Friday, March 31, 2017

1667 Samuel Pepys visits Spring Gardens/Vauxhall

Samuel Pepys (1633-1703) painted by J. Hayls (1600-1679) in 1666 

From Samuel Pepys Diary, May 1667,

"A great deal of company, and the weather and garden pleasant: and it is very pleasant and cheap going thither, for a man may go to spend what he will, or nothing, all as one. But to hear the nightingale and other birds, and hear fiddles, and there a harp, and here a Jew's trump, and here laughing, and there fine people walking, is mighty divertising. Among others, there were two pretty women alone, that walked a great while, which being discovered by some idle gentlemen, they would needs take them up; but to see the poor ladies how they were put to it to run from them, and they after them, and sometimes the ladies put themselves along with other company, then the other drew back; at last, the last did get off out of the house, and took boat and away. I was troubled to see them abused so; and could have found in my heart, as little desire of fighting as I have, to have protected the ladies."

Vauxhall Gardens was a public pleasure garden on the south bank of the River Thames accessed by boat from London until the erection of Vauxhall Bridge in the 1810s. It was one of the leading venues for public entertainment in London, from the mid-17C-mid-19C. Originally known as "New Spring Gardens," the site is believed to have opened before the Restoration of 1660, with the 1st known mention being made by Samuel Pepys in 1662. The then name distinguished the gardens from the Old Spring Gardens at Charing Cross; however Pepys implies that there were both Old & New Spring Gardens at Vauxhall. Spring Gardens appears to have been a longstanding appellation for a variety of entertainment enterprises. The Gardens consisted of several acres of trees & shrubs with attractive walks. Initially entrance was free, with food & drink being sold to support the venture. The Gardens drew all manner of people & supported enormous crowds, with its sheltered paths being noted for romantic assignations. 

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

1665 Early London Gardens & Spas, Wells, & Baths for Health - including Spring Gardens - Vauxhall

Warwick Wroth. London Pleasure Gardens. New York: The MacMillan Co., 1896.

"An entry in the diary of Samuel Pepys records how on the 7th of June, 1665, "the hottest day that ever I felt in my life," he took water to the Spring Garden at Fox-hall and there stayed, pleasantly walking, and spending but sixpence, till nine at night. The garden that he visited was that which formed the nucleus of those Vauxhall Gardens which, seventy or eighty years later, became the most favoured summer resort of pleasure-seeking Londoners. Vauxhall with its great concourse of high and low, its elaborate concerts, its lamps and brightly painted supper-boxes, is far removed from the simple garden in which Mr. Pepys delighted to ramble, but not only Vauxhall, but several other pleasure gardens of the eighteenth century may be traced to comparatively humble beginnings in the period between the Restoration and the reign of Anne.

"Several London pleasure gardens were in existence before the Restoration, the Mulberry Garden on the site of Buckingham Palace and the Spring Gardens at Charing Cross...The musical entertainments that afterwards became a feature of the principal gardens were originally of little account. The Wells of Lambeth (1697) and Hampstead (1701) provided a concert of some pretensions, but Mr. Pepys at the Spring Garden was content with the harmony of a harp, a fiddle, and a Jew's trump...


"In...central London, (the garden visitor) would find himself in the open fields and in a region abounding in mineral springs. Islington Spa (1684-1840) and its opposite neighbour Sadler's Wells (from 1683) had chalybeate springs that claimed to rival the water ("so mightily cry'd up") of Tunbridge Wells in Kent, and if the water itself was unpalatable, the adjoining pleasure gardens and Long Rooms, with their gay company, tended to make the drinking of medicinal water both pleasant and seductive. At no great distance from Sadler's Wells were the Wells of Bagnigge (from 1759), the London Spa (from 1685), St. Chad's Well, and Pancras Wells (from circ. 1697); and a walk to Old Street would be rewarded by a plunge in the clear waters of the Peerless Pool, or by a basket of carp and tench caught in the fish pond close by."

