The English Tradition of Woodworking

THE sense of a consecutive tradition has so completely faded out of English art that it has become difficult to realise the meaning of tradition, or the possibility of its ever again reviving; and this state of things is not improved by the fact that it is due to uncertainty of purpose, and not to any burning fever of individualism. Tradition in art is a matter of environment, of intellectual atmosphere. As the result of many generations of work along one continuous line, there has accumulated a certain amount of ability in design and manual dexterity, certain ideas are in the air, certain ways of doing things come to be recognised as the right ways. To all this endowment an artist born in any of the living ages of art succeeded as a matter of course, and it is the absence of this inherited knowledge that places the modern craftsman under exceptional disabilities.

There is evidence to prove the existence in England of hereditary crafts in which the son succeeded the father for generations, and to show that the guilds were rather the guardians of high traditional skill than mere trades unions; but there is surer proof of a common thread of tradition in certain qualities all along the line, which gave to English work a character peculiar to itself. Instances of genuine Gothic furniture are rare; in England at any rate it was usually simple and solid, sufficient to answer the needs of an age without any highly developed sense of the luxuries of life. It is not till the Renaissance that much material can be found for a history of English furniture. Much of the motif of this work came from Italy and the Netherlands; indeed cabinet work was imported largely from the latter country. It was just here, however, that tradition stepped in, and gave to our sixteenth and seventeenth century furniture a distinctly national character. The delicate mouldings, the skilful turnings, the quiet inlays of ebony, ivory, cherry wood, and walnut, above all the breadth and sobriety of its design, point to a tradition of craftsmanship strong enough to assimilate all the ideas which it borrowed from other ages and other countries. Contrast, for instance, a piece of Tottenham Court Road marquetry with the mother-of-pearl and ebony inlay on an English cabinet at south Kensington. So far as mere skill in cutting goes there may be no great difference between the two, but the latter is charming, and the former tedious in the last degree; and the reason is that in the seventeenth century the craftsman loved his work, and was master of it. He started with an idea in his head, and used his material with meaning, and so his inlay is as fanciful as the seaweed, and yet entirely subordinated to the harmony of the whole design. Perhaps some of the best furniture work ever done in England was done between 1600 and 1660. I refer, of course, to the good examples, to work which depended for its effect on refined design and delicate detail, not to the bulbous legs and coarse carving of ordinary Elizabethan, though even this had a naïveté and spontaneity entirely lacking in modern reproductions.

After the Restoration, signs of French influence appear in English furniture, but the tradition of structural fitness and dignity of design was preserved through the great architectural age of Wren and Gibbs, and lasted till the latter half of the eighteenth century. If that century was not particularly inspired, it at least understood consummate workmanship. The average of technical skill in the handicrafts was far in advance of the ordinary trade work of the present day. Some curious evidences of the activity prevailing in what are called the minor arts may be found in The Laboratory and School of Arts, a small octavo volume published in 1738. The work of this period furnishes a standing instance of the value of tradition. By the beginning of the eighteenth century a school of carvers had grown up in England who could carve, with absolute precision and without mechanical aids, all such ornament as egg and tongue work, or the acanthus, and other conventional foliage used for the decoration of the mouldings of doors, mantelpieces, and the like. Grinling Gibbons is usually named as the founder of this school, but Gibbons was himself trained by such men as Wren and Gibbs, and for the source from which this work derives the real stamp of style one must go back to the austere genius of Inigo Jones. The importance of the architect, in influencing craftsmen in all such matters as this, cannot be overrated. He has, or ought to have, sufficient knowledge of the crafts to settle for the craftsman the all-important points of scale and proportion to the rest of the design; and this is just one of those points in which contemporary architecture, both as regards the education of the architect and current practice, is exceedingly apt to fail. Sir William Chambers and the brothers Adam were the last of the architects before the cataclysm of the nineteenth century who made designs for furniture with any degree of skill.

