Tuesday, January 22, 2019

Before Public Gardens & Parks - 1597 Ship's crew plays Golf

Beugelen colf in the open air next to a tavern, about 1644 painted by David Teniers the Younger II (1610-1690).


Before an inn, merry-making and playing a game of colf or bracing by Jan Havicksz. Steen (1626-1679).

In 1597, the crew of Willem Barentsz played "colf" during their stay at Nova Zembla, as recorded by Gerrit de Veer in his diary:
Den 3. April wast moy claer weder met een n.o. wint ende stil, doen maeckten wy een colf toe om daer mede te colven, om also onse leden wat radder te maeckten, daer wy allerley middelen toe zochten. Translation: (The 3rd of April the weather was nice and clear with a north-easterly wind and quiet, then we made a colf [club] to play colf with, and thus make our limbs more loose, for which we sought every means)


Peasants to the bracing colf at an inn in a landscape, attributed to David Teniers the Younger II (1610-1690).

Sunday, January 20, 2019

Before Public Gardens & Parks - No Golf within the 1387 Brielle city walls

Boulegrin with the king Thuys. manufactured by Romeyn de Hooghe (Amsterdam 1645-1708 Haarlem)

In the 14C, colf was a "long game" played in the city streets, courtyards, and other open areas. In 1387, the regent of the county of Holland, Zeeland and Hainaut, Albrecht of Bavaria, sealed a charter for the city of Brielle, in which it was forbidden to play any game for money. One of the exceptions to this ordinance was "den bal mitter colven te slaen buten der veste" (to play the ball with a club outside the town walls). Two years later, in 1389, the regent Albrecht offered the citizens of Haarlem a field called ‘De Baen’ (the course) to be used exclusively for playing games – especially colf – because these were too dangerous within the city walls.

Friday, January 18, 2019

Sports & Games - Medieval Bowling

Bowling taken from medieval manuscripts in Joseph Strutt’s Sports and Pastimes
The pastime of bowling, whether practiced on open greens or in bowling-alleys, was probably an invention from the middle ages. The earliest representation of a game played with bowls occurs in a 13C manuscript, on which 2 small cones are placed upright at a distance from each other; and the task of the players is evidently to bowl at them alternately; the successful candidate being the player who could lay his bowl the nearest to the mark. The French had a similar kind of game, called carreau, from a square stone which, says he, "is laid in level with and at the end of a bowling-alley, and in the midst thereof an upright point set as the mark where at they bowl." Displayed above is a 14C drawing from a MS. Book of Prayers. It represents 2 other bowlers; but they have no apparent object to play at, unless the bowl cast by the 1st may be considered as such by the 2nd, and the game requires him to strike it from its place. Below are 3 people engaged in the pastime of bowling; and they have a small bowl, which serves them as a mark for the direction of their bowl.  The most action is displayed by the middle figure, whose bowl is supposed to be rolling toward the jack.

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Before Public Gardens & Parks - Locals Exchanging News Outside a 17C Tavern or Inn

David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690) follower Travelers Outside an Inn. Exchanging news outside the local tavern.

Outdoor spaces were the scene of amusements & recreation at local inns & taverns in the centuries before more dignified commercial public pleasure gardens blossomed on both sides of the Atlantic. Before the advent of commercial gardens, elites usually gathered together in more elegant private gardens. For recreation, elites also enjoyed promenading, especially in a public place, to meet other elites or to be seen & admired by others. Commercial public pleasure gardens & grounds became places to meet folks from a broader spectrum of society's classes including elites, neighbors, & travelers passing through - to exchange news; to meet lovers; to play sports & games; to eat & drink; to watch entertainments; to promenade for recreation; to conduct business; to see & be seen.  

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Before Public Gardens & Parks - 17C Locals Dancing Outside a Tavern or Inn

David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690) (or a follower) Peasants Dancing outside the local tavern.

