Bike Trekker – Allen Hastings Fry

Despite how much I like this photo, I have held off posting this image here because I couldn’t find any attribution or further information about this gentleman and his fine bicycle.  I came across it several years ago and stuck it in my image files until I could find out more; alas, I have not.

“Portrait of Allen Hastings Fry, with his photographic equipment strapped to his bicycle. An illustration taken from the magazine ‘The Professional Photographer”, June 1916.” (Thank you Patrick for the information and link).

My first interest was in the excellent baggage he’s carrying; a very modern looking frame bag, a tool roll or similar, nice front and rear bags, and what appears to be a wooden box along the top tube.  His haversack is not visible although the strap is in this image.  Any thoughts on the bike or image itself are welcome.

The rest?  Maybe you can tell me…

Click the card for more information about Allen Hastings Fry.

(UPDATE: Thanks for the corrections sent by Luc and Patrick.  Updates were made to reflect the new information.)

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Motor Car Tool Kit ca. 1907

I keep a couple tool rolls for specialty fixes but I really like this setup from over a century ago.  I think I need to make and “essentials” kit like this for general travel to keep the tings I truly need in need place and handy.  It might be a little heavy for the rambler on foot but could be invaluable on the cycle or in the truck.

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From The Army and Navy Co-operative Society Store, London 1907.

I think I would need to make an image of each tool in its place as I have found in my other bespoke tool kit that the loops and pockets all start to look alike when there are too many empty ones at once.  The only potential problem with tool rolls is that they can get thick and bulky in a hurry if you aren’t careful with what you put in them.

Fire Hose Tool Roll

Duluth Trading Company’s tool roll available for about $50 US.

I find that tool rolls aren’t that valuable when working from the home shop as they take up a lot of surface but are a very handy way to travel and stay organized on the road.  I use four tool rolls myself currently, one for holding large brace bits, one for wrenches (mainly for working on the scooter or truck), one for chisels, and one for carving tools.

With a little forethought, I think a traveler’s kit like this could be very useful.

More Historic Caravans in Art

Copyright The Munnings Collection at The Sir Alfred Munnings Art Museum / Supplied by The Public Catalogue Foundation

Copyright The Munnings Collection at The Sir Alfred Munnings Art Museum.

Here are a couple final Alfred Munnings images of Romani caravans in an English countryside.  As a keen observer, he definitely caught the important details of each type of caravan and the essentials of camp life.  The watercolor above is somewhat unusual for Munnings as it shows no animals, people, or campfire.

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Alfred Munnings.

Above is a rarely shown rounded square-top among other carts and caravans with livestock milling about.  The variety detailed in these historic images should be helpful for those desiring to design and build a similar living accommodation.  The previous post gave a glimpse of Laura Knight’s work on the subject and her subjects are remarkably detailed and informative.

Gypsy Camp, ca 1938, Dame Laura Knight.

Gypsy Camp, ca 1938, Dame Laura Knight.

This is one of my favorite scenes of a camp in the countryside; two beautiful ledge wagons and a marquis tent in a field.  I could picture this in a high parkland of the Rocky Mountains.  Many people don’t know that the outlier tent, awnings, and tarps are almost ubiquitous with the old caravans.  This allows for a very flexible and expandable living arrangement or a sheltered kitchen area.

Young Gypsies 1937, Dame Laura Knight.

Young Gypsies 1937, Dame Laura Knight.

If you look closely at the sketch above, you can see that this is the same encampment from another angle, focusing on the kids at play.  It looks like a fine way to grow up.

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Gypsy Wagon and Tent, Dame Laura Knight, 1962.

And finally, another favorite of mine.  I suspect it’s the same little yellow wagon next to the sketchiest bender tent ever.  Probably a makeshift shelter for work or cooking.  A wagon wheel in the foreground seems to await repair while the kids look on.  Note the size of these caravans relative to today’s “needs” and remember that whole families lived and were raised this way.

If you missed the previous post about historic caravans in art go HERE or check out a whole page of images I have curated HERE.

Historic Romani Caravan Paintings

These images might whet the appetite for summer days, picnics, an caravanning off into the great unknown; or it might just be a bunch of pretty pictures if the former isn’t your cup of tea.  Anyway, these are generally labelled and classed as Gypsy images although we know that this is often seen as an offensive word to many Romani (Roma, Romany, etc.), I don’t think it was intended this way in many cases.  For that matter, when not applied to an actual people, the word gets thrown around in art, aesthetic style, dance, music, and many other ways.  I have only known a few “Gypsies” in my lifetime and that was the term used; maybe out of simplicity, maybe just as resignation to the common language.  But enough of this digression, enjoy the paintings.  There will be more to come.

Dame Laura Knight, Gypsy Caravans, 1935. LONDON.- Trinity House.

