Sunday, August 31, 2014

At the Farmers' Market - Historic American Seeds and Plant Catalogs from Smithsonian Institution Libraries

It's fair time! An 1827 New England fair & the place of women, then & now...

Here in the Chesapeake, it is state fair time, an old tradition. Ironically, in 2014, the place of the woman in society is in question, as it was back in 1827. History is not always a forward progression.

John Archibald Woodside, Sr (American painter, 1781-1852) A Pennsylvania Country Fair 1824. This painting is of a similar fair in Pennsylvania which also shows no women in attendance.

"On the 17th of October, I the village of Brighton, within a mile or two of Boston, where the great annual cattle show of the State of Massachusetts is held. This Fair, as it may be called, was established some years ago by the people of Boston, while the farmers of the State, from far and near, sent their cattle, fruit, home manufactures, newly invented agricultural implements, and any thing else they wished to show off, to this grand exhibition.

"In process of a very short time, however, the country folks became jealous of Brighton; and each county or town got up its own little independent cattle show,—like colonies deserting the parent firm, and setting up shop for themselves! But there was still enough left of the original Show to interest a stranger. Besides a ploughing match with 20 teams of oxen, there were various trials of strength, hy cattle drawing loaded carts up a steep hill.


"The numerous pens where the bullocks and sheep were enclosed, afforded also a high treat, from the variety of the breeds, and the high condition, of the animals exposed. And lastly, we were shown the rooms in which the specimens of domestic manufactures were displayed: most of these goods, which appeared excellent in quality, gave indication of native industry, well worthy of encouragement.

"In spite of all these objects of interest, I felt ill at ease, and though the expression be a strong one, it is not too strong, when I say that I was struck to the heart, with what seemed to me the cruel spectacle of such a numerous assemblage of people, on such a fine sunny day, in as pretty a little valley as ever was seen, close to a romantic village, and within four miles of a great and populous city like Boston, and yet amidst all this crowd there were no women!

"Literally and truly, amongst several thousand persons, I counted, during the whole day, only nine females ! I wandered round and round the grassy knolls, in search of some signs of life and merriment,—some of those joyous bursts of mirth which I had been wont to hear in other lands on similar occasions.

"But my eye could discover nothing to rest upon but groups of idle men, smoking segars, and gaping about, with their hands in their pockets, or looking listlessly at the penned up cattle, or following one another in quiet, orderly crowds, up the hill, after the loaded carts I spoke of, glad, apparently, of the smallest excitement to carry them out of themselves.

"But not a woman was to be seen. Neither were there any groups of lads and lasses romping on the grass;—no parties of noisy youths playing at football for the amusement of the village maidens ;—no scampering and screaming of the children amongst the trees ; for, alas ! the little things appeared nearly as solemn and soberly disposed as their elders.

"But in all the numerous booths placed over the ground, parties were hard at work with the whisky or gin bottle. In some, companies of ten or a dozen people might be seen working away at hot joints and meat pies—all very ordinary sights, I grant, at a fair in any country; but the peculiarity which struck me was the absence of talking, or laughing, or any hilarity of look or gesture.

"I never beheld any thing in my whole life, though I have been at many funerals, nearly so ponderous or so melancholy as this gloomy, lumbering, weary sort of merry-making. I felt my spirits crushed down, and as it were humiliated, when, suddenly, the sound of a fiddle struck my ear, literally the very first notes of music I had heard, out of a drawing-room, in the whole country. Of course I ran instantly to the spot, and what was there ?—four men dancing a reel!

"I spoke to several gentlemen on the field about this strange, and to European eyes, most unwonted separation of the sexes. But I got little else than ridicule for my "pains. Some of my friends smiled, some laughed, and one gentleman in reply to my expressions of surprise that females should be excluded from a scene every way innocent and suitable to them, exclaimed, " Ah, sir, this question of yours only adds another example of the impossibility of making any stranger understand our manners."

"This may or may not be true; but a stranger has eyes and can see; and long before this holiday, I had been struck in every part of the country through which I had passed, with this strong line of demarcation between the sexes. At Stockbridge, it is true, a considerable number of women were present at the oration; but they were carefully placed on one side of the church, and during the whole day there was no more intercourse between them and the men, than if they had belonged to different races.