Outdoor spaces were the scene of amusements & recreation at local inns & taverns in the centuries before more dignified commercial public pleasure gardens blossomed on both sides of the Atlantic. Before the advent of commercial gardens, elites usually gathered together in more elegant private gardens. For recreation, elites also enjoyed promenading, especially in a public place, to meet other elites or to be seen & admired by others. Commercial public pleasure gardens & grounds became places to meet folks from a broader spectrum of society's classes including elites, neighbors, & travelers passing through - to exchange news; to meet lovers; to play sports & games; to eat & drink; to watch entertainments; to promenade for recreation; to conduct business; to see & be seen.  

Tuesday, January 8, 2019

Before Public Gardens & Parks - 17C Elites Celebrating in a Private Garden

Private Gardens were the scene of outdoor amusements & recreation for the upper classes & royalty in the centuries before more egalitarian commercial public pleasure gardens blossomed on both sides of the Atlantic. For recreation, elites also enjoyed promenading, especially in a public place, to meet other elites or to be seen & admired by others. Later, Public Pleasure Gardens & Grounds became acceptable places to meet neighbors & travelers passing through; to exchange news; to meet lovers; to play sports & games; to eat & drink; to watch entertainments; to promenade for recreation; to conduct business; to see & be seen.
David Vinckboons (Flemish Baroque Era Painter, c 1576-1632) Feasting at an Outdoor Table

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Before Public Gardens & Parks - 17C Locals Listening to Music at a Tavern or Inn

Outdoor spaces were the scene of amusements & recreation at local inns & taverns in the centuries before more dignified commercial public pleasure gardens blossomed on both sides of the Atlantic. Before the advent of commercial gardens, elites usually gathered together in more elegant private gardens.  Commercial public pleasure gardens & grounds became places to meet folks from a broader spectrum of society's classes including elites, neighbors, & travelers passing through - to exchange news; to meet lovers; to play sports & games; to eat & drink; to watch entertainments; to promenade for recreation; to conduct business; to see & be seen.  
Adriaen Jansz Van Ostade (1610-1685) The Violinist.  Music outside the local tavern.

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

Before Public Gardens & Parks - Golf Sports and Games- Illuminated Manuscripts 16C

Flemish Colf, a single-club, cross-country game in which the ultimate scoring shot was played to a hole in the ground. Anonymous Flemish Master, ca. 1505.


Bas-de-page from an illuminated manuscript calendar page. French, Book of Hours from about 1550.

Folio from the Book of Hours known as Livre d'Ango. French from about 1600


Heures Adelaide de Savoie, Duchesse de Bourgogne, June, around 1460.
Illuminated miniature in French Book of Hours, by The Master of Edward IV group from about 1490.


Prayer Book of Poitiers, ms. LA 135, folio 2 verso, 1460-1465


Book of Hours known as Les Heures de Guillaume de Bracque for whom it was written and illuminated between 1516 and 1547 (folio 48 recto)
Book of Hours in Latin and French known as Les Heures de Abbot Guillaume de Bracque for whom it was written and illuminated between 1516 and 1547 
Book of Hours in Latin and French known as Les Heures de Abbot Guillaume de Bracque for whom it was written and illuminated between 1516 and 1574 (folios 48 verso and recto)


Detail from an Illuminated miniature in French Book of Hours, by The Master of Edward IV group from about 1490.


 Illuminated Manuscript Heures de la Duchesse de Bourgogne, ca. 1460.
Illuminated Manuscript The Putting Variant of Pallemail. The Nativity, Heures de la Duchesse de Bourgogne, ca. 1460.

Monday, December 31, 2018

Before Public Gardens & Parks - 17C Celebrating at a Local Tavern or Inn Garden

1670 Jan Steen (Dutch artist, 1626-1679) Merry Company on a Garden Terrace

These gatherings seem to be taking place on the little garden terraces, that tavern owners began to attach to their inns during this period for the use of the general populace.  Outdoor spaces were the scene of amusements & recreation at everyday inns & taverns in the centuries before commercial public pleasure gardens blossomed on both sides of the Atlantic. Public pleasure gardens & grounds became places to meet neighbors & travelers passing through; to exchange news; to meet lovers; to play sports & games; to eat & drink; to watch entertainments; to promenade for recreation; to conduct business; to see & be seen.  

