence with greater equanimity & wrote an account of fence building at Nomini Hall, Westmoreland County, in 1774: "I walked to see the Negroes make a fence; they drive into the Ground Chestnut stakes about two feet apart in a straight Row, & then twist in the Boughs of Savin which grows in great plenty here..."

On March 1, 2007, Adrian Higgins wrote in the Washington Post of recreating a wattle fence in the United States.
"The wattle fence, made from woven panels of willow sticks, was known to Colonial Americans but was soon replaced by sturdier forms of barrier...Garden historian Wesley Greene uses wattle fencing & edging at Williamsburg's re-created vegetable garden as pedestrian barriers, as insulation enclosures for growing frames & for general decoration. Some arrive premade from England, where wattling is alive & well, but he makes the other fences from sticks obtained by pollarding sycamore & chaste trees.

"People absolutely love it," he said. "I think they would love to do it. The problem is coming up with the sticks."

"The 7-foot sticks, known as withies, are commonly available at garden centers in Britain, but finding them here is nearly impossible. The answer may be to grow your own from cuttings. The willows are cut to the ground each February, & after 2 or 3 seasons, the resulting annual suckers are thick & long enough to use. For the fence stakes, you can take suckers that have been allowed to grow for 2 years, but using rot-resistant posts of cedar or locust will significantly lengthen the fence's life span. Even then, wattle fencing is good for only 3 or 4 years in our hot, humid climate. Because the withies are woven horizontally, a fence can be as low or as high as your posts will allow.

"The withies are harvested in late winter as a byproduct of coppicing & when the sticks are leafless. At this time, you can take some of the cuttings to expand your coppice planting. "It's a renewable resource," said Deirdre Larkin, a historical horticulturist in New York. "You can have a little willow coppice of your own, & from there you can make your own fencing & edging." She recommends Salix viminalis, the common osier, or Salix triandra, the almond-leafed willow."


Summer Women - American Lilla Cabot Perry 1848-1933



Lilla Cabot Perry (American painter, 1848-1933) Pink Rose 1910

Although Lilla Cabot came from a privileged Boston family, she did not receive any formal art training, until she was 36. In 1874, she married Thomas Sargeant Perry, a professor of 18th-century English literature, & they had 3 daughters. The young family traveled to Paris from 1887 to 1889, where Lilla studied painting at the Académie Colarossi & the Académie Julian. While in Europe, she also trained in Munich & copied old-master paintings in Italy, England, & Spain.


Lilla Cabot Perry (American artist, 1848-1933) Edith Perry at the Window

When she was 41 years old, Perry saw her first impressionist painting in a Paris gallery. Perry sought out the artist, Monet, & became his close friend. For 9 summers the Perrys rented a house at Giverny, near Monet's; and he often advised Perry on her art.


Lilla Cabot Perry (American artist, 1848-1933) Woman with Cat

Between 1898 & 1901, the family resided in Japan, where Thomas Perry taught & Lilla studied some of the sources of impressionism - Japanese fabrics & prints. There she produced some 80 paintings; before returning home to paint in Boston during the academic year & on a New Hampshire farm during the summers. Perry exhibited her work at the Paris Salon & the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago. She won medals for her paintings at important exhibitions in Boston, St. Louis, & San Francisco.

 Lilla Cabot Perry (American artist, 1848-1933) Child With Red Hair Reading


 Lilla Cabot Perry (American artist, 1848-1933) Children Dancing


 Lilla Cabot Perry (American artist, 1848-1933) In A Japanese Garden


 Lilla Cabot Perry (American artist, 1848-1933) La Petite Angele


 Lilla Cabot Perry (American artist, 1848-1933) Lady At The Tea Table\


 Lilla Cabot Perry (American artist, 1848-1933) Nursing The Baby


 Lilla Cabot Perry (American artist, 1848-1933) Profile Of A Woman Facing Left


 Lilla Cabot Perry (American artist, 1848-1933) The Cup Of Knowledge


Lilla Cabot Perry (American artist, 1848-1933) Title Unknown


Lilla Cabot Perry (American artist, 1848-1933) In a Kimono 1898



Lilla Cabot Perry (American painter, 1848-1933) Poppy Screen 1915



Lilla Cabot Perry (American artist, 1848-1933) Cherry Blossoms



Lilla Cabot Perry (American artist, 1848-1933) Woman with a Silver Vase



Lilla Cabot Perry (American artist, 1848-1933) Portrait of Edith Grew the Artist's Granddaughter



Lilla Cabot Perry (American artist, 1848-1933) By the Brook, Giverny France 1909



Lilla Cabot Perry (American artist, 1848-1933) Lady with Violets 1910



Lilla Cabot Perry (American artist, 1848-1933)