Monday, March 27, 2017

1661 Vauxhall Chronology


Vauxhall Gardens was a public pleasure garden on the south bank of the River Thames accessed by boat from London until the erection of Vauxhall Bridge in the 1810s. It was one of the leading venues for public entertainment in London, from the mid-17C-mid-19C. Originally known as "New Spring Gardens," the site is believed to have opened before the Restoration of 1660, with the 1st known mention being made by Samuel Pepys in 1662. The then name distinguished the gardens from the Old Spring Gardens at Charing Cross; however Pepys implies that there were both Old & New Spring Gardens at Vauxhall. Spring Gardens appears to have been a longstanding appellation for a variety of entertainment enterprises. The Gardens consisted of several acres of trees & shrubs with attractive walks. Initially entrance was free, with food & drink being sold to support the venture. The new name Vauxhall Gardens, long in popular use, was made official in 1785, & admission was charged for its many attractions. The Gardens drew all manner of people & supported enormous crowds, with its sheltered paths being noted for romantic assignations. Tightrope walkers, hot-air balloon ascents, concerts, & fireworks provided entertainment. The rococo "Turkish tent" became one of the Gardens' structures, the interior of the Rotunda became one of Vauxhall's most viewed attractions, & the chinoiserie style was a feature of several buildings. It closed in 1840, after its owners suffered bankruptcy, but re-opened in 1841. It changed hands in 1842, & was permanently closed in 1859.
Vauxhall French print of the Water Cascade at Vauxhall Gardens, c 1750

Vauxhall Gardens in the 1600s


c.1615 Estate owned by John & Jane Vaux, vintners

1643/4 Civil War fortifications at Vauxhall

1661  2 July: John Evelyn's first visit to 'the New Spring Garden at Lambeth, a pretty contrived plantation.'

1662  29 May: First of many visits by Samuel Pepys

Samuel Pepys records 24 separate visits to the New Spring Gardens, Vaux-hall in his diary, the 1st on 29th May 1662.  Pepys details Vauxhall as little more than a country ale-house with a garden approached by boat across the river Thames. It had walks, flowerbeds & arbors. The refreshments were basic an & many visitors' supplied their own picnics.  Entertainment seemed to be provided by freelance performers or by the visitors themselves. It was a place where a citizen could take his wife & children to enjoy an evening out with food, drink, & informal entertainment in a large garden, an activity previously the privilege of royalty, courtiers, and aristocrats. However famliy friendly this early garden was, its main attraction seemed to be that it offered a setting where the sexes could meet freely, without many of the constraints that normally circumscribed the socialising between young men & young women in polite society.

1663 Balthazar Monconys visit

1688 Pontack's superior 'ordinary' or eating house opened, Christ Church Passage

1694 Pre 3 September: 'Great Spring Garden' put up for sale by Mrs. Elizabeth Plant

For much more, see Vauxhall Gardens, by David E. Coke, Alan Borg, published in 2011 by Yale University Press

Saturday, March 25, 2017

1661-1859 Vauxhall Bibliography

Dancing to the Orchestra at Vauxhall

Vauxhall Gardens did not close until July 1859, after almost 2 centuries as a hugely successful business. It underwent many changes in its architecture, its attractions, & its audience, during just 3 main periods of about 70 years each – the 1st ("New Spring Garden") from 1661-1728, the 2nd ("Tyers Years"), from 1729-1792 owned and managed by 2 generations of 1 family, and the 3rd from 1793-1859 ("Capitalistic Mass Entertainment"), when it was transformed from an elegant, fashionable rendezvous into a more populist commercial venue for balloon flights, fireworks, circus performers, musicians, & other spectacular entertainments.

Allen, Brian, 'Francis Hayman and the Supper-box Paintings for Vauxhall Gardens'. The Rococo in England: A Symposium, Ed. Charles Hind. London: Victoria & Albert Museum, 1986, pp.113–133

Allen, Brian, Francis Hayman New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1987

de Bolla, Peter, The Education of the Eye Stanford, California: Stanford University Press, 2003. Chapter 2 - 'Vauxhall Gardens: The Visibility of Visuality'.

Caulfield, Penelope, J., Vauxhall Sex and Entertainment: London's Pioneering Urban Pleasure Garden London, History and Social Action Publications, 2012

Coke, David, and Borg, Alan, Vauxhall Gardens: a History, Yale University Press, 2011

Conan, Michael ed, Bourgeois and Aristocratic Cultural Encounters in Garden Art, 1550–1850 Washington DC: Dumbarton Oaks Research Library and Collection, 2002. essay by Gregory Nosan  'Pavilions, Power, and Patriotism: Garden Architecture at Vauxhall'.'