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Before Public Gardens & Parks - Sports and Games - Elite Golf - Vredenburg Castle 16C where beugelen (farmers golf) was played in Utrecht

Willem Cornelisz.van Swanenburgh (b 1611-  in Utrecht). Castle Vredenburg 1529 Charles V where a form of early golf called beugelen, 'kolven door den beugel' was played in Utrecht

Vredenburg or Vredeborch was a 16C castle built by Habsburg emperor Charles V in the city of Utrecht in the Netherlands. When the Holy Roman Empire annexed Utrecht in 1528, Emperor Charles V immediately ordered the construction of a castle in Utrecht, to protect his new territory from invasion & to try to retain control over the city's rather independent population. Construction was begun in 1529 and completed in 1532.  After the Pacification of Ghent was signed on November 8, 1576, the Eighty Years' War broke out; and the castle's Spanish garrison was besieged by the Dutch rebels, as fighting broke out between the Spanish & Dutch. The garrison abandoned the castle in 1577, & the citizens of Utrecht demanded, that the castle be demolished to prevent the Spanish or other foreign power from dominating their city again. The citizens demolished the castle brick by brick until 1581.  Some remains of the castle are still visible on what is now Vredenburg square in Utrecht.
Etching by Coenraad Decker in 1656 depicting the castle Vredenburg in Utrecht (The Netherlands) showing the castle around 1540

Thursday, December 27, 2018

Sports & Games - Ice Skating & Ice Hockey for Women, from Saints to Athletes

Saint Lidwina is a Dutch saint who loved ice skating. This 1498 image of a skating scene is found in the book 'Vita alme virginis Lydwine' written by father Jan Brugman. The print depicts the unfortunate fall of the canonized Lydwina of Schiedam (1380-1433). The story is that in 1395, Lidwina went skating & fell upon the ice with such violence, that she broke a rib in her right side. This was the beginning of her martyrdom. No medical skill could cure her. Gangrene appeared in the wound caused by the fall & spread over her entire body. For years she lay in pain which seemed to increase. From her 15th to her 53rd year, she was sore from head to toe & became greatly emaciated. On Easter-day, 1433, she beheld a vision of Christ coming towards her to administer the Sacrament of Extreme Unction. She then died in sacred peace.


Woodcut from Olaus Magnus. Swedish Olaf Mansson (Swedish historian, 1490-1557) wrote, "Among the Sami, both men & women take part in hunting & fishing." Winter scene from Finmark. Three sami with wooden skis, participating in the hunt. The middle hunter is a woman. There is some confusion about where women first began to ski & skate.  The Dutch believe that ice skates were a Dutch invention.  Scandinavians, however, claim that ice skating was introduced in the Netherlands by their Viking ancestors who visited the European coasts around 800. They think the art of ice skating derived from the Nordic custom to prevent people from sinking in loose snow by binding boards under their boots. This custom should have resulted in both skiing & ice skating.


Hendrick Avercamp (Dutch artist, 1585–1634), Winterlandschap met schaatsers. c 1608 (detail).  This crowded winter scene presents a cross-section of Dutch society enjoying a wide range of winters sports, on the frozen waterways.

Hendrick Avercamp (Dutch artist, 1585–1634), Winterlandschap met schaatsers. c 1608 (detail).

The discovery during the 19C of ancient bone skates in Germany, Sweden, Switzerland, the Danube valley & England suggests that ice skating may be much older than 1,700 years.  A study by Federico Formenti of the University of Oxford suggests that the earliest ice skating happened in southern Finland more than 3000 years ago.


