Images from “Gipsy Life” by George Coalville

From a book published in 1880 about the Roma and some thoughts on how to “improve” their condition in Britain.  He traces their history in Britain from their first recorded arrival in Scotland in 1514 and is an interesting and somewhat sympathetic read.  Here are some images and a couple snatches of the writing.

bendertentSeveral types and qualities of bender tents are illustrated and show a realistic view of camp life.

smallwaggonmakeshift

“For the dance no music can be better than that of a Gipsy band; there is life and animation in it which carries you away.  If you have danced to it yourself, especially in a czardas, then to hear the stirring tones without involuntarily springing up is, I assert, an absolute impossibility.”  Poor, deluded mortals, I am afraid they will find—

“Nothing but leaves!
Sad memory weaves
No veil to hide the past;
And as we trace our weary way,
Counting each lost and misspent day,
Sadly we find at last,
Nothing but leaves!”

familytentI was for the first ten minutes fully occupied in trying to keep a respectable distance from a number of dogs of all sizes and breeds, which had the usual appetite for fresh meat and tweed trowsering, and, at the same time, endeavouring in vain to find solid ground upon which to stand, for the place at the entrance and all round the tents was one regular mass of deep “slush.”  It soon became known that my p. 228pockets were plentifully supplied with half-ounces of tobacco and sweets.  These I soon disposed off, especially the latter, for there seemed no end to the little bare-footed children that could walk, and those that couldn’t were brought in turn by their sisters or brothers.  I was invited to visit all the tents, but I could gain but little information beyond an account of the severe winter, bad state of trade, your visit in one of the black, dense fogs, &c.

vardowccampfireandpipefancyvardoTo be quite honest, I’m mostly into this one for the images but for those interested, the book can be found online HERE.

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About George Crawford

archaeologist, archer, primitive technologist, and wannabee musician ... mostly
This entry was posted in gypsy, roma and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Images from “Gipsy Life” by George Coalville

  1. Rita Vail says:

    Thank you for this. That link took me to the free book on-line. It is great. I am always thirsty for how it was before we all got civilized. Minimalism. How little people got by on. This is my favorite kind of art, loaded with practical informationabout real life.

    I really enjoy your blog. Rita

  2. anglo says:

    Being a person with some ” Native American ” as part of my family history , you’ll understand if I root for the Gypsy. Having said that , here , a wiki : https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Latcho_Drom.
    Since it’s been youtube’d , this : https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-B4aom3IaBQ , in ten parts

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