Sunday, October 30, 2016

Before Public Gardens & Parks - Archery - 17C Competition

Dedicated outdoor public areas in local towns & communities were the scene of amusements & recreation in the centuries before more dignified commercial public pleasure gardens & public park spaces blossomed on both sides of the Atlantic. Public pleasure gardens & public 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. 
David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690) Archery in a Town's Public Space 

Saturday, October 29, 2016

Before Public Gardens & Parks - 16C & 17C Elites celebrate in a fairly fanciful Garden of the Villa Medici

Gardens were the scene of outdoor amusements & recreation in the centuries before public pleasure gardens blossomed on both sides of the Atlantic. For recreation, elites enjoyed promenading, especially in a public place, to meet or to be seen & admired by others.
Attributed to Louis de Caullery (Dutch-Flemish artist, 1555-1622) A Celebration of Love in the Garden of the Villa Medici

Louis de Caullery (Dutch-Flemish artist, 1555-1622) also known as Luis de Koller, Luis de Kaulleri, Louis de Coulery, specialized in genre, allegory, architecture, & landscape painting.  Like many Flemish artists of the period, he had traveled to & worked in Italy. A circle of like-minded artists gathered around him in Antwerp, painting scenes of banquets, balls, carnivals, & other celebrations often in gardens. The architecture & the parterres of the gardens are precisely drawn, often in skillfully telescoped perspective.

Friday, October 28, 2016

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

Outdoor spaces were the scene of amusements & recreation at everyday taverns in the centuries before commercial public pleasure gardens blossomed on both sides of the Atlantic. 
David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690) Peasants Dancing outside at an Inn

Thursday, October 27, 2016

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

16C Card Game for the Alehouse or its Garden

The 16C Alehouse Card Game of Put – a chance to bluff & cheat at cards!
by Mike Rendell from his fabulous blog The Georgian Gentleman Jan 22 2014

Thomas Rowlandson/George Woodward collaboration, published by Ackermann i

"Sometimes in Spanish bars you see a group of elderly gentlemen enthusiastically playing a game of cards called truc – it seems to involve a lot of triumphalism and theatrical posturing, and apparently is very similar to the English game called “Put”. In Catalonia they play it as a foursome but with partners (as in Bridge) and this gives rise to some intriguing signals between players on the same side. Apparently:
Closing one eye: means you hold a three.
Pouting your lips: means you hold a two.
Showing the tip of your tongue: means you have an Ace.

"Obviously it helps if you can give these signals to your playing partner without being observed by the other two players! It also means that if a Catalonian winks, blows you a kiss and then sticks his tongue out at you, it is best not to call the Police until you have checked what game he is playing….

"Truc seems to be a bit more complicated than the old English game of Put, but it is clear that they share a common ancestry – no doubt sailors brought it back from abroad. There are records of Put being played in England as far back as the 16th Century.

"I had not come across Put until I saw this Thomas Rowlandson/George Woodward collaboration, published by Ackermann in August 1799 and appearing on the Lewis Walpole Library site. It is called “A game at Put in a country alehouse”. The yokel on the left says “Zome-how – I donna half like the looks o-thee!” while holding a pair of fives and an ace. Across the table his companion looks shell-shocked at a hand containing a royal card and two aces (?) and announces “I put.”

"So, how was Put played and what is it all about? It was certainly a very popular game in taverns in the 18th Century, even though (or rather, because) it relied relatively little upon skill or memory, but rather a lot on “brass neck” and bluffing. No suits to worry about, no counting of cards already turned up: just you pitting your wits against your opponent (usually only two people played, but it could be three or four), armed with just three cards for each deal.

"The first thing to remember was that it wasn’t “aces high” – or even low. The sequence in the 52-card pack was (high) 3-2-A-K-Q-J-T-9-8-7-6-5-4 (low) – the same as in truc. Three cards were dealt to each player, and the non-dealer would lead off. His opponent would try and win the trick by playing a higher card. Remember: there were no trump cards and no suits to follow.

"The game was won by the first player to score 5 points over as many deals as necessary. Where both players played cards of equal value, that trick was tied and the player who led had to do so again. A player who won two tricks, or one trick when both the others were tied, won the hand, and scored one point. If the players each won a trick and the other trick was tied, the hand was deemed to be a draw and no points were scored – this was called “trick and tie”.