 Adriaen Pietersz van de Venne (Dutch painter, 1589-1662), Autumn 1625 detail

The first skates were flattened bone that was strapped to the bottom of the foot. The oldest pair of skates known date back to about 3000 B.C., found at the bottom of a lake in Switzerland. The skates were made from the leg bones of large animals, holes were bored at each end of the bone & leather straps were used to tie the skates on. An old Dutch word for skate is "schenkel" which means "leg bone."


Adriaen Pietersz van de Venne (Dutch painter, 1589-1662), Winter 1625 detail

In the 13th Century, the Dutch invented steel blades with edges. The Dutch started using wooden platform skates with flat iron bottom runners. The skates were attached to the skater's shoes with leather straps. Poles were used to propel the skater. 


1695 Cornelis Dusart (Dutch artist, 1660-1704) published by Jacob Gole (Dutch, c. 1675 - 1704)

Around 1500, the Dutch added a narrow metal double edged blade, making the poles a thing of the past, as the skater could now push & glide with his feet (called the "Dutch Roll").  In the Netherlands, all classes of people skated. Ice skating was a way people traveled over the canals in the winter months.


La Hollandoise sur les patins after Cornelis Dusart (Dutch artist, 1660-1704)

James II (1633-1701) helped introduce ice skating to the British aristocracy in the late 1600s. In 1742, the Edinburgh Skating Club, the 1st British figure skating club, was formed in Scotland. To gain membership in the club it was necessary for the skater to be able to skate a complete circle on either foot & to jump over one, then two & then 3 hats placed on the ice.  The 1st English instructional book concerning ice skating was published in London in 1772. The book, written by a British artillery lieutenant, Robert Jones, described basic figure skating forms such as circles & figure eights.


Fille de petit bourgeois d'Amsterdam...  Bernard Picart (French engraver, 1673-1733) Ice Skater

Skating in North America came with Dutch settlers to New York . Upon visiting colonial New York, English clergyman Charles Wooley wrote in 1678, "And upon the Ice its admirable to see Men & Women as it were flying upon their Skates from place to place, with Markets upon their Heads & Backs."


A La Mode Romeyn de Hooghe Published by Nicolaes Visscher II c 1682-1702

By the 1730s, images of women getting help from a gentleman to put on their skates become popular in Europe.


Four Ages of Man; L'Adolescence; print Nicolas Lancret (After) Nicolas de Larmessin III (Print made by) Nicolas de Larmessin III (Published by); 1735; Paris.

From 1400 to the 19C, there were 24 winters in which the Thames was recorded to have frozen over at London: 1408, 1435, 1506, 1514, 1537, 1565, 1595, 1608, 1621, 1635, 1649, 1655, 1663, 1666, 1677, 1684, 1695, 1709, 1716, 1740, 1776, 1788, 1795, & 1814. Images of these periods show hundreds of folks on the river, some ice skating. 


  Nicolas Lancret (French painter, 1690-1743) Fastening the Skate.

An eye-witness recorded the London frost of the 1680s: "On the 20th of December, 1683, a very violent frost began, which lasted to the 6th of February...the Thames was so frozen that a great street from the Temple to Southwark was built with shops, and all manner of things sold." John Evelyn (1620-1706) noted, "Coaches plied from Westminster to the Temple, and from several other stairs too and fro, as in the streets, sleds, sliding with skates, bull-baiting, horse and coach races, puppet plays and interludes, cooks, tippling and other lewd places, so that it seemed to be a bacchanalian triumph, or carnival on the water."


Winter by John Simon after Nicolas Lancret, published by Thomas Burford 1758

When the Thames was not frozen over, early Londoners skated on the frozen marshes of Moorfields, just north of the old walled city. Archaeologists working on London's recent Crossrail dig have found medieval ice skates. By the middle of the 18C, skating in Hyde Park in London had become a popular winter pastime.


Samuel Hieronymus Grimm (1734-1794) Skating in Hyde Park


The Pleasures of Skaiting - or, a View in Winter from orig by John Collet pub by Carington Bowles, London c 1780

During the 19C, women began to participate in outdoor sports such as Ice Hockey in public spaces.