In the latter half of the eighteenth century occur the familiar names of Chippendale, Heppelwhite, and Sheraton, and if these excellent cabinetmakers did a tenth of the work with which the dealers credit them, they must each have had the hundred hands of Gyas. The rosewood furniture inlaid with arabesques in thin flat brass, and made by Gillow at the end of the last century, is perhaps the last genuine effort in English furniture, though the tradition of good work and simple design died very hard in old-fashioned country places. The mischief began with the ridiculous mediævalism of Horace Walpole, which substituted amateur fancy for craftsmanship, and led in the following century to the complete extinction of any tradition whatever. The heavy attempts at furniture in the Greek style which accompanied the architecture of Wilkins and Soane were as artificial as this literary Gothic, and the two resulted in the chaos of art which found its expression in the great Exhibition of 1851.

Three great qualities stamped the English tradition in furniture so long as it was a living force—steadfastness of purpose, reserve in design, and thorough workmanship. Take any good period of English furniture, and one finds certain well-recognised types consistently adhered to throughout the country. There is no difficulty in grasping their general characteristics, whereas the very genius of classification could furnish no clue to the labyrinth of nineteenth-century design. The men of these earlier times made no laborious search for quaintness, no disordered attempt to combine the peculiarities of a dozen different ages. One general type was adhered to because it was the legacy of generations, and there was no reason for departing from such an excellent model. The designers and the workmen had only to perfect what was already good; they made no experiments in ornament, but used it with nice judgment, and full knowledge of its effect. The result was that, instead of being forced and unreasonable, their work was thoroughly happy; one cannot think of it as better done than it is.

The quality of reserve and sobriety is even more important. As compared with the later developments of the Renaissance on the Continent, English furniture was always distinguished by its simplicity and self-restraint. Yet it is this very quality which is most conspicuously absent from modern work. As a people we rather pride ourselves on the resolute suppression of any florid display of feeling, but art in this country is so completely divorced from everyday existence, that it never seems to occur to an Englishman to import some of this fine insular quality into his daily surroundings.

It has been reserved for this generation to part company with the tradition of finished workmanship. Good work of course can be done, but it is exceedingly difficult to find the workman, and the average is bad. We have nothing to take the place of the admirable craftsmanship of the last century, which included not only great manual skill, but also an assured knowledge of the purpose of any given piece of furniture, of the form best suited for it, and the exact strength of material necessary, a knowledge which came of long familiarity with the difficulties of design and execution, which never hesitated in its technique, which attained a rightness of method so complete as to seem inevitable. Craftsmanship of this order hardly exists nowadays. It is the result of tradition, of the labour of many generations of cunning workmen.

Lastly, as the complement of these lapses on the part of the craftsman, there has been a gradual decadence in the taste of the public. Science and mechanical ingenuity have gone far to destroy the art of the handicrafts. Art is a matter of the imagination, and of the skill of one’s hands—but the pace nowadays is too much for it. Certainly from the sixteenth to the eighteenth century a well-educated English gentleman had some knowledge of the arts, and especially of architecture; the Earl of Burlington even designed important buildings, though not with remarkable success; but at any rate educated people had some insight into the arts, whether inherited or acquired. Nowadays good education and breeding are no guarantee for anything of the sort, unless it is some miscellaneous knowledge of pictures. Few people, outside the artists, and not too many of them, give any serious attention to architecture and sculpture, and consequently an art such as furniture, which is based almost entirely upon these, is hardly recognised by the public as an art at all. How much the artist and his public react upon each other is shown by the plain fact that up to the last few years they have steadily marched down hill together, and it is not very certain that they have yet begun to turn the corner. That our English tradition was once a living thing is shown by the beautiful furniture, purely English in design and execution, still to be seen in great houses and museums, but it is not likely that such a tradition will spring up again till the artists try to make the unity of the arts a real thing, and the craftsman grows callous to fashion and archæology, and the public resolutely turns its back on what is tawdry and silly.

Reginald Blomfield.

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The Billesden Coplow Run

*note – Billesdon and Billesden have both been used to name the hunt.