"What makes the game interesting, and gives it a quality similar to Brag, is that players try and ‘con’ their opponent by talking up their hand. Either player, when about to lead a card, may do one of three things:
1.  He can throw his hand in, thus conceding the deal and giving a point to the opponent.
2.  Lead a card without saying anything. His opponent must then play.
3.  Say “Put”, which is short for “I put it to you that you should throw your cards in while you have the chance.” If the opponent follows this advice, the deal ends and the putter scores 1 point. If not, it is a case of ‘put and see’ and the putter leads and the other must play.

"What this means is that a player with a weak hand may still win, by asserting the strength of his hand and hoping that his opponent will cave in. It led to much histrionics and double bluffing.
 Charles Cotton. The Compleat Gamester, (London, 1674).

"The game was mentioned in a book by Charles Cotton called The Compleat Gamester, (London, 1674).  Cotton was an intriguing person – a close friend of Isaac Walton and a contributor to his Compleat Angler, published in 1653. His Compleat Gamester was considered the “standard” English-language reference work on the playing of games – especially  games where betting was a popular feature, and including billiards, card games, dice, horse racing and cock fighting. His authorship of the book was not disclosed at the time it was first published, although it was acknowledged in some of the later editions. Poor Cotton died bankrupt in 1687 and is buried in St James Church Piccadilly.

"Various later editions of The Gamester appeared in the 18th Century. According to Cotton, Put was an extremely disreputable game. He called it “the ordinary rooking game of every place” and much of his chapter on Put is devoted to a description of various common types of cheating. This might be done by marking the cards, or introducing cards from another pack, etc. He also explained “The High Game”, in which the cards were stacked so as to deal the victim a three and two twos, while the dealer dealt himself a two and two threes. The non-dealer would fancy his chances and call ”Put” and perhaps agree some extra wager on the side, which the dealer would then “see” and win. Cotton remarked that you were unlikely to get away with this more than once against the same player!"

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

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

Outdoor spaces were the scene of amusements & recreation at everyday taverns in the centuries before commercial public pleasure gardens blossomed on both sides of the Atlantic. 
David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690) Playing Cards and Skittles outside the local tavern.

Tuesday, October 25, 2016

Before Public Gardens & Parks - 16C & 17C Elites Promenade, Court, & Listen to Music in a private Garden

Gardens were the scene of outdoor amusements & recreation in the centuries before public pleasure gardens blossomed on both sides of the Atlantic. For recreation, elites enjoyed promenading, especially in a public place, to meet or to be seen & admired by others.
Attributed to Louis de Caullery (Dutch-Flemish artist, 1555-1622) Promenading in a Garden

Louis de Caullery (Dutch-Flemish artist, 1555-1622) also known as Luis de Koller, Luis de Kaulleri, Louis de Coulery, specialized in genre, allegory, architecture, & landscape painting.  Like many Flemish artists of the period, he had traveled to & worked in Italy. A circle of like-minded artists gathered around him in Antwerp, painting scenes of banquets, balls, carnivals, & other celebrations often in gardens. The architecture & the parterres of the gardens are precisely drawn, often in skillfully telescoped perspective.

Monday, October 24, 2016

Sports & Games - 17C Local Families Skating & Golfing on Ice

Hendrick Avercamp (1585-1634) Winter landscape with skates & drivers for a windmill

Although this is a 17C image, ice skating by young men is recorded in London in the 12C. The 1st English mention of ice skating is found in a biography of Archbishop of Canterbury Thomas à Beckett written by his former clerk William FitzStephen around 1180, in his "description of the most noble city of London." The account reads: "when the great fenne or moore (which watereth the walles of the citie on the North side) is frozen, many young men play upon the yce, some striding as wide as they may, doe slide swiftly...some tye bones to their feete, & under their heeles, & shoving themselves by a little picked staffe, doe slide as swiftly as birde flyeth in the aire, or an arrow out of a crossbow. Sometime two runne together with poles, & hitting one the other, eyther one or both doe fall, not without hurt; some break their armes, some their legs, but youth desirous of glorie, in this sort exerciseth it selfe against time of warre..."

Golf on snow or ice and classical golf (and perhaps hockey) may share a common ancestor in the Dutch game of "Kolf", played since the Middle Ages. During the Little Ice Age of the 16C and 17C, it was also played on frozen canals, rivers, and lakes. Evidence for Kolf as a popular winter pastime can be seen in numerous 17C paintings. There is also evidence that golf was practiced on snow and ice in Scotland. There was a very active trade between the Dutch and the ports on the east coast of Scotland from the 14C through 17C. Some scholars suggest that Dutch sailors brought the game to the east coast of Scotland.