1805 - Ice Skating The first known ice skating race for Dutch women is in held in Leeuwarden.

1855 - Hockey The first modern game of ice hockey is played in Kingston, Ontario, using rules similar to today's. 

1875 - Women begin Ice Skating at Wellesley College, which opens with a college gymnasium for exercising and a lake for ice skating.

1891 - Ice Hockey On Feb. 11, two unnamed women's ice hockey teams play a match in Ottawa, Ontario.

1893 - A women's Ice Hockey team is formed in Medicine Hat, Alberta.

1894 - College girls at McGill University in Montreal begin weekly ice hockey games at an indoor rink - with 3 male students on "guard" at the door.


1899 - Two teams of women ice hockey players play a game on the artifical ice at the Ice Palace in Philadelphia.

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Sports & Games - General History - 1600s Lawn Bowling + Shakespeare

Pieter Angillis (Flemish, 1685-1734) Figures on a Bowling Ground

It is thought that the game of bowls developed from the Egyptians.  Artifacts found in tombs dating circa 5,000 B.C. show that one of their pastimes was to play a type of skittles with round stones. Sculptured vases & ancient plaques show the game being played some 4,000 years ago, & archaeologists have uncovered biased stone bowls from 5,000 B.C. which indicate our ancestors enjoyed the game of bowling more than 7,000 years ago.  The sport spread across the world & took on a variety of forms, Bocce (Italian), Bolla (Saxon), Bolle (Danish), Boules (French) & Ula Maika (Polynesian).   The sport of lawn bowls is the forerunner of curling, a popular winter version played in northern countries (including Canada) on ice.  Most paintings of the game seem to come from Flemish artists.

When Julius Caesar (100-44 BC) ruled Rome, the game was known as “Bocce,” & conquering Roman Legions of centurians may well have carried the game to Europe & the British Isles. By the 13th century, bowling had spread to France, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Belgium, Germany, & England. The oldest English Bowls green still played on is in Southampton, England where records show that the green has been in operation since 1299 A.D.

The game of lawn bowling became so popular in England and in France, that it was prohibited by law because archery, essential to the national defense, was being neglected. The French king, Charles IV (1294-1328), prohibited the game for the common people in 1319, & King Edward III (1312-1377) issued a similar edict in England in 1361. Statutes forbidding it & other sports were enacted in the reigns of Edward III, Richard II, & other monarchs. Edward III, the game was restricted by royal decree to “Noblemen & others having manors or lands.” Successive kings played & enjoyed the game. Even when, on the invention of gunpowder & firearms, the bow had fallen into disuse as a weapon of war, the prohibition was continued. During the reign of Richard II (1452-1485) bowls were referred to as "gettre de pere" or "jetter de pierre," & describes throwing a stone, probably as round as possible. In the early 15th century bowls were made of hardwoods &, after the 16th century discovery of Santo Domingo, of lignum vitae, a very dense wood.

King Henry VIII (1491-1547) was a lawn bowler, & had bowling greens installed at Whitehall, permitting the common people to play on Christmas Day.  However, he banned the game for those who were not wealthy or "well to do" because "Bowyers, Fletchers, Stringers & Arrowhead makers" were spending more time at recreational events such as bowls instead of practicing their trade. The discredit attaching to bowling alleys, first established in London in 1455, probably encouraged subsequent repressive legislation, for many of the alleys were connected with taverns frequented by the dissolute & gamesters. The word "bowls" occurs for the first time in the statute of 1511, in which Henry VIII confirmed previous enactments against unlawful games. By a further act of 1541—which was not repealed until 1845—artificers, labourers, apprentices, servants & the like were forbidden to play bowls at any time except Christmas, & then only in their master's house & presence. It was further enjoined that any one playing bowls outside his own garden or orchard was liable to a penalty of 6s. 8d., while those possessed of lands of the yearly value of £100 might obtain licences to play on their own private greens.  However, the green could only be used for private play, & he forbade anyone to "play at any bowle or bowles in open space out of his own garden or orchard."  (In 1845, the ban was lifted, & people from all walks of life were again allowed to play bowls & other games of skill.)