BILLESDEN COPLOW POEM

[From “Reminiscences of the late Thomas Assheton Smith, Esq”]

The run celebrated in the following verses took place on the 24th of February, 1800, when Mr. Meynell hunted Leicestershire, and has since been [...] Read more →

Herbal Psychedelics – Rhododendron ponticum and Mad Honey Disease

Toxicity of Rhododendron From Countrysideinfo.co.UK

“Potentially toxic chemicals, particularly ‘free’ phenols, and diterpenes, occur in significant quantities in the tissues of plants of Rhododendron species. Diterpenes, known as grayanotoxins, occur in the leaves, flowers and nectar of Rhododendrons. These differ from species to species. Not all species produce them, although Rhododendron ponticum [...] Read more →

Clairvoyance – Methods of Development

CLAIRVOYANCE

by C. W. Leadbeater

Adyar, Madras, India: Theosophical Pub. House

[1899]

CHAPTER IX – METHODS OF DEVELOPMENT

When a men becomes convinced of the reality of the valuable power of clairvoyance, his first question usually is, “How can [...] Read more →

Seeds for Rootstocks of Fruit and Nut Trees

Citrus Fruit Culture

THE PRINCIPAL fruit and nut trees grown commercially in the United States (except figs, tung, and filberts) are grown as varieties or clonal lines propagated on rootstocks.

Almost all the rootstocks are grown from seed. The resulting seedlings then are either budded or grafted with propagating wood [...] Read more →

Sir Peter Francis Bourgeois and the Dulwich Picture Gallery

Noel Desenfans and Sir Francis Bourgeois, circa 1805 by Paul Sandby, watercolour on paper

The Dulwich Picture Gallery was England’s first purpose-built art gallery and considered by some to be England’s first national gallery. Founded by the bequest of Sir Peter Francis Bourgois, dandy, the gallery was built to display his vast [...] Read more →

Cleaning Watch Chains

To Clean Watch Chains.

Gold or silver watch chains can be cleaned with a very excellent result, no matter whether they may be matt or polished, by laying them for a few seconds in pure aqua ammonia; they are then rinsed in alcohol, and finally. shaken in clean sawdust, free from sand. [...] Read more →

Cleaner for Gilt Picture Frames

Cleaner for Gilt Frames.

Calcium hypochlorite…………..7 oz. Sodium bicarbonate……………7 oz. Sodium chloride………………. 2 oz. Distilled water…………………12 oz.

 

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Snipe Shooting

Snipe shooting-Epistle on snipe shooting, from Ned Copper Cap, Esq., to George Trigger-George Trigger’s reply to Ned Copper Cap-Black partridge.

——

“Si sine amore jocisque Nil est jucundum, vivas in &more jooisque.” -Horace. “If nothing appears to you delightful without love and sports, then live in sporta and [...] Read more →

Naval Stores – Distilling Turpentine

Chipping a Turpentine Tree

DISTILLING TURPENTINE One of the Most Important Industries of the State of Georgia Injuring the Magnificent Trees Spirits, Resin, Tar, Pitch, and Crude Turpentine all from the Long Leaved Pine – “Naval Stores” So Called.

Dublin, Ga., May 8. – One of the most important industries [...] Read more →

The Stock Exchange Specialist

New York Stock Exchange Floor September 26,1963

The Specialist as a member of a stock exchange has two functions.’ He must execute orders which other members of an exchange may leave with him when the current market price is away from the price of the orders. By executing these orders on behalf [...] Read more →

Curing Diabetes With an Old Malaria Formula

For years in the West African nation of Ghana medicine men have used a root and leaves from a plant called nibima(Cryptolepis sanguinolenta) to kill the Plasmodium parasite transmitted through a female mosquito’s bite that is the root cause of malaria. A thousand miles away in India, a similar(same) plant [...] Read more →

A General Process for Making Wine

A General Process for Making Wine.

Gathering the Fruit Picking the Fruit Bruising the Fruit Vatting the Fruit Vinous Fermentation Drawing the Must Pressing the Must Casking the Must Spirituous Fermentation Racking the Wine Bottling and Corking the Wine Drinking the Wine

GATHERING THE FRUIT.

It is of considerable consequence [...] Read more →

Ought King Leopold to be Hanged?

King Leopold Butcher of the Congo

For the somewhat startling suggestion in the heading of this interview, the missionary interviewed is in no way responsible. The credit of it, or, if you like, the discredit, belongs entirely to the editor of the Review, who, without dogmatism, wishes to pose the question as [...] Read more →

The Black Grouper or Jewfish.

 

Nov. 5. 1898 Forest and Stream Pg. 371-372

The Black Grouper or Jewfish.

