Friday, November 11, 2016

1675 The Gentlewoman's Companion: or, A Guide to the Female Sex: Proper Recreation - Reading, Music, Dance, Drawing, & Perhaps Plays

Wenceslaus Hollar (European-born English artist, 1607-1677) Duchess of Lennox 1645.

Hannah Woolley. The Gentlewoman's Companion: or, A Guide to the Female Sex. London, A Maxwell for Edward Thomas, Bookseller. 1675.

What Recreations and Pleasures are most fitting and proper for young Gentlewomen.

Recreations which are most proper and suitable to Ladies, may be rankt under four principal heads, Musick, Dancing, Limning and Reading.


Of Dancing...the mode and humour of these times look upon it not only as a generous and becoming property, but look upon Gentility illbred if not thorowly acquainted therewith; and to speak the truth it is the best and readiest way to put the body into a graceful posture; behaviour must of necessity halt without it; and how will you blush when you come into a mixt society, where each person strives to shew her utmost art and skill in Dancing, and you for the want thereof must stand still and appear like one whose body was well framed but wanted motion, or a soul to actuate it.


In the next place, Musick is without doubt an excellent quality; the ancient Philosophers were of the opinion, that Souls were made of Harmony's and that that Man or woman could not be virtuously inclined who loved not Musick; wherefore without it a Lady or Gentlewoman can hardly be said to be absolutely accomplished.


Limning is an excellent qualification for a Gentlewoman to exercise and please her fance therein. There are many foreign Ladies that are excellent Artists herein; neither are there wanting Examples enough in his Majesty's three Kingdoms of such Gentlewomen, whose indesatigable industry in this jaudable and ingenious Art, may run parallel with such as make it their profession.


Some may add Stage plays as a proper recreation for Gentlewomen; as to that they have the consent of Parents or Governess, I shall leave them to make use of their own liberty, as they shall think convenient.


I am not ignorant that Stage-plays have been much envy'd at, and not without just cause; yet most certain it is, that by a wise use, and a right application of many things we hear and see contain'd therein, we may meet with many excellent precepts for instruction, and sundry great Examples for caution, and such notable passages, which being well applied (as what may not be perverted) will confer no small profit to the cautious and judicious Hearers. Edward the Sixth the Reformer of the English Church, did so much approve of Plays, that he appointed a Courtier eminent for wit and fancy to be the chief Officer in supervising, ordering, and disposing what should be acted or represented before his Majesty; which Office at this time retains the name of Master of the Revels. Queen Elizabeth, that incomparable Virtuous Princess, was pleased to term Plays the harmless Spenders of time, and largely contributed to the maintenance of the Authors and Actors of them.


But if the moderate recourse of Gentlewomen to Plays may be excused, certainly the daily and constant frequenting them, is as much to be condemned.
There are an hundred divertisements harmless enough, which a young Lady may find out, suitable to her, inclination; but give me leave to find out one for her which hath the attendance of profit as well as pleasure and that is Reading.

Mistake me not; I mean the reading of Books whose subjects are noble and honourable. There are some in these later days so Stoical, that they will not allow any Books to Womankind, but such as may teach them to read, and the Bible. The most severe of them do willingly permit young Gentlewomen to converse with wise and learned men; I know not then by what strange nicety they would keep them from reading their Works. There are a sort of Religious men in foreign parts, who do not debar the people from knowing there is a Bible; yet they prohibit them from looking into it.


I would sain ask these sowre Stoicks what can be desired for the ornament of the mind, which is not largely contain'd and exprest in Books? Where Virtue is to be seen in all her lovely and glorious dresses, and Truth discovered in what manner soever it is desired. We may behold it in all its force, in the Philosophers; with all its purity in faithful Historians; with all its beauty and ornaments in golden-tonu'd Orators, and ingenious Poets.