Conlin, Jonathan, 'Vauxhall Revisited: The Afterlife of a London Pleasure Garden, 1770–1859' in The Journal of British Studies, 45 October 2006, pp. 718–743

Downing, Sarah Jane, The English Pleasure Garden 1660-1860 Oxford and New York, Shire Publications, 2009

Edelstein T.J., ed., Vauxhall Gardens, Exhibition Catalogue New Haven: Yale Center, 1983

Potter, Russell A., 'Icebergs at Vauxhall', Victorian Review, Vol. 36, No. 2. Fall, 2010 pp. 27-31

Scott, W.S., Green Retreats. The Story of Vauxhall Gardens 1661-1859 London: Odhams, 1955

Southworth, James Granville, Vauxhall Gardens: A Chapter in the Social History of England New York: Columbia University Press, 1941

Wroth, Warwick and Arthur Edgar, The London Pleasure Gardens of the Eighteenth Century London: Macmillan, 1896

Thursday, March 23, 2017

1661 Introduction to London's Vauxhall Gardens

The Grand Walk, Vauxhall Gardens, London, Canaletto (Italian artist, 1697-1768), c. 1751

Vauxhall Gardens did not close until July 1859, after almost 2 centuries as a hugely successful business. It underwent many changes in its architecture, its attractions, & its audience, during just 3 main periods of about 70 years each – the 1st (or "New Spring Garden" period) from 1661-1728, the 2nd ("Tyers Years"), from 1729-1792 when it was owned and managed by 2 generations of 1 family, and the 3rd from 1793-1859 (the "Capitalistic Mass Entertainment"), when it was transformed from an elegant, fashionable rendezvous into a more populist commercial venue for balloon flights, fireworks, circus performers, musicians, & other spectacular entertainments.

London & its surrounding villages boasted many open-air pleasure resorts of various sorts offering Londoners refreshments in pleasant surroundings & often included additional attractions of music, fireworks, games, ornamental fish ponds, & cascades. Pleasure gardens competed for visitors, vying with each other to offer evermore exciting entertainments. Vauxhall Gardens offered a wide variety of entertainment, including lion-tamers, trampoline clowns, fortune tellers, ventriloquists, monkeys, dogs, jugglers, horses who danced to a waltz & fire walkers.

Vauxhall Gardens opened to visitors in 1661, called New Spring Gardens. As well as providing an opportunity to parade the latest styles & see the latest entertainment, Vauxhall pleasure gardens provided fresh air for its visitors. Breathing fresh air & taking gentle exercise were thought to maintain good health, a matter that was a concern for all classes at that time. Visitors could combine this healthy exercise with meeting friends & family, seeing well-known society celebrities, or maybe even a meeting with a potential admirer.

Despite their elegant appearance, not everything was perfect in early pleasure gardens. Visitors often included both the highest in society, such as members of the royal family, as well as pickpockets & prostitutes. Women had to be careful of overly-friendly men, & watchmen were employed to try to stop the pickpockets. Samuel Pepys wrote in 1667, that there were "…young gallants misbehaving, breaching supper boxes uninvited and insulting the ladies."  Throughout the 18C, a certain air of sexual intrigue was associated with some of Vauxhall's remoter avenues, notably the Dark Walk, the Druid Walk, & the Lover's Walk. Prositutes often frequented these walks. London's pleasure gardens were sometimes depicted by contemporary observers, as places where a young lady's virtue could come under serious threat.

Despite potential dangers, it was to Ranelagh & Vauxhall that fashionable society went night after night by the thousands. Both resorts featured refreshments (said to be exorbitanly expensive) & music of high quaility as well as complicated fireworks displays.

The entertainments included music, ballet, spectacular stunts & the fireworks, but Vauxhall Gardens was immortalised by many of the contemporary writers for its fame as a venue for dining out & meeting people.

For beauty of situation & variety of elegant scenes, Vauxhall gardens could not be surpassed by any pleasure-ground in the England. It contained about 16 acres with a great number of small, delightful groves, & charming lawns, intersected by serpentine walks, which at every turn meet with sweet, shady bowers, furnished with handsome seats, some canopied by nature, others by art.