New Smyrna, Fla., Oct. 21.—Editor Forest and Stream:

It is not generally known that the fish commonly called jewfish. warsaw and black grouper are frequently caught at the New Smyrna bridge [...] Read more →

On Bernini’s Bust of a Stewart King

As reported in the The Colac Herald on Friday July 17, 1903 Pg. 8 under Art Appreciation as a reprint from the Westminster Gazette

ART APPRECIATION IN THE COMMONS.

The appreciation of art as well as of history which is entertained by the average member of the [...] Read more →

The Human Seasons

John Keats

Four Seasons fill the measure of the year; There are four seasons in the mind of man: He has his lusty spring, when fancy clear Takes in all beauty with an easy span; He has his Summer, when luxuriously Spring’s honied cud of youthful thoughts he loves To ruminate, and by such [...] Read more →

Artist Methods

Como dome facade – Pliny the Elder – Photo by Wolfgang Sauber

Work in Progress…

THE VARNISHES.

Every substance may be considered as a varnish, which, when applied to the surface of a solid body, gives it a permanent lustre. Drying oil, thickened by exposure to the sun’s heat or [...] Read more →

Chantry Chapels

William Wyggeston’s chantry house, built around 1511, in Leicester: The building housed two priests, who served at a chantry chapel in the nearby St Mary de Castro church. It was sold as a private dwelling after the dissolution of the chantries.

A Privately Built Chapel

Chantry, chapel, generally within [...] Read more →

Classic Restoration of a Spring Tied Upholstered Chair

?

This video by AT Restoration is the best hands on video I have run across on the basics of classic upholstery. Watch a master at work. Simply amazing.

Tools:

Round needles: https://amzn.to/2S9IhrP Double pointed hand needle: https://amzn.to/3bDmWPp Hand tools: https://amzn.to/2Rytirc Staple gun (for beginner): https://amzn.to/2JZs3x1 Compressor [...] Read more →

A Couple of Classic Tennessee Squirrel Recipes

FRIED SQUIRREL & BISCUIT GRAVY

3-4 Young Squirrels, dressed and cleaned 1 tsp. Morton Salt or to taste 1 tsp. McCormick Black Pepper or to taste 1 Cup Martha White All Purpose Flour 1 Cup Hog Lard – Preferably fresh from hog killing, or barbecue table

Cut up three to [...] Read more →

The Field of the Cloth of Gold

Reprint from the Royal Collection Trust Website

The meeting between Henry VIII and Francis I, known as the Field of the Cloth of Gold, took place between 7 to 24 June 1520 in a valley subsequently called the Val d’Or, near Guisnes to the south of Calais. The [...] Read more →

Glimpses from the Chase

From Fores’s Sporting Notes and Sketches, A Quarterly Magazine Descriptive of British, Indian, Colonial, and Foreign Sport with Thirty Two Full Page Illustrations Volume 10 1893, London; Mssrs. Fores Piccadilly W. 1893, All Rights Reserved.

GLIMPSES OF THE CHASE, Ireland a Hundred Years Ago. By ‘Triviator.’

FOX-HUNTING has, like Racing, [...] Read more →

A Cure for Distemper in Dogs

 

The following cure was found written on a front flyleaf in an 1811 3rd Ed. copy of The Sportsman’s Guide or Sportsman’s Companion: Containing Every Possible Instruction for the Juvenille Shooter, Together with Information Necessary for the Experienced Sportsman by B. Thomas.

 

Transcript:

Vaccinate your dogs when young [...] Read more →

The Shirk – An Old but Familiar Phenomena

STORE MANAGEMENT—THE SHIRK.