In this pleasing variety (whatsoever your humour be) you may find matter for delectation and information. Reading is of most exquisite and requisire use, it for nothing but this that these dumb Teachers instruct impartially. Beauty, as well as Royalty, is constantly attended with more flatterers than true informers. To discover and acknowledg their faults, it is necessary that they sometimes learn of the dead what the living either dare not or are loth to tell them. Books are the true discoverers of the mind's imperfections, as a glass the faults of their face, herein shall they find Judges that cannot be corrupted with love or hate. The fair and the foul are both alike treated, having to do with such who have no other eyes but to put a diffeence betwen Virtue and Vice. In perswading you to read, I do not advise you should read all Books; advise with persons of understanding in your choice of Books; and fancy not their quantity for quality but quality. For why should ye seek that in many which you may find in one? The Sun, whilst in our Hemisphere needs no other light but its own to illuminate the World. One Book may serve for a Library. The reading of few Books, is not to be less knowing, but to be the less troubled.
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Veteran's Day

Armistice Day is commemorated every year on November 11 to mark the armistice signed between the Allies of World War I & Germany at Compi├Ęgne, France, for the cessation of hostilities on the Western Front of World War I, which took effect at 11 o'clock in the morning—the "11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month" of 1918. In the U.S., Veterans Day is subtly different from that of other 11 November observances. Instead of specifically honoring war dead, Veterans Day honors all American veterans living & dead. The official national remembrance of those killed in action is Memorial Day, originally called "Decoration Day." from the practice of holding parades featuring veterans wearing their military decorations, which originated in the years immediately following the American Civil War.


World War I – known at the time as “The Great War” - officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed on June 28, 1919, in the Palace of Versailles outside the town of Versailles, France. However, fighting ceased seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations & Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month. For that reason, November 11, 1918, is generally regarded as the end of “the war to end all wars.”

In November 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day with the following words: "To us in America, the reflections of Armistice Day will be filled with solemn pride in the heroism of those who died in the country’s service & with gratitude for the victory, both because of the thing from which it has freed us & because of the opportunity it has given America to show her sympathy with peace & justice in the councils of the nations…"



The original concept for the celebration was for a day observed with parades & public meetings & a brief suspension of business beginning at 11:00 a.m.

The United States Congress officially recognized the end of World War I when it passed a concurrent resolution on June 4, 1926, with these words:

Whereas the 11th of November 1918, marked the cessation of the most destructive, sanguinary, & far reaching war in human annals & the resumption by the people of the United States of peaceful relations with other nations, which we hope may never again be severed, &
Whereas it is fitting that the recurring anniversary of this date should be commemorated with thanksgiving & prayer & exercises designed to perpetuate peace through good will & mutual understanding between nations; &
Whereas the legislatures of twenty-seven of our States have already declared November 11 to be a legal holiday: Therefore be it Resolved by the Senate (the House of Representatives concurring), that the President of the United States is requested to issue a proclamation calling upon the officials to display the flag of the United States on all Government buildings on November 11 & inviting the people of the United States to observe the day in schools & churches, or other suitable places, with appropriate ceremonies of friendly relations with all other peoples.


An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved May 13, 1938, made the 11th of November in each year a legal holiday—a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace & to be thereafter celebrated & known as "Armistice Day." Armistice Day was primarily a day set aside to honor veterans of World War I, but in 1954, after World War II had required the greatest mobilization of soldiers, sailors, Marines & airmen in the Nation’s history; after American forces had fought aggression in Korea, the 83rd Congress, at the urging of the veterans service organizations, amended the Act of 1938 by striking out the word "Armistice" & inserting in its place the word "Veterans." With the approval of this legislation (Public Law 380) on June 1, 1954, November 11th became a day to honor American veterans of all wars.