The earliest documented use of the word 'Jack' in Bowls is either from 1611 "Was there euer man had such lucke? when I kist the Iacke vpon an vp-cast, to be hit away?" or alternatively Shakespeare (1564-1616) who used it in Cymbeline (thought to have been written in 1609), when he caused Cloten to exclaim, "Was there ever man had such luck! When I kissed the jack, upon an up-cast to be hit away."


Shakespeare (Richard II, Act III, Scene IV):

"Queen: What sport shall we devise here in this garden,
To drive away the heavy thought of care?

First Lady: Madam, we'll play at bowls.

Queen: 'Twill make me think the world is full of rubs.
And that my fortune runs against the bias"

John P Monro, Bowls Encyclopaedia (3rd ed), writes that the name 'jack' is derived from the Latin word jactus, meaning a cast or a throw.   'Jack-Bowl', was the little bowl, later shortened to 'Jack.'  In 1697, R. Pierce wrote, "He had not Strength to throw the Jack-Bowl half over the Green."

A sport played by young men called "casting the stone" is mentioned by William FitzStephen, a close friend of Thomas à Becket, in the preface of his biography Vita Sancti Thomae written during the twelfth century. Casting of stones translates in Latin as "jactu lapidum" & was a game in which rounded stones were thrown at or bowled towards a target object & so some are persuaded that the modern word 'Jack' derives originally from this term.

A manuscript from the 13th century in the Royal Library at Windsor (No. 20, E iv.), contains a drawing representing two players aiming at a small cone instead of an earthenware ball or jack. The world's oldest surviving bowling green is the Southampton Old Bowling Green, which was first used in 1299.  A 14th-century manuscript, Book of Prayers, in the Francis Douce collection in the Bodleian Library at Oxford contains a drawing in which two persons are shown, but they bowl to no mark.


Pieter Angillis (Flemish, 1685-1734) The Game of Bowls

Fortunately, no serious effort was made to enforce the ban against ordinary men playing at bowls, & it did not apply to Scotland. Almost every English monarch was a bowler, & the royal estates were all equipped with fine bowling greens. King James I (1566-1625) issued a publication called "The Book of Sports;" &, although he condemned football (soccer) & golf, he encouraged the play of bowls. King James I was an ardent bowler, as was his son King Charles I (1600-1649). 


Jan Steen (Dutch artist, 1626-1679) Peasants Bowling on a Town's Open Public Space 

Both monarchs are reputed to have enjoyed playing for high stakes. King Charles, according to bowling tradition, lost over $5,000 in one encounter with a Barking Hill merchant named Richard Shute. A bowling green has been a permanent fixture at Windsor Castle. Anne Boleyn (1501-1536) was a bowler, as were many noblewomen, including Queen Victoria in the 19C.


David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690) Playing Bowls

Samuel Pepys (1633-1703) mentions in his diary being invited to “play at bowls with the nobility & gentry.” Sir Francis Bacon (1561-1626) & Sir Water Raleigh (1552-1618) were bowlers.  Ordinary people used public alleys and greens maintained by towns and taverns, and the well-to-do had private bowling greens on their estates.

Jan Haviks (Leiden 1626 - 1679) Garden at Local Tavern with a Game of Bowls


Pieter Angillis (Flemish, 1685-1734) The Game of Bowls Outside Local Inn

David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690) Game of Bowls Outside the Local Inn


David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690) Peasants Bowling in a Village Street


David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690) Playig Bowls Outside a Local Village Inn


David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690) Playing at Bowls Outside a Local Tavern


David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690) Playing Bowls at a Local Inn on a River


David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690) Playing Bowls Outside a Local Tavern

Unknown artist in the style of David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690) Peasants bowling