Lilla Cabot Perry (American artist, 1848-1933) Portrait of Anita Grew as a Young Girl



Lilla Cabot Perry (American artist, 1848-1933) Portrait of Alice Perry



Lilla Cabot Perry (American artist, 1848-1933) Lady Rowing a Boat 1907



Lilla Cabot Perry (American artist, 1848-1933) Alice in a White Hat



Lilla Cabot Perry (American artist, 1848-1933) Edith Grew the Artist's Grandaughter



Lilla Cabot Perry (American artist, 1848-1933) Scent of Roses



Lilla Cabot Perry (American artist, 1848-1933) Self Portrait 1889-96

Morning Madonna


Pere Serra (Gothic-Italian style painter, active in Catalonia in 1357-1406) Madonna with Angels Playing Music ca 1390

In this blog, I try to begin each day with a painting of the Madonna & Child. It centers me; connects me to the past; & encourages me to post some of the religious paintings which were a large part of the core of early Western art.  In the 4C, as the Christian population was rapidly growing & was now supported by the state, Christian art evolved & became grander to suit new, enlarged public spaces & the changing contemporary tastes of elite private clients.



Saturday, June 25, 2016

1300s Gardens - Piero de' Crescenzi (1233-1321) - 1400s Illuminations


Piero de' Crescenzi (1233-1321) Liber ruralium commodorum 1304-09. Illuminator - Master of Fitzwilliam MS. 268 - 1470-1485 - French. Le livre des prouffis champestres et ruraux, Book 6 On herb gardens (folio 157)   These workers are maintaining raised beds. De Crescenzi noted that these hot beds were constructed by putting fresh dung in a pit & either putting soil over it & planting in the soil, covering over the plants with a shelter in inclement weather.

Piero de’Crescenzi’s 12 book treatise, the "Liber Ruralium Commodorum" (On the Rural Arts) is the most important work on agriculture & gardens written during the middle ages. Piero de Crescenzi wrote "Liber Ruralium Commodorum" in 1305.

Book 1 - the best location & arrangement of a manor, villa, or farm
Book 2 - the botanical background needed to raise different crops
Book 3 - building a granary & cultivation of cereal, forage & food 
Book 4 - on vines & wine-making
Books 5 & 6 - arborculture &horticulture, including 185 plants useful for medicine & nourishment
Book 7 - meadows and woods
Book 8 - on gardens
Book 9 - animal husbandry & bee-keeping
Book 10 - hawking & hunting
Book 11 - a general summary of the book
Book 12 - a calendar of duties and tasks, month by month. 

Italian attorney & land-owner Crescenzi relied heavily on Roman agricultural principles, although he supplemented these traditions with contemporary medieval ideas natural sciences & medicine. Crescenzi took much of his information from Roman authors, such as Cato, Columella, Varo, & Palladius. 

Crescenzi’s treatise surveys building, managing, & maintaining an agricultural estate & even devotes an entire book of his treatise to pleasure gardens, before the development of villa gardens in the Renaissance. 

By the late 15C, his work was widely available in manuscript & print editions & was owned by many in the lavish villas around Rome, Florence, & Venice. 

Manuscript copies of Ruralia Commoda were popular (over 100 copies are known), making it an excellent candidate for the new technology of printing. The editio princeps appeared in 1471- in Latin, un-illustrated, it was printed by Johann Schüssler of Augsburg. Another 36 incunable editions exist, most printed in Germany. 

The treatise remained one of the most popular works of its kind until the 17C, when the Aristotelian precepts on which it was based were nearly smothered by the empirical methods of more recent developments in science.


Piero de' Crescenzi (1233-1321) Liber ruralium commodorum 1304-09. Illuminator - Master of Fitzwilliam MS. 268 - 1470-1485 - French.  Le livre des prouffis champestres et ruraux, Book 5 On trees (folio 112v)



Piero de' Crescenzi (1233-1321) Liber ruralium commodorum 1304-09. Illuminator - Master of Fitzwilliam MS. 268 - 1470-1485 - French. Le livre des prouffis champestres et ruraux, Book 5 On trees (folio 112v) b   Crescenzi advised: "Trees are to be planted in their rows, pears, apples,  & palms, & in warm places, lemons. Again mulberries, cherries, plums, & such noble trees as figs, nuts, almonds, quinces, & such-like, each according to their kinds, but spaced twenty feet apart more or less."