Dame Laura Knight, Gypsy Caravans, 1935. LONDON.- Trinity House.

“Knight … bucked trends through depicting liminal sites, such as circuses and gypsy settlements, from the very beginning of her career. An example of this is her delightful work Gypsy Caravans (1935).”

The caravans depicted above are the Rolls-Royce’s of their day; highly ornamented Reading Wagons with mollycrofts, awnings, windows, and fine paint work.  They would catch they eye of any artist.  I am particularly fond of the domestic scene around the hearth; laundry being done and hung out to dry in the background.

The paintings below are by Sir Alfred Munnings (1878-1959), a British artist who made many beautiful watercolor paintings of horses, encampments, and caravans.  What better, more colorful, and dynamic subject matter?  Alfred Munnings’s biography states that he clearly considered himself accepted among the gypsies when he was able to persuade several of the older women to bring out the brilliant shawls, boldly coloured aprons, and flamboyant ostrich feathered hats that were special occasion wear for the women.”

ALFRED-MUNNINGS

Sir Alfred Munnings.

The ubiquitous fire hook and kettle rest as the true center of this scene.  Everyone is done up in the Sunday best at Epsom Downs.  We see all kinds of accommodations from a bender tent to various quality of living wagon.  And no camp is complete without a lurcher (dog) and the milk goat.

Munnings became president of the Royal Academy and was made a Knight of the Victorian Orderwhile Dame Laura Knight (1877-1970) served on a panel of European judges for an international exhibition at the Carnegie Institute and was appointed as an official artist for the Nuremberg War trials for her technical abilities.  In other words, good documentary artists.

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Sir Alfred Munnings.

Travellers and their goat gather ’round the morning tea.  I envision Mick’s garden will look like this once Jim and I get our ‘vans parked for the summer.

alfred-munnings-gypsy-life-the-hop-pickers

Gypsy Life, the hops pickers, Sir Alfred Munnings..

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One of my favorites.  So much going on here and a great color scheme.

More images added HERE.

Anyone?

autopedWhere have you been all my life.  Lady Florence Norman on her Autoped; another interesting Internet find.  This is what I found about it:

“Lady Florence Norman, a suffragette, on her motor-scooter in 1916, travelling to work at offices in London where she was a supervisor. The scooter was a birthday present from her husband, the journalist and Liberal politician Sir Henry Norman.”

Autoped-USA

1917 est une année cruciale pour la France en guerre : révolution russe et entrée de l’Amérique dans le conflit. En attendant cette aide décisive, il faut bien soutenir le moral des troupes… de l’arrière. L’hebdomadaire coquin La Vie Parisienne du 12 mai s’y emploit de son mieux et, à l’affût des dernières nouveautés, découvre un véhicule venu des États-Unis : l’Autopède. De quoi railler gentiment une nouvelle mode sur une double-page intitulée : “Le dernier cri ! La patinette automobile” … un engin que la France connaîtra quelques décennies plus tard. Vous vous souvenez ?

(Les légendes de ces dessins de G. Léonnec sont celles de La Vie Parisienne)

amelia

I’m glad to know that, in the near future, no one will walk at all. Oh, it must be the future!

This one’s not quite the same, being gasoline powered but is an interesting little piece nonetheless.

Historic Caravan Image of the Day

caravanningcampi00stonrich_0235 - Version 2  caravanningcampi00stonrich_0235The Lady-Go-Lightly.  It’s difficult to get a real feel for the caravans without a glimpse inside.  This image isn’t very detailed but shows the essentials; kettle, mirror, some basic utensils, and folding chair.  All standard fare for the early caravaners.

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Early Motor Caravans

We live in an age of motor vehicles.  Few of us could consider, for safety if nothing else, taking to the roads in a horse drawn vehicle.  When the automobile seemed here to stay, caravanners in Europe adapted to the new technology.

MotorVans1 The earliest models look essentially like their horse-drawn cousins, just stuck onto a truck chassis.  In this era, I suspect they were topping out at 35 mph.

MotorVans2This is the earliest side-door design I have found which changes the dynamics of the interior layout.  Note that in the vehicles above, the driver is still fully exposed to the elements.  A far cry from our modern experience.  Note the “driving coat” worn by the pilot of this beauty.

MotorVans3This French innovation has boxed-in the driver’s compartment making it suitable for foul weather.  Still, I would be worried about those huge, non-safety glass windows.

MotorVans4And finally, a very practical little design; the AEROPLANE.  A cute little beast.  I could not find the floor plan for this one but there is a section profile to help the would-be builder:

MotorVans5This style fold down seat/bed is exactly what I had in my first Ford pickup camper.  Simple and practical.  Maybe these early designs will inspire more modern builders to dive in and get their build on.  Keep it simple, keep it light.