Friday, November 25, 2016

Before Public Gardens & Parks - Skittles 17C

Skittles by Peter Rollos (active 1619-1639), The Centre of Love 1687. Many of the cities of this period had been designed to protect their inhabitants from hostile attacks & were built on plateaus often surrounded by walls. This greatly reduced the areas where ball games requiring a great distance could be played. Consequently, many games became miniaturized, played in small enclosures or courtyards.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Before Public Gardens & Parks - Sports & Games - A Special Field for Skittles & Golf 17C

Adriaen van de Venne (Dutch artist, 1589-1662) Golf Party 

Outdoor spaces near local inns & taverns were often the scene of neighborhood recreation in the centuries, before more dedicated grounds & public gardens blossomed on both sides of the Atlantic. Before the advent of public pleasure gardens & parks, elites usually gathered together in more exclusive private spaces.  Public parks & pleasure gardens & dedicated sports grounds became places to meet folks from a broader spectrum of society's classes including elites. 

Sunday, November 20, 2016

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).

Saturday, November 19, 2016

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, November 18, 2016

Sports & Games - Golf & Women - Mary Queen of Scots 1542-1587 to 19C

The earliest painting I can find of a woman actually playing golf, or attempting to learn is from the 1600s.
1600s "Madam, please keep your eye on the ball!"  The 1st kolf lesson. Flemish painting by unknown artist.

The first documented mention of golf in Scotland appears in a 1457 (and again in 1471 & 1491) Acts of the Scottish Parliament, prohibiting the playing of of gowf as a distraction from archery practice for military purposes. Mary, Queen of Scots (1542-1587), also known as Mary Stuart or Mary I of Scotland, reigned over Scotland from December 1542 to July 1567. Mary, the only surviving legitimate child of King James V of Scotland, was 6 days old when her father died, and she acceded to the throne. She spent most of her childhood in France, while Scotland was ruled by regents. In 1558, she married the Dauphin of France, Francis. He ascended the French throne as King Francis II in 1559; and Mary briefly became queen consort of France, until his death in December 1560. Widowed, Mary, who had played golf in France, returned to Scotland, arriving in August 1561.  She got a cottage near the new golf course at St Andrews. It is believed that Mary Stuart, an avid golfer, coined the term “caddie” by calling her assistants “cadets.” Her closest friends in Scotland were her 4 ladies-in-waiting, also named Mary, one of whom was Mary Seton. According to tradition, the queen lost in match play to Mary Seton at Musselburgh awarding her a necklace as a prize. Mary was continually outdoors exercising, at hunting, hawking, and archery, or playing a French lawn bowling game called pall mall, and, of course, golf. She usually spent 3 hours a day on horseback, and wore serge breeches under her skirts; so that she could ride astride rather than sidesaddle, which disconcerted macho Scottish lords. To further anger the local gentlemen, early in her reign she hosted an equestrian competition with a team of female knights competing against male knights to see who could score more points by spearing a ring suspended from a post. 

Unfortunately, she then wed her 1st cousin the drunken Henry Stuart (or Stewart), Duke of Albany but called Lord Darnley (1545-1567).  He was described as the "lustiest and best proportioned man" that Mary Queen of Scots had ever seen. 
Henry Stuart, Lord Darnley, King consort of Scotland

But Mary then launched a romantic alliance with James Hepburn (c 1534-1578), 4th Earl of Bothwell and 1st Duke of Orkney. The Scots refused to put up with the English-born Darnley, blowing up the castle where he was staying and strangling him in the garden in 1566. She was accused of being complicit in the murder, in order to marry Bothwell. 
James Hepburn (c 1534-1578), 4th Earl of Bothwell and 1st Duke of Orkney