THE shirk is a well-known specimen of the genus homo. His habitat is offices, stores, business establishments of all kinds. His habits are familiar to us, but a few words on the subject will not be amiss. The shirk usually displays activity when the boss is around, [...] Read more →

Salmon Caviar

Salmon and Sturgeon Caviar – Photo by Thor

Salmon caviar was originated about 1910 by a fisherman in the Maritime Provinces of Siberia, and the preparation is a modification of the sturgeon caviar method (Cobb 1919). Salomon caviar has found a good market in the U.S.S.R. and other European countries where it [...] Read more →

The Hunt Saboteur

The Hunt Saboteur is a national disgrace barking out loud, black mask on her face get those dogs off, get them off she did yell until a swift kick from me mare her voice it did quell and sent the Hunt Saboteur scurrying up vale to the full cry of hounds drowning out her [...] Read more →

Valentine Poetry from the Cotswold Explorer

 

There is nothing more delightful than a great poetry reading to warm ones heart on a cold winter night fireside. Today is one of the coldest Valentine’s days on record, thus, nothing could be better than listening to the resonant voice of Robin Shuckbrugh, The Cotswold [...] Read more →

Audubon’s Art Method and Techniques

Audubon started to develop a special technique for drawing birds in 1806 a Mill Grove, Pennsylvania. He perfected it during the long river trip from Cincinnati to New Orleans and in New Orleans, 1821.

Home Top of [...] Read more →

The Intaglio Processes for Audubon’s Birds of America

Notes on the intaglio processes of the most expensive book on birds available for sale in the world today.

The Audubon prints in “The Birds of America” were all made from copper plates utilizing four of the so called “intaglio” processes, engraving, etching, aquatint, and drypoint. Intaglio [...] Read more →

Looking for a Gift for the Book Collector in the Family?

Buying a book for a serious collector with refined tastes can be a daunting task.

However, there is one company that publishes some of the finest reproduction books in the world, books that most collectors wouldn’t mind having in their collection no matter their general preference or specialty.

Shooting in Wet Weather

 

Reprint from The Sportsman’s Cabinet and Town and Country Magazine, Vol I. Dec. 1832, Pg. 94-95

To the Editor of the Cabinet.

SIR,

Possessing that anxious feeling so common among shooters on the near approach of the 12th of August, I honestly confess I was not able [...] Read more →

Preserving Iron and Steel Surfaces with Paint

Painting the Brooklyn Bridge, Photo by Eugene de Salignac , 1914

 

Excerpt from: The Preservation of Iron and Steel Structures by F. Cosby-Jones, The Mechanical Engineer January 30, 1914

Painting.

This is the method of protection against corrosion that has the most extensive use, owing to the fact that [...] Read more →

Indian Modes of Hunting – Setting Fox Traps

Aug. 13, 1898 Forest and Stream, Pg. 125

Game Bag and Gun.

Indian Modes of Hunting. III.—Foxes.

The fox as a rule is a most wily animal, and numerous are the stories of his cunning toward the Indian hunter with his steel traps.

King James Bible – Knights Templar Edition

Full Cover, rear, spine, and front

Published by Piranesi Press in collaboration with Country House Essays, this beautiful paperback version of the King James Bible is now available for $79.95 at Barnes and Noble.com

This is a limited Edition of 500 copies Worldwide. Click here to view other classic books [...] Read more →

Pickled Eels

Vintage woodcut illustration of a Eel

 

This dish is a favorite in Northern Europe, from the British Isles to Sweden.

Clean and skin the eels and cut them into pieces about 3/4-inch thick. Wash and drain the pieces, then dredge in fine salt and allow to stand from 30 [...] Read more →

Tuna and Tarpon

July, 16, l898 Forest and Stream Pg. 48

Tuna and Tarpon.

New York, July 1.—Editor Forest and Stream: If any angler still denies the justice of my claim, as made in my article in your issue of July 2, that “the tuna is the grandest game [...] Read more →

Beef Jerky

BEEF JERKY

Preparation.

Slice 5 pounds lean beef (flank steak or similar cut) into strips 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick, 1 to 2 inches wide, and 4 to 12 inches long. Cut with grain of meat; remove the fat. Lay out in a single layer on a smooth clean surface (use [...] Read more →

How to Make Money – Insurance

Life insurance certificate issued by the Yorkshire Fire & Life Insurance Company to Samuel Holt, Liverpool, England, 1851. On display at the British Museum in London. Donated by the ifs School of Finance. Photo by Osama Shukir Muhammed Amin FRCP(Glasg)

From How to Make Money; and How to Keep it, Or, Capital and Labor [...] Read more →

The American Museum in Britain – From Florida to Bath

Hernando de Soto (c1496-1542) Spanish explorer and his men torturing natives of Florida in his determination to find gold. Hand-coloured engraving. John Judkyn Memorial Collection, Freshford Manor, Bath

The print above depicts Spanish explorer Hernando de Soto and his band of conquistadors torturing Florida natives in order to extract information on where [...] Read more →

What is the Meaning of the Term Thorough-bred Fox-hound

Reprint from the Sportsman Cabinet and Town & Country Magazine, Vol.1, Number 1, November 1832.