It was decorated with waterfalls, stone & thatched pavilions, a canal running through with 2 elegant cast-iron bridges thrown over it, after the manner of the Chinese. A sham castle was planted with several pieces of cannon, bowling greens, swings, thatched umbrellas as a shelter from sudden rains & storms.

In the middle of the garden were 2 semicircles which appeared like an amphitheatre, in which were placed a great number of small booths which could contain about 6 or 8 people apiece, where they could refresh themselves with sweetmeats, wine, tea, & coffee. The backs of these boxes or booths are adorned with curious paintings, all which were enlightened at the front with globes.

There were a number of walks winding throughout the gardens. Grand Walk led into the gardens from the main entrance, the South Walk featured triumphal arches, & two smaller lateral avenues led to other areas, all of which were transversed by the Grand Cross Walk. At the end of the walks, paintings extended the vistas. The area bounded by the Grand, South & Grand Cross walks was known as the Grove; where the orchestra occupied the center, surrounded by semicircular rows of supper-boxes.

Further reading
Coke, David and Alan Borg, Vauxhall Gardens 1661-1859, Yale University Press, 2011
Downing, Sarah J English, Pleasure Garden 1660-1860, Shire, 2009.
Scott, Walter, Green Rretreats; Story of Vauxhall Gardens, 1661–1859, Odhams Press, London, 1955
"A letter from a Foreigner to his friend in Paris", in The Gentleman's Magazine, Vol 12, August 1742.

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

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

Aert van der Neer, 1604-1677 IJsvermaak buiten de stadswal (ca. 1655)

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 Dutch game to the east coast of Scotland. 

Sunday, March 19, 2017

Sports & Games - 1620 Local Families Ice Skating & Golfing on Ice

1620 Arent Arentsz (Dutch, 1585-86 - 1631) Skaters on the Amstel 

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.

Friday, March 17, 2017

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

Hendrick Avercamp, 1585-1634 A Scene on the Ice (c 1615)

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 Dutch game to the east coast of Scotland. 

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Sports & Games - 1601-19C Skittles & Rackets & Fives at Prison

The raquet ground of the Fleet Prison as drawn by Augustus Pugin and Thomas Rowlandson for Ackermann's Microcosm of London (1808-11) Prisoners playing Fives and Skittles, and socializing. Those imprisoned here were found guilty of debt or contempt of court. Aquatint View of the inner court of the prison, with the prisoners playing rackets and skittles on the left, others standing watching, a number of men smoking pipes, others lounging across benches. 1807 The Fleet Prison stood on the eastern bank of the Fleet River, just outside the city walls. The prison burned down in the Great Fire of 1666, but rebuilt much as before, consisting of several long buildings (with 4 upper stories and a cellar) arranged around yards in which better-off prisoners could play rackets or skittles.

In its earliest form during the 18C, rackets was played in the open on the walls of the yards of the 2 main debtor's prisons in London, the King's Bench and the Fleet. Fleet Prison was mainly a debtors’ prison. William Penn was held there in 1707-1709 for debt. However, the prison also held political and religious prisoners. In 1601, the poet John Donne was imprisoned in it for marrying a woman without her father’s consent. Gentlemen, imprisoned until they could find the wherewithal to repay their creditors, amused themselves with many different activities around the prison yard. These included skittles, fives, which was played both with the hand and a bat, and some brought tennis rackets with them and improvised against any convenient wall, sometimes with no side walls and always without a back wall. Spectators as well as prison visitors often came to watch matches in the prisons.

Every year, the prisoners elected a Racket Master to run the sports activities here and this was apparently a hotly contested position. In 1841, 3 people were running against each other to win the position. One candidate noted that the “health of my fellow inmates is in some measure placed in the hands of the person appointed.”  Skittle Master was another bitterly contested post among the prisoners! 