Later that same year, on October 8th, US President Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the 1st "Veterans Day Proclamation" which stated: "In order to insure proper & widespread observance of this anniversary, all veterans, all veterans' organizations, & the entire citizenry will wish to join hands in the common purpose. Toward this end, I am designating the Administrator of Veterans' Affairs as Chairman of a Veterans Day National Committee, which shall include such other persons as the Chairman may select, & which will coordinate at the national level necessary planning for the observance. I am also requesting the heads of all departments & agencies of the Executive branch of the Government to assist the National Committee in every way possible." They suggested that Veterans Day be celebrated in conjunction with a weekend, giving some workers a long 3-day holiday. The American public did not like moving the day from the specific November 11th date.

On September 20th, 1975, US President Gerald R. Ford signed Public Law 94-97 (89 Stat. 479), which returned the annual observance of Veterans Day to its original date of November 11, beginning in 1978. This action supported the desires of the overwhelming majority of state legislatures, all major veterans service organizations & the American people. In the United States, Veterans Day continues to be observed on November 11, regardless of what day of the week on which it falls. The restoration of the observance of Veterans Day to November 11 not only preserves the historical significance of the date, but helps focus attention on the important purpose of Veterans Day: A celebration to honor America's veterans for their patriotism, love of country, & willingness to serve & sacrifice for the common good.

Madonnas attributed to Fra Angelico 1387-1455

Attributed to Fra Angelico (Italian painter, 1387-1455) Madonna & Child

Attributed to Fra Angelico (Italian painter, 1387-1455) Madonna of Humility 1430


Attributed to Fra Angelico (Italian painter, 1387-1455) Madonna & Child

Attributed to Fra Angelico (Italian painter, 1387-1455) Madonna and Child


Attributed to Fra Angelico (Italian painter, 1387-1455) Adoration of the Magi 1433

Attributed to Fra Angelico (Italian painter, 1387-1455) Virgin and Child


Attributed to Fra Angelico (Italian painter, 1387-1455) Nativity 1441


Attributed to Fra Angelico (Italian painter, 1387-1455) Madonna & Child with Angels 1425


Attributed to Fra Angelico (Italian painter, 1387-1455) The Virgin Mary 1437


Attributed to Fra Angelico (Italian painter, 1387-1455) Virgin and Child


Attributed to Fra Angelico (Italian painter, 1387-1455) Adoration of the Magi 1434

Attributed to Fra Angelico (Italian painter, 1387-1455) Adoration of the Magi 1440


Attributed to Fra Angelico (Italian painter, 1387-1455) Madonna and Child 1433


Attributed to Fra Angelico (Italian painter, 1387-1455) Madonna and Child with Saints Dominic and Thomas Aquinas c 1424

Attributed to Fra Angelico (Italian painter, 1387-1455) Madonna and Child Surrounded by Angels and Saints


Attributed to Fra Angelico (Italian painter, 1387-1455) Annalena Altarpiece 1437

Attributed to Fra Angelico (Italian painter, 1387-1455) Madonna and Child of the Grapes 1425


Attributed to Fra Angelico (Italian painter, 1387-1455) Madonna delle Ombre 1450


Attributed to Fra Angelico (Italian painter, 1387-1455) Fiesole Altarpiece Detail 1428-30

Attributed to Fra Angelico (Italian painter, 1387-1455) Saint Peter Martyr Triptych 1428


Attributed to Fra Angelico (Italian painter, 1387-1455) Madonna and Child


Attributed to Fra Angelico (Italian painter, 1387-1455) Madonna Surrounded by Angels 1429


Attributed to Fra Angelico (Italian painter, 1387-1455) Madonna and Child


Attributed to Fra Angelico (Italian painter, 1387-1455) San Marco Altarpiece - Madonna with Child, Saints, and Crucifixion


In this blog, I try to begin each day with a painting of the Madonna & Child. It centers me; connects me to the past; & encourages me to post some of the religious paintings which were a large part of the core of early Western art.  In the 4C, as the Christian population was rapidly growing & was now supported by the state, Christian art evolved & became grander to suit new, enlarged public spaces & the changing contemporary tastes of elite private clients.