Sports & Games - Woman Fishing in 1600

Crispin de Passe (1565-1637), The Four Elements, after drawings by Maarten de Vos (1532-1603),  c. 1600. Water

17C Men, Women, & Children Celebrating at a Local Tavern or Inn Garden Terrace

This gathering is taking place on one of the little garden terraces, that tavern owners began to attach to their inns during this period for the use of the general populace.  Dutch artist Jan Steen (1626-1569) is best known for his upbeat genre paintings depicting scenes from everyday life. 

Jan Steen (Dutch artist, 1626-1679) Celebrating on a Garden Terrace

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.  

Sunday, October 23, 2016

16C & 17C Elites gather for a concert in a large Formal Garden

Gardens were the scene of outdoor amusements & recreation in the centuries before public pleasure gardens blossomed on both sides of the Atlantic.  For recreation, elites enjoyed promenading, especially in a public place, to meet or to be seen & admired by others.


Attributed to Louis de Caullery (Dutch-Flemish artist, 1555-1622) In the Park of a Classic Palace

Louis de Caullery (Dutch-Flemish artist, 1555-1622) also known as Luis de Koller, Luis de Kaulleri, Louis de Coulery, specialized in genre, allegory, architecture, & landscape painting.  Like many Flemish artists of the period, he had traveled to & worked in Italy. A circle of like-minded artists gathered around him in Antwerp, painting scenes of banquets, balls, carnivals, & other celebrations often in gardens. The architecture & the parterres of the gardens are precisely drawn, often in skillfully telescoped perspective.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Sports & Games - Brawling - 17C Outside a Local Tavern or Inn

Outdoor spaces were the scene of amusements & even occasional fights at everyday inns & taverns in the centuries before more refined 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.  
Pieter Angillis (Flemish, 1685-1734) Peasants Brawling outside a local Tavern

Friday, October 21, 2016

16C & 17C Elites at The Escorial, near Madrid,

Royal 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 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.


Attributed to Louis de Caullery (Dutch-Flemish artist, 1555-1622) In the Gardens at The Escorial, near Madrid, Spain. Note: Few, if any, women are depicted on the lower level immediately in front of the entrance to The Escorial, and few are on the upper level.

Louis de Caullery (Dutch-Flemish artist, 1555-1622) also known as Luis de Koller, Luis de Kaulleri, Louis de Coulery, specialized in genre, allegory, architecture, & landscape painting.  Like many Flemish artists of the period, he had traveled to & worked in Italy. A circle of like-minded artists gathered around him in Antwerp, painting scenes of banquets, balls, carnivals, & other celebrations often in gardens. The architecture & the parterres of the gardens are precisely drawn, often in skillfully telescoped perspective.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

17C Dancing on a Local Tavern or Inn's Garden Terrace

Outdoor spaces were the scene of amusements & recreation at everyday inns & taverns in the centuries before more dignified 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.   
Jan Steen (Dutch artist, 1626-1679) The Dancing Couple 1663

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Before Public Gardens & Parks - 16C & 17C Elites celebratng with Music & Food in a Private Garden

Exclusive gardens & garden terraces 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 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.


Attributed to Louis de Caullery (Dutch-Flemish artist, 1555-1622) Dining in a Garden

Louis de Caullery (Dutch-Flemish artist, 1555-1622) also known as Luis de Koller, Luis de Kaulleri, Louis de Coulery, specialized in genre, allegory, architecture, & landscape painting.  Like many Flemish artists of the period, he had traveled to & worked in Italy. A circle of like-minded artists gathered around him in Antwerp, painting scenes of banquets, balls, carnivals, & other celebrations often in gardens. The architecture & the parterres of the gardens are precisely drawn, often in skillfully telescoped perspective.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Before Public Gardens & Parks - 17C Locals Enjoying Dinner & Music Dinner on a Tavern or Inn's Garden Terrace

Outdoor spaces were the scene of amusements & recreation at everyday inns & taverns in the centuries before more dignified 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.  
Jan Steen (Dutch artist, 1626-1679) A Meal & Music under the Inn's Garden Arbor 1650