Fleet was a profit-making enterprise. Nothing was free in prison. Food and lodging had to be paid for by the prisoner. There were fees for turning keys, fees for putting on of irons and fees for taking them off again. Even visitors had to pay fees. And the Fleet had the highest fees in the country. Prisoners with a trade such as tailoring might continue to work and earn while in captivity, but many others were reduced to begging. While the poorest prisoners languished in the cellar dungeons (known as Bartholomew Fair), those able to afford it could be lodged in large comfortable quarters on the Master's Side. The Fleet Prison management also supplemented its income by the provision of a prison tap room and coffee-room which were open to the public. The rackets court was also open to the public.

In 1842, parliament agreed to proceed with the demolition of the Fleet and transfer of all prisoners to the Queen’s Bench Prison. Some prisoners weren’t happy about this, especially as the Queen’s Bench ran a tougher regime. A song went thus: To racquets, skittles, whistling shops; We must soon say farewell; The Queen’s assent to her prison bill; Has rung their funeral knell

See: The History of Rackets

Monday, March 13, 2017

Before Public Gardens & Parks - Sports & Games - 17C Dutch Royals

Adriaen van de Velde (Dutch, 1636 - 1672) Maliebaen in Den Haag. The exiled 'Winter King', Frederick V, Elector Palatine, plays a scoring or positioning shot to the tall post marking the center of the mall.

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, March 12, 2017

Before Public Gardens & Parks - When the weather kept folks inside the 17C tavern...

David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690) attributed to Backgammon Players.  David Teniers II (Flemish artist, 1610-1690) was born in Antwerp and died in Brussels.  His father was an artist, but young David was the most important member of this family of Antwerp artists. His output was huge and varied (about 2,000 pictures have been attributed to him), but he is best known for his peasant scenes. In 1651, he was appointed court painter in Brussels to Archduke Leopold Wilhelm of Austria, governor of the Spanish Netherlands; and he was also made custodian of the archduke's art collection. He compiled a catalogue of part of it, published in 1660 as Theatrum Pictorium, and made small copies of some of the paintings to assist the engravers who produced the illustrations.

As many as eleven artists, all with the name Teniers and all from the same Flemish family, are known to have painted works now in the galleries of the world. The different members of the Teniers family copied each other's works, giving art historians a difficult task in identifying unprovenanced paintings with certainty. In addition, the popularity of their paintings encouraged numerous copies and forgeries to be made.
David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690) attributed to Peasants Making Music at an Inn


David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690) Cardplayers


David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690) follower Making Music in a Tavern


David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690) follower Playing Cards in a Tavern


David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690) follower Tavern Interior


David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690) follower Tavern Scene


David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690) Gambling at an Inn


David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690) Tric Trac Players

Friday, March 10, 2017

Before Public Gardens & Parks - Celebrating at a 16C Public Flemish Village Fair

From the school of Pieter Bruegel the elder (Flemish artist, 1525–1569) A Village Fair

A fair is an ancient tradition. Early Roman fairs were holidays during which the people did not work. In the Middle Ages, many fairs developed as temporary commercial markets, especially important for long-distance trade, where traders could buy & sell. These often were tied to a Christian religious occasion particularly the anniversary dedication of a local church or the feast day of the patron saint to whom the local church was dedicated. Some fairs were seasonal festivals, such as harvest celebrations. To these often religious-based commercial marketplaces townsfolk added processions, entertainment, and food & drink, as these early markets took on the aspect of modern-day fairs. Many communities have long had dedicated fairgrounds; others hold fairs in a variety of public places, including streets & town squares, and large gardens.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Before Public Gardens & Parks - Celebrating at the 1590s Public Village festival in Honor of Saint Hubert & Saint Anthony

1500s Brueghel, Pieter, the younger (Flemish artist, c.1564-1637-8)A Village Fair (Village festival in Honor of Saint Hubert and Saint Anthony)

A fair is an ancient tradition. Early Roman fairs were holidays during which the people did not work. In the Middle Ages, many fairs developed as temporary commercial markets, especially important for long-distance trade, where traders could buy & sell. These often were tied to a Christian religious occasion particularly the anniversary dedication of a local church or the feast day of the patron saint to whom the local church was dedicated. Some fairs were seasonal festivals, such as harvest celebrations. To these often religious-based commercial marketplaces townsfolk added processions, entertainment, and food & drink, as these early markets took on the aspect of modern-day fairs. Many communities have long had dedicated fairgrounds; others hold fairs in a variety of public places, including streets & town squares, and large gardens.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Before Public Gardens & Parks - Celebrating at the 1500s Public Village Fair

1500s Brueghel, Pieter, the younger (Flemish artist, c.1564-1637-8) Village Fair Festival.  