Piero de' Crescenzi (1233-1321) Liber ruralium commodorum 1304-09. Illuminator - Master of Fitzwilliam MS. 268 - 1470-1485 - French. Le livre des prouffis champestres et ruraux, Book 7 On meadows and groves (folio 201v) For decorative features using trees, Crescenzi suggests willow & popular trees, densely planted with other plants & vines, "cut out into the shape of towers & crenellations." 



Piero de' Crescenzi (1233-1321) Liber ruralium commodorum 1304-09. Illuminator - Master of Fitzwilliam MS. 268 - 1470-1485 - French. Le livre des prouffis champestres et ruraux, Book 8 On pleasure gardens (folio 205v)



Piero de' Crescenzi (1233-1321) Liber ruralium commodorum 1304-09. Illuminator - Master of Fitzwilliam MS. 268 - 1470-1485 - French. Le livre des prouffis champestres et ruraux, Book 10 On hunting (folio 265r)



Piero de' Crescenzi (1233-1321) Liber ruralium commodorum 1304-09. Illuminator - Master of Fitzwilliam MS. 268 - 1470-1485 - French. Le livre des prouffis champestres et ruraux, Book 11 On regulating a rural operation.  Piero de' Crescenzi gave advice on breeding pheasants, which he believed were more noble & more beautiful than any other bird in the garden or farm.  He also wrote that garden parks often were stocked with wild beasts. 

He advised, "Of the gardens of royal personages & powerful & wealthy lords. And inasmuch as wealthy persons can by their riches & power obtain such things as please them & need only science & art to create all they desire. For them, therefore, let a great meadow be chosen, arranged, & ordered, as here shall be directed. Let it be a place where the pleasant winds blow &  where there are fountains of waters; it should be twenty 'Journaux' or more in size according to the will of the Lord & it should be enclosed with lofty walls. Let there be in some part a wood of divers trees where the wild beasts may find a refuge. In another part let there be a costly pavilion where the king & his queen or the lord & lady may dwell, when they wish to escape from wearisome occupations & where they may solace themselves."

"Let there be shade & let the windows of the pavilion look out upon the garden but not exposed to the burning rays of the sun. Let fish-pools be made & divers fishes placed therein. Let there also be hares, rabbits, deer & such-like wild animals that are not beasts of prey. And in the trees near the pavilion  let great cages be made & therein place partridges, nightingales, blackbirds, linnets, & all manner of singing birds. Let all be arranged so that the beasts & the birds may easily be seen from the pavilion. Let there also be made a pavilion with rooms & towers wholly made of trees...”

14C Italian manuscript Treatise on Rural Economy by Pietro de' Crescenzi (c 1233-1320)



14C Italian manuscript Treatise on Rural Economy by Pietro de' Crescenzi (c 1233-1320)

Piero de' Crescenzi (1233-1321) Liber ruralium commodorum 1304-09  Title page of a vernacular translation of the De agricultura of Piero Crescentio, printed by Capcasa in Venice in 1495


Summer - American Charles Courtney Curran 1861-1942


Charles Courtney Curran (1861-1942) Charles Courtney Curran was an American Impressionist, celebrated for his iconic paintings of women.


Morning Madonna

.
Giovanni Bellini (c.1430-1516). Madonna and Child

In this blog, I try to begin each day with a painting of the Madonna & Child. It centers me; connects me to the past; & encourages me to post some of the religious paintings which were a large part of the core of early Western art.  In the 4C, as the Christian population was rapidly growing & was now supported by the state, Christian art evolved & became grander to suit new, enlarged public spaces & the changing contemporary tastes of elite private clients.


Friday, June 24, 2016

15C Picnic


15C The Repas Champetre Tapestry which could translate to meal in the fields. Originally woven at Tournai at the end of the 15C, this tapestry depicts richly-dressed countryfolk holding a banquet not in a formal garden, but in a rustic landscape. Shepherds & their charges surround the diners. Music comes from a bagpiper in the distance and a shepherd boy in the foreground. 



Sunny Summer Women


Elizabeth Sonrel (French painter, 1874-1953 ) Rêverie 1920



Lucy Martha Taggart (American artist, 1880-1960) Eleanor 1921


Frank Dicksee (English Pre-Raphaelite painter, 1853-1928) Elsa



Arvid Nyholm (Swedish American artist, 1866–1927) Miss N. 1917



Lilla Cabot Perry (American painter, 1848-1933) The Yellow Screen



Valentin Serov (Russian-born painter, 1865-1911) Portrait of Henrietta Girshman c 1906



August Vincent Tack (American artist, 1870–1949) The Lady in Yellow 1863



Frank Cadogan Cowper (English painter, 1877–1958) Eve 1919


Jean Édouard Vuillard (French painter, 1868-1940)  In Bed 1891