MR. Editor,

Will you allow me to inquire, through the medium of your pages, the correct meaning of the term thorough-bred fox-hound? I am very well aware, that the expression is in common [...] Read more →

Country Cabbage and Pea Soup

Add the following ingredients to a four or six quart crock pot, salt & pepper to taste keeping in mind that salt pork is just that, cover with water and cook on high till it boils, then cut back to low for four or five hours. A slow cooker works well, I [...] Read more →

The Kalmar War

Wojna Kalmarska – 1611

The Kalmar War

From The Historian’s History of the World (In 25 Volumes) by Henry Smith William L.L.D. – Vol. XVI.(Scandinavia) Pg. 308-310

The northern part of the Scandinavian peninsula, as already noticed, had been peopled from the remotest times by nomadic tribes called Finns or Cwenas by [...] Read more →

The Age of Chivalry

KING ARTHUR AND HIS KNIGHTS

On the decline of the Roman power, about five centuries after Christ, the countries of Northern Europe were left almost destitute of a national government. Numerous chiefs, more or less powerful, held local sway, as far as each could enforce his dominion, and occasionally those [...] Read more →

Carpenters’ Furniture

IT requires a far search to gather up examples of furniture really representative in this kind, and thus to gain a point of view for a prospect into the more ideal where furniture no longer is bought to look expensively useless in a boudoir, but serves everyday and commonplace need, such as [...] Read more →

A Creative Approach to Saving Ye Olde Cassette Tapes

Quite possibly, the most agonizing decision being made by Baby Boomers across the nation these days is what to do with all that vintage Hi-fi equipment and boxes full of classic rock and roll cassettes and 8-Tracks.

I faced this dilemma head-on this past summer as I definitely wanted in [...] Read more →

A Crock of Squirrel

A CROCK OF SQUIRREL

4 young squirrels – quartered Salt & Pepper 1 large bunch of fresh coriander 2 large cloves of garlic 2 tbsp. salted sweet cream cow butter ¼ cup of brandy 1 tbsp. turbinado sugar 6 fresh apricots 4 strips of bacon 1 large package of Monterrey [...] Read more →

Stoke Park – Granted by King Charles I

Stoke Park Pavillions

 

Stoke Park Pavilions, UK, view from A405 Road. photo by Wikipedia user Cj1340

 

From Wikipedia:

Stoke Park – the original house

Stoke park was the first English country house to display a Palladian plan: a central house with balancing pavilions linked by colonnades or [...] Read more →

Historic authenticity of the Spanish SAN FELIPE of 1690

San Felipe Model

Reprinted from FineModelShips.com with the kind permission of Dr. Michael Czytko

The SAN FELIPE is one of the most favoured ships among the ship model builders. The model is elegant, very beautifully designed, and makes a decorative piece of art to be displayed at home or in the [...] Read more →

Wine Making

Wine Making

Grapes are the world’s leading fruit crop and the eighth most important food crop in the world, exceeded only by the principal cereals and starchytubers. Though substantial quantities are used for fresh fruit, raisins, juice and preserves, most of the world’s annual production of about 60 million [...] Read more →

U.S. Coast Guard Radio Information for Boaters

VHF Marifoon Sailor RT144, by S.J. de Waard

RADIO INFORMATION FOR BOATERS

Effective 01 August, 2013, the U. S. Coast Guard terminated its radio guard of the international voice distress, safety and calling frequency 2182 kHz and the international digital selective calling (DSC) distress and safety frequency 2187.5 kHz. Additionally, [...] Read more →

U.S. Plant Variety Protection Act – Full Text

WIPO HQ Geneva

UNITED STATES PLANT VARIETY PROTECTION ACT

TITLE I – PLANT VARIETY PROTECTION OFFICE Chapter Section 1. Organization and Publications . 1 2. Legal Provisions as to the Plant Variety Protection Office . 21 3. Plant Variety Protection Fees . 31

CHAPTER 1.-ORGANIZATION AND PUBLICATIONS Section [...] Read more →

Texas Tarpon

Early Texas photo of Tarpon catch – Not necessarily the one mentioned below…

July 2, 1898. Forest and Stream Pg.10

Texas Tarpon.