A fair is an ancient tradition. Early Roman fairs were holidays during which the people did not work. In the Middle Ages, many fairs developed as temporary commercial markets, especially important for long-distance trade, where traders could buy & sell. These often were tied to a Christian religious occasion particularly the anniversary dedication of a local church or the feast day of the patron saint to whom the local church was dedicated. Some fairs were seasonal festivals, such as harvest celebrations. To these often religious-based commercial marketplaces townsfolk added processions, entertainment, and food & drink, as these early markets took on the aspect of modern-day fairs. Many communities have long had dedicated fairgrounds; others hold fairs in a variety of public places, including streets & town squares, and large gardens.

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

Before Public Gardens & Parks - Celebrating at the 16C Public Flemish Village Fair

Isaac Claesz van Swanenburg (Dutch artist, 1537-1624) A Flemish Fair 

A fair is an ancient tradition. Early Roman fairs were holidays during which the people did not work. In the Middle Ages, many fairs developed as temporary commercial markets, especially important for long-distance trade, where traders could buy & sell. These often were tied to a Christian religious occasion particularly the anniversary dedication of a local church or the feast day of the patron saint to whom the local church was dedicated. Some fairs were seasonal festivals, such as harvest celebrations. To these often religious-based commercial marketplaces townsfolk added processions, entertainment, and food & drink, as these early markets took on the aspect of modern-day fairs. Many communities have long had dedicated fairgrounds; others hold fairs in a variety of public places, including streets & town squares, and large gardens.

Monday, March 6, 2017

Before Public Gardens & Parks - Celebrating at the 16C Public Village Fair

1590 Gillis Mostaert (1528–1598) Village Fair

A fair is an ancient tradition. Early Roman fairs were holidays during which the people did not work. In the Middle Ages, many fairs developed as temporary commercial markets, especially important for long-distance trade, where traders could buy & sell. These often were tied to a Christian religious occasion particularly the anniversary dedication of a local church or the feast day of the patron saint to whom the local church was dedicated. Some fairs were seasonal festivals, such as harvest celebrations. To these often religious-based commercial marketplaces townsfolk added processions, entertainment, and food & drink, as these early markets took on the aspect of modern-day fairs. Many communities have long had dedicated fairgrounds; others hold fairs in a variety of public places, including streets & town squares, and large gardens.

Sunday, March 5, 2017

Before Public Gardens & Parks - Celebrating at the 16C Annual Public Village Fair

1500s Hans Bol (Dutch artist, 1534-1593) Village Feast, Annual Fair

A fair is an ancient tradition. Early Roman fairs were holidays during which the people did not work. In the Middle Ages, many fairs developed as temporary commercial markets, especially important for long-distance trade, where traders could buy & sell. These often were tied to a Christian religious occasion particularly the anniversary dedication of a local church or the feast day of the patron saint to whom the local church was dedicated. Some fairs were seasonal festivals, such as harvest celebrations. To these often religious-based commercial marketplaces townsfolk added processions, entertainment, and food & drink, as these early markets took on the aspect of modern-day fairs. Many communities have long had dedicated fairgrounds; others hold fairs in a variety of public places, including streets & town squares, and large gardens.

Saturday, March 4, 2017

Before Public Gardens & Parks - Celebrating at the 16C Public Village Feast of St George

Gillis Mostaert (1528–1598) Feast of St George

A fair is an ancient tradition. Early Roman fairs were holidays during which the people did not work. In the Middle Ages, many fairs developed as temporary commercial markets, especially important for long-distance trade, where traders could buy & sell. These often were tied to a Christian religious occasion particularly the anniversary dedication of a local church or the feast day of the patron saint to whom the local church was dedicated. Some fairs were seasonal festivals, such as harvest celebrations. To these often religious-based commercial marketplaces townsfolk added processions, entertainment, and food & drink, as these early markets took on the aspect of modern-day fairs. Many communities have long had dedicated fairgrounds; others hold fairs in a variety of public places, including streets & town squares, and large public gardens.