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

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Richard Frethorne's 1623 Letter from Virginia to His Mother and Father

Loveing and kind father and mother

my most humble duty remembered to you hopeing in God of your good health, as I my selfe am at the makeing hereof, this is to let you understand that I your Child am in a most heavie Case by reason of the nature of the Country is such that it Causeth much sicknes ...

and when wee are sicke there is nothing to comfort us; for since I came out of the ship, I never at anie thing but pease, and loblollie (water gruell) as for deare or venison I never saw anie since I came into this land there is indeed some foule, but Wee are not allowed to goe, and get yt, but must Worke hard both earelie, and late for a messe of water gruell, and a mouthfull of bread, and beife.

a mouthfull of bread for a pennie loafe must serve for 4 men which is most pitifull if you did knowe as much as I, when people crie out day, and night, Oh that they were in England without their lymbes and would not care to loose anie lymbe to bee in England againe, yea though they beg from doore to doore...

I have nothing at all, no not a shirt to my backe, but two Ragges nor no Clothes, but one poore suite, nor but one paire of shooes, but one paire of stockins, but one Capp, but two bands, my Cloke is stollen by one of my owne fellowes, and to his dying hower would not tell mee what he did with it...but I am not halfe a quarter so strong as I was in England, and all is for want of victualls, for I doe protest unto you, that I have eaten more in a day at home than I have allowed me here for a Weeke. . .

O that you did see may daylie and hourelie sighes, grones, and teares, and thumpes that I afford mine owne brest, and rue and Curse the time of my birth with holy Job. I thought no head had beene able to hold so much water as hath and doth dailie flow from mine eyes.

Richard Frethorne Martins Hundred.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

1603 English Pamphlet - Delights for Ladies to adorn their persons, tables, closets and distillaries

17C English portrait of Lady Aston

A white beauty for the face:
The jaw bones of a Hogge or Sow well burnt, beaten and sieved, and after ground upon a serpentine stone is an excellent beauty, being laid on with the oyle of white poppey


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.