Tarpon, Texas.—Mr. W. B. Leach, of Palestine, Texas, caught at Aransas Pass Islet, on June 14, the largest tarpon on record here taken with rod and reel. The [...] Read more →

Mrs. Beeton’s Poultry & Game – Choosing Poultry

To Choose Poultry.

When fresh, the eyes should be clear and not sunken, the feet limp and pliable, stiff dry feet being a sure indication that the bird has not been recently killed; the flesh should be firm and thick and if the bird is plucked there should be no [...] Read more →

Napoleon’s Pharmacists

NAPOLEON’S PHARMACISTS.

Of the making of books about Napoleon there is no end, and the centenary of his death (May 5) is not likely to pass without adding to the number, but a volume on Napoleon”s pharmacists still awaits treatment by the student in this field of historical research. There [...] Read more →

British Craftsmanship is Alive and Well

The Queen Elizabeth Trust, or QEST, is an organisation dedicated to the promotion of British craftsmanship through the funding of scholarships and educational endeavours to include apprenticeships, trade schools, and traditional university classwork. The work of QEST is instrumental in keeping alive age old arts and crafts such as masonry, glassblowing, shoemaking, [...] Read more →

Making Apple Cider Vinegar

The greatest cause of failure in vinegar making is carelessness on the part of the operator. Intelligent separation should be made of the process into its various steps from the beginning to end.

PRESSING THE JUICE

The apples should be clean and ripe. If not clean, undesirable fermentations [...] Read more →

AB Bookman’s 1948 Guide to Describing Conditions

AB Bookman’s 1948 Guide to Describing Conditions:

As New is self-explanatory. It means that the book is in the state that it should have been in when it left the publisher. This is the equivalent of Mint condition in numismatics. Fine (F or FN) is As New but allowing for the normal effects of [...] Read more →

Sir Joshua Reynolds – Notes from Rome

“The Leda, in the Colonna palace, by Correggio, is dead-coloured white and black, with ultramarine in the shadow ; and over that is scumbled, thinly and smooth, a warmer tint,—I believe caput mortuum. The lights are mellow ; the shadows blueish, but mellow. The picture is painted on panel, in [...] Read more →

Peach Brandy

PEACH BRANDY

2 gallons + 3 quarts boiled water 3 qts. peaches, extremely ripe 3 lemons, cut into sections 2 sm. pkgs. yeast 10 lbs. sugar 4 lbs. dark raisins

Place peaches, lemons and sugar in crock. Dissolve yeast in water (must NOT be to hot). Stir thoroughly. Stir daily for 7 days. Keep [...] Read more →

The Racing Knockabout Gosling

The Racing Knockabout Gosling.

Gosling was the winning yacht of 1897 in one of the best racing classes now existing in this country, the Roston knockabout class. The origin of this class dates back about six years, when Carl, a small keel cutter, was built for C. H. [...] Read more →

The Legacy of Felix de Weldon

Felix Weihs de Weldon, age 96, died broke in the year 2003 after successive bankruptcies and accumulating $4 million dollars worth of debt. Most of the debt was related to the high cost of love for a wife living with Alzheimer’s. Health care costs to maintain his first wife, Margot, ran $500 per [...] Read more →

Art Fraud

A la Russie, aux ânes et aux autres – by Chagall – 1911

Marc Chagall is one of the most forged artists on the planet. Mark Rothko fakes also abound. According to available news reports, the art market is littered with forgeries of their work. Some are even thought to be [...] Read more →

Sea and River Fishing

An angler with a costly pole Surmounted with a silver reel, Carven in quaint poetic scroll- Jointed and tipped with finest steel— With yellow flies, Whose scarlet eyes And jasper wings are fair to see, Hies to the stream Whose bubbles beam Down murmuring eddies wild and free. And casts the line with sportsman’s [...] Read more →

Tuna Record

TROF. C. F. HOLDFER AND HIS 183LBS. TUNA, WITH BOATMAN JIM GARDNER.