"At this cattle show at Brighton, however, the exclusion was still more complete, for not even one female entered the church, though an agricultural discourse was there delivered, which the most delicate-minded person on earth might have listened to with pleasure and advantage.

"These, and a great number of other circumstances—some minute, some important, but all tending the same way, and varied in every possible shape, and conspicuous in all parts of the country—naturally claimed my attention irresistibly as something very unusual, and well deserving of a stranger's notice. I lost no fair opportunity, therefore, of conversing with intelligent persons on the subject, being naturally anxious to reach some explanation of so remarkable a distinction between America and any other Christian country I was acquainted with.

"The result of all my observations and enquiries is, that the women do not enjoy that station in society which has been allotted to them elsewhere; and consequently much of that important and habitual influence which, from the peculiarity of their nature, they alone can exercise over society in more fortunately arranged communities, seems to be lost.

"In touching upon so delicate a subject, it is right to state at once, and in the most explicit terms, that I never had, for one instant, the least reason to suppose that there was any wish on the part of the men to depress the other sex, or indeed any distinct knowledge of the fact.

"On the contrary, I conscientiously believe that there exists universally among the men a sincere and strong desire, not only to raise women up, but to maintain them on the fairest level with themselves. But I conceive that the political and moral circumstances now in full action in America, are too strong to be counterbalanced even by these laudable endeavours."

Source: Basil Hall. Travels in North America, in the years 1827 and 1828, Volume 2.

Time for the State Fair 1896

Morning Madonna

Andrea del Brescianino or Dei Piccinelli (c 1487-1525) Madonna with Infant, John the Baptist, and Hieronymus

 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 the core of early Western art.

Saturday, August 30, 2014

At the Farmers' Market - Historic American Seeds and Plant Catalogs from Smithsonian Institution Libraries

19C End of the World Prediction in Canada

Sarah Terwilligar’s attempt to fly to heaven as the world is to come to an end, from Upper Canada Sketches by Thomas Conant, 1898.

Thomas Conant, in his 1898 book, Upper Canada Sketches, details how people in East Whitby and Area thought the world was going to end in February of 1843.  Conant wrote:

“The “Millerite scare,” as it might be called, was another instance of the extent to which religious fanatics could influence their hearers and affect their lives. From some manuscript left by my mother, and the account given me by my father, and by my uncle, David Annis, I have gleaned the following anecdotes of this curious event in our country:  

“During the Winter of 1842-3 the Second Adventists, or Millerites, were preaching that the world would be all burnt up in February, 1843. Nightly meetings were held, generally in the school-houses.

“Sarah Terwilligar, who lived about a mile east of Oshawa “corners,” on the Kingston Road, made for herself wings of silk, and, on the night of 14th of February, jumped off the porch of her home, expecting to fly heavenward. Falling to the ground some fifteen feet, she was shaken up severely and rendered wholly unfit to attend at all to the fires that were expected to follow the next day.”

The apocalypse was to have begun at two o'clock in the morning, at which time the fresh February snow would have turned to blood and started to burn. The Millerites were a bit off in their prediction.

And as for Sarah Terwilligar clad in her diaphanous gown, truly a woman with an instinct for attractive adornment under every circumstance, she broke her leg.

Morning Madonna

Giorgio di Tomaso Schiavone (Dalmatian artist, c 1433-1504) Madonna and Child with musical angels c 1459

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 the core of early Western art.

Friday, August 29, 2014

At the Farmers' Market - Historic American Seed and Plant Catalogs from Smithsonian Institution Libraries

Lovers by Russian-born Marc Chagall & His Own Words

Before you get too excited, yes, I know I posted this yesterday.  But since then, I have found over twice as many Chagall Lovers; and so, I am reposting with all of the new sweethearts & their strange companions included.  I hope you enjoy.

Marc Chagall (1887-1985) Lovers in the Moonlight

Marc Chagall (1887-1985), a Russian–French artist, was one of the most successful artists of the 20th century. He created a unique career in nearly every artistic medium, including paintings, book illustrations, stained glass, stage sets, ceramics, tapestries & fine art prints. Chagall's haunting, exuberant, & poetic images enjoy universal appeal.

