Tuesday, May 24, 2011


In his book on Colonial American English, Richard Lederer reports that the term "fire and candle" meant the home or to keep a home in the 17th-century British American colonies.

A 1683 New York petition for a new charter stated,

"And if any ffreeman should bee absent out of the Citty a space of Twelve moneths and not keep fire and candle and pay Scott and lott should lose his freedom."

In 1696, part of the verdict in the case of Ann Richbell against the people of Rye, New York, stated,

"The Pattent with the rest of Papers needful Given to the Jury, and the Sheriffe sworn to Keepe them from fire & candles & etc untill they bringe in their verdict."

The term probably evolved from the definition of curfew, which was the name of a law, established during the reign of the English king, William, the conqueror, by which the people were commanded to dispense with fire and candle at eight o'clock at night.

The law was abolished in the reign of Henry I, but afterwards it signified the time at which the curfew formerly took place. The word curfew is derived, probably, from couvre few, or cover fire.

Colonial American English; Words and Phrases Found in Colonial Writing, now Archaic, Obscure, Obsolete, or Whose Meanings Have Changed. Richard M. Lederer, Jr. A Verbatim Book, Essex, Connecticut. 1985.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Hoping for a Brighter Tomorrow

Edgar Maxence (French, 1871-1954) Two Angels

I can't seem to get my geese to flock at all today. In fact, it has been days, since I got them to flock properly.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

A Little Lonely

Frederick Childe Hassam (American painter, 1859-1935). The Victorian Chair 1906

Sunday, May 1, 2011

1797 - Another 18th-Century Family Portrait & the Wife's Proper Place

Francesco Renaldi (Italian artist, 1755-1798) Portrait of Thomas Jones (1742-1803) and his Family. 1797

The subject of this painting Thomas Jones (1742-1803) was born into privilege and entitlement in Radnorshire, Wales, of a wealthy land-owning family. He enjoyed an early career painting landscapes. When he was 34 in 1776, he left for Italy, returning to London in 1784. In 1787, he inherited the Pencerrig, the family estate near Builth Wells in Wales.

Here, Jones is shown at his estate Pencerrig as the country squire and landscape painter. Well-schooled daughters Anna Maria and Elizabetha are at the spinet, as one plays the instrument. Here the artist portrays the ideal Welsh gentry family, concealing the fact both daughters were born in Italy, before Jones married their mother Maria who was his housekeeper. In this portrayal, the wife Maria is shown at a spinning wheel, which is rare in these gentry family paintings. It is clear that she is not the equal of her husband, or even of her daughters. She is still "the housekeeper."

The artist Francesco Renaldi (1755-1798) was an Italian painter of conversation pieces and history paintings. He trained at the Royal Academy Schools but returned to Italy in 1781, and subsequently worked in India.