Colony Exports

There was a time when Britannia accidentally ruled the world through commerce... Other European nations partook of the colonization of vulnerable lands with massive resources as well, tying the world together, for good or ill, and shaping the modern world as we know it. It was common for young men to begin their careers by … Continue reading Colony Exports

Pleasant to Behold

"And, pray, what can be pleasanter to behold? Talk, indeed, of your pantomimes and gaudy shows; your processions and installations and coronations! Give me, for a beautiful sight, a neat and smart woman, heating her oven and setting in her bread! And, if the bustle does make the sign of labour glisten on her brow, … Continue reading Pleasant to Behold

Why Woodcraft?

For brick and mortar breed filth and crime, With a pulse of evil that throbs and beats; And men are withered before their prime By the curse paved in with the lanes and streets. And lungs are poisoned and shoulders bowed, In the smothering reek of mill and mine; And death stalks in on the … Continue reading Why Woodcraft?

Present Mood, Introspective

I have always liked this image.  It speaks to me... From the description of the Walters Art Museum: "In this work, the artist depicts the figure in such a way that most of his face is obscured, creating a sense of mystery. Everything we know about the character of this man is expressed though his … Continue reading Present Mood, Introspective

“The Travelling Tinker” by John Burr

A painting by the Scottish artist John Burr (1831-1893).  Tinkers were originally tinsmiths or "tinners".  One of many itinerant jobs pursued by a class of casual laborers.  These were mostly skilled and specialized crafts like basket making, shoe repair, leather work, and metal work but many poorer workers were migrant farm labor picking hops and … Continue reading “The Travelling Tinker” by John Burr

A Powerful and Simple Philosophy for a Good Life

"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch … Continue reading A Powerful and Simple Philosophy for a Good Life

Romani in Switzerland ca. 1890?

As usual with internet information, captions and data are suspect at best.  However, this is a great image of Romani on the road so let's just go with it.  At first glance, it looks almost like a scene from the American west in the 19th century.  It reminds me of early sheep camp images from … Continue reading Romani in Switzerland ca. 1890?

Another Look

Here's another look at an image I posted quite a while ago.  I really like this photo.  These Scottish Travellers give a glimpse of some less-than-stereotypical living waggons (sic).  Very few wanderers could afford the classic Dunton Reading wagon but made do with more affordable accommodations; possibly even owner-built. All three of the caravans pictured … Continue reading Another Look

More Classic Camp Gear from the American West

I have no information about this image as it was one of those random internet finds.  The gear looks to be from about the turn of the 19th-20th Century and supplies the basics for an American or Canadian outdoorsman.  This would all apply to Mexico as well but as it's not written in Spanish I … Continue reading More Classic Camp Gear from the American West

Have a Look at the Racy “Waverley Belle” Velocipede

Are you aware, gentle reader, that the bicycle is closely associated with women's liberation, the suffragettes, and other forms of late 19th century promiscuity and other offensive behaviors among the fair sex?  Or that a truly rideable modern velocipede machine post-dates practical flying machines?  Warning - a little tasteful nudity ahead. Bicycling was the final … Continue reading Have a Look at the Racy “Waverley Belle” Velocipede

Zenana Carriages, a minor mystery solved

Zenana- def. The place where the ladies reside. Origin: Urdu. Yesterday I posted this cabinet card image found on Tumblr and asked for help in identifying the style.  Crowd-sourcing research on the blog certainly works.  "KB" responded with enough key words that a quick image search revealed the nature of this carriage.  Often called a … Continue reading Zenana Carriages, a minor mystery solved

Ode to the “Wanderer”

“About going where he likes, for instance? Are there not certain laws of the road that forbid the tarrying by the way of caravan folks, for a longer period than that necessary to water and feed a horse or look at his feet? By night, again, he may spy a delightfully retired common, with nothing … Continue reading Ode to the “Wanderer”

William Sydney Mount, another pointless art excursion

My strange tendency, as an art-admirer, is to sometimes over-analyze a painting, not only as the Art itself, but also as a documentation of time and place.  In historical paintings, it's fun to look for the details and pick up some lost history along the way.  There may be interesting clues in what the artist … Continue reading William Sydney Mount, another pointless art excursion

Making Your Attitude

"Men and boys are learning all kinds of trades but how to make men of themselves. They learn to make houses; but they are not so well housed, they are not so contented in their houses, as the woodchucks in their holes.  What is the use of a house if you haven't got a tolerable … Continue reading Making Your Attitude

“The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise”

“However mean your life is, meet it and live it; do not shun it and call it hard names. It is not so bad as you are. It looks poorest when you are richest. The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise. Love your life, poor as it is. You may perhaps have some pleasant, … Continue reading “The fault-finder will find faults even in paradise”

An Open Lot Accommodation

A little something for Wagon Wednesday.  A simple bow-top accommodation.  Very little of the wagon is seen in the image but we can rest assured that it was painted green at one time.  Hedley picked up some fine details here including bolts, boards, the tarp attachment, and a very nice little driving lamp. Last in … Continue reading An Open Lot Accommodation

Bender Tent

A Traveller's (sic) Tuesday.  Just a glimpse into life in a bender tent.  Despite the glamorous view of life on the road depicted by the romantic English Gypsy Caravans, this is how most Roma lived in 19th Century Britain. Gypsies, Camped on the Beach, near South Shields, Ralph Hedley Charlton, painted 1876.

Sawing Planks

Before powered saw mills, making lumber was much more labor intensive.  Now I can flip a switch to crank up the band saw or table saw; or pull the cord to fire up the chainsaw for big work.  It's easy to forget how good we have it.  Notice the sturdy little sawhorse holding up the … Continue reading Sawing Planks

The Blind Fiddler

"An itinerant fiddler is playing for a humble country family. David Wilkie focuses on the listeners’ different expressions. Only two people seem to respond to the music: the baby and the boy on the right, who is imitating the fiddler by playing the bellows.When this picture was exhibited at the Royal Academy some critics thought … Continue reading The Blind Fiddler

Comrades

Comrades, the 42nd Highlanders (copy of a lost earlier painting by the artist) 1894, by Robert Gibb. This image is extremely moving and poignant.  The scene is of the 42nd Regiment of Foot (later called the Black Watch),  during the Crimean War winter campaign of 1854-1855.  The dying man on the ground is whispering his … Continue reading Comrades