1914 Marc Chagall (1887-1985) Blue Lovers

Only love interests me, and I am only in contact with things that revolve around love.  Chagall

1914 Marc Chagall (1887-1985) Green Lovers

When I am finishing a picture, I hold some God-made object up to it - a rock, a flower, the branch of a tree or my hand - as a final test. If the painting stands up beside a thing man cannot make, the painting is authentic. If there's a clash between the two, it's bad art. Chagall

1915 Marc Chagall (1887-1985) Birthday

Marc Chagall (1887-1985) Lovers in Pink 1913

1917 Marc Chagall (1887-1985) Grey Lovers

Art is the increasing effort to compete with the beauty of flowers – and never succeeding.  Chagall

1917 Marc Chagall (1887-1985) The Promenade

In the arts, as in life, everything is possible provided it is based on love.  Chagall

Marc Chagall (1887-1985) Double Portrait 1917

In our life there is a single color, as on an artist's palette, which provides the meaning of life and art. It is the color of love. Chagall

1954 Marc Chagall (1887-1985) Le Champ de Mars

Art seems to me to be above all a state of soul. All souls are sacred… Chagall

1958 Marc Chagall (1887-1985) Big Sun

All our interior world is reality, and that, perhaps, more so than our apparent world.  Chagall

Marc Chagall (1887-1985) The Lovers of Venice

If I create from the heart, nearly everything works; if from the head, almost nothing.  Chagall

Marc Chagall (1887-1985) Lovers

One cannot be precise, and still be true.  Chagall

1969 Marc Chagall (1887-1985) Artist and His Love

The habit of ignoring Nature is deeply implanted in our times. This attitude reminds me of people who never look you in the eye; I find them disturbing and always have to look away.  Chagall

Marc Chagall (1887-1985) Couple Flying over Village

Mine alone is the country of my soul.  Chagall

 Marc Chagall (1887-1985 Lovers near Bridge 1948

 Marc Chagall (1887-1985)

 Marc Chagall (1887-1985) Bouquet with Flying Lovers

 Marc Chagall (1887-1985) Lovers in a red sky

 Marc Chagall (1887-1985) Lovers in Blue Sky

 Marc Chagall (1887-1985) Lovers in the Moonlight

 Marc Chagall (1887-1985) Lovers in the sky of Nice, 1964.

 Marc Chagall (1887-1985) Lovers on a Red Background

 Marc Chagall (1887-1985) Lovers with a half moon

 Marc Chagall (1887-1985) Lovers

 Marc Chagall (1887-1985) Newlyweds and Violinist 1956

 Marc Chagall (1887-1985) Romeo and Juliet 1964

 Marc Chagall (1887-1985) The Dream, 1939

 Marc Chagall (1887-1985)

 Marc Chagall (1887-1985) The Betrothed and Eiffel Tower 1913

Marc Chagall (1887-1985)The Wedding Candles 1945

Marc Chagall (1887-1985) Equestrian 1931

Morning Madonna

Anthony van Dyck and workshop (Flemish artist, 1599-1641) Madonna and Child c 1620

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 the core of early Western art.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

At the Farmers' Market - Historic American Seed and Plant Catalogs from Smithsonian Institution Libraries

Garden Jewels by Gustav Klimt 1862-1918

Gustav Klimt (Austrian Symbolist painter, 1862-1918). Farm Garden 1905

Gustav Klimt (Austrian Symbolist painter, 1862-1918). Farm Garden with Crucifix 1912

Gustav Klimt (Austrian Symbolist painter, 1862-1918). Farm Garden with Sunflowers 1907

Gustav Klimt (Austrian Symbolist painter, 1862-1918). Pond at Schloss Kammer on the Attersee 1909

Gustav Klimt (Austrian Symbolist painter, 1862-1918). Poppy Field 1907

Gustav Klimt (Austrian Symbolist painter, 1862-1918). The Sunflower 1907

Gustav Klimt (Austrian Symbolist painter, 1862-1918). Villa on the Attersee 1914

Gustav Klimt (Austrian Symbolist painter, 1862-1918). Apple Tree I 1912

Gustav Klimt (Austrian Symbolist painter, 1862-1918). Flower Field in Litzlberg 1907

Gustav Klimt (Austrian Symbolist painter, 1862-1918). Orchard with Roses 1912

Gustav Klimt (Austrian Symbolist painter, 1862-1918). Italian Garden Landscape 1913