After a series of dangerous revolts, the queen finally fled to England in 1568, where she was imprisoned and charges were brought against her. The lead accuser was her treacherous half-brother and rival, James Stewart, 1st Earl of Moray (c. 1531-1570), who offered as partial proof the fact that she had been seen on the golf links rather than in mourning: "A few days after the murder she passed to Seton, exercising her one day right openly at the fields with pall mall and golf," the charge read. This not only scandalized Scottish society and the church, but it raised questions about the propriety of women playing golf at all. Mary was deposed from her throne by chauvinist Scottish lords, and then beheaded by her rival Queen Elizabeth I. For more on Mary Stuart see: Sally Jenkins, Washington Post,  July 15, 2010

Several manuscript illustrations and prints show women playing some forms of early golf.
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)
Personification of Socordia. A woman with a beugelbal, a bushel and a ring lying at her feet. Engraving on paper manufactured by Heinrich Aldegrever 1502-1538 Germany

However, accurate records of women actually playing golf only begin to appear in the 19C: 
1811 - On January 9, the 1st known women’s golf tournament is held at Musselburgh Golf Club, Scotland, among the town fishwives.

1867 - St. Andrew's in Scotland is the 1st ladies golf club.

1890 - Miss Carrie Low & John Reid defeat Mrs. Reid and John Upham in golf's 1st mixed foursome at St Andrew's golf club in NY.

1891 -The Shinnecock Hills Golf Club on Long Island opens its doors to women. Golf proved so popular that the club opened a 9-hole course for women 2 years later.

1893 - Formation of the Ladies Golf Union which sponsors the 1st British Ladies' championship, won by Lady Margaret Scott.

1893 - A woman invents the First Golf Handicap. Londoner Issette Miller helped develop one of the earliest golf handicap systems which levels the playing field between competitors of different abilities & experience.

1894 - The 1st ladies golf tournament in the United States is held on the 7-hole Morristown, NJ course on Oct 17-1894. Miss Hollard A. Ford won with a 97 scored on the double-7, 14 strokes under her nearest rival.

1894 - The first Australian women's national golf championship is held.

1895 - The first Women's Amateur Golf championship in the United States is contested among 13 golfers at the Meadow Brook Club, Hempstead, N.Y., on Nov. 9. The match is won by Mrs. Charles S. Brown with a 132 & the runner-up is Nellie Sargent.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

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, November 16, 2016

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.  

Sunday, November 13, 2016

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.  

Saturday, November 12, 2016

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

Friday, November 11, 2016

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, November 9, 2016

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.

Outdoor spaces near local inns & taverns were often the scene of neighborhood recreation in the centuries, before more dedicated grounds & public gardens blossomed on both sides of the Atlantic. Before the advent of public pleasure gardens & parks, elites usually gathered together in more exclusive private spaces.  Public parks & pleasure gardens & dedicated sports grounds became places to meet folks from a broader spectrum of society's classes including elites. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

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, before the siege in 1577.

Monday, November 7, 2016

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.  

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Before Public Gardens & Parks - Sports & Games - Golf ? - 15C

The hockey-like game of Crosse/Chole/Kolf. Book of Hours, Les Heurs de Romme. By Simon Vostre for Philippe Pigouchet. Paris 1498

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Before Public Gardens & Parks - 16C Elites celebrate Spring in a 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) Allegory of the Month of April 

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, November 4, 2016

Before Public Gardens & Parks - Sports & Games - Bowling at the 17C Public Tavern or Inn

Outdoor Sports with balls (and often sticks) were played by young & old alike, at everyday inns & taverns; at elegant castles; & at dedicated spaces in local communities for centuries before more gentrified commercial public pleasure gardens & public parks blossomed on both sides of the Atlantic. 


David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690) A Game of Bowls outside the local tavern.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Before Public Gardens & Parks - Sports & Games - Archery - At a 17C Local Tavern or Inn

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

Dedicated outdoor public areas in local towns & communities were the scene of amusements & recreation like archery 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.

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

Before Public Gardens & Parks - Sports & Games - Archery - 15C Festival

This festival includes the elites and the local townsfolk, as well. Local 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. 
Unknown Flemish Master.  An Archery Festival 1493

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Before Public Gardens & Parks - Archery - 17C Town Space

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