July 2, 1898. Forest and Stream Pg. 11

The Tuna Record.

Avalon. Santa Catalina Island. Southern California, June 16.—Editor Forest and Stream: Several years ago the writer in articles on the “Game Fishes of the Pacific Slope,” in [...] Read more →

Producing and Harvesting Tobacco Seed

THE FIRST step in producing a satisfactory crop of tobacco is to use good seed that is true to type. The grower often can save his own seed to advantage, if he wants to.

Before topping is done, he should go over the tobacco field carefully to pick [...] Read more →

Christmas Pudding with Dickens

Traditional British Christmas Pudding Recipe by Pen Vogler from the Charles Dickens Museum

Ingredients

85 grams all purpose flour pinch of salt 170 grams Beef Suet 140 grams brown sugar tsp. mixed spice, allspice, cinnamon, cloves, &c 170 grams bread crumbs 170 grams raisins 170 grams currants 55 grams cut mixed peel Gram to [...] Read more →

Thomas Jefferson Correspondence – On Seed Saving and Sharing

The following are transcripts of two letters written by the Founding Father Thomas Jefferson on the subject of seed saving.

“November 27, 1818. Monticello. Thomas Jefferson to Henry E. Watkins, transmitting succory seed and outlining the culture of succory.” [Transcript] Thomas Jefferson Correspondence Collection Collection 89

Method of Restoration for Ancient Bronzes and other Alloys

Cannone nel castello di Haut-Koenigsbourg, photo by Gita Colmar

Without any preliminary cleaning the bronze object to be treated is hung as cathode into the 2 per cent. caustic soda solution and a low amperage direct current is applied. The object is suspended with soft copper wires and is completely immersed into [...] Read more →

Something about Caius College, Cambridge

Gate of Honour, Caius Court, Gonville & Caius

Gonville & Caius College, known as Caius and pronounced keys was founded in 1348 by Edmund Gonville, the Rector of Terrington St Clement in Norfolk. The first name was thus Goville Hall and it was dedicated to the Annunciation of the Blessed Virgin Mary. [...] Read more →

Blunderbuss Mai Tai Recipe

Blackbeard’s Jolly Roger

If you’re looking for that most refreshing of summertime beverages for sipping out on the back patio or perhaps as a last drink before walking the plank, let me recommend my Blunderbuss Mai Tai. I picked up the basics to this recipe over thirty years ago when holed up [...] Read more →

What’s the Matter?

A rhetorical question? Genuine concern?

In this essay we are examining another form of matter otherwise known as national literary matters, the three most important of which being the Matter of Rome, Matter of France, and the Matter of England.

Our focus shall be on the Matter of England or [...] Read more →

Of the Room and Furniture

Crewe Hall Dining Room

 

THE transient tenure that most of us have in our dwellings, and the absorbing nature of the struggle that most of us have to make to win the necessary provisions of life, prevent our encouraging the manufacture of well-wrought furniture.

We mean to outgrow [...] Read more →

The First Pineapple Grown in England

First Pineapple Grown in England

Click here to read an excellent article on the history of pineapple growing in the UK.

Should one be interested in serious mass scale production, click here for scientific resources.

Growing pineapples in the UK.

The video below demonstrates how to grow pineapples in Florida.

[...] Read more →

Rendering Amber Clear for Use in Lens-Making for Magnifying Glass

by John Partridge,drawing,1825

From the work of Sir Charles Lock Eastlake entitled Materials for a history of oil painting, (London: Longman, Brown, Green, and Longmans, 1846), we learn the following:

The effect of oil at certain temperatures, in penetrating “the minute pores of the amber” (as Hoffman elsewhere writes), is still more [...] Read more →

Fresh Water Angling – The Two Crappies

 

July 2, 1898 Forest and Stream,

Fresh-Water Angling. No. IX.—The Two Crappies. BY FRED MATHER.

Fishing In Tree Tops.

Here a short rod, say 8ft., is long enough, and the line should not be much longer than the rod. A reel is not [...] Read more →

The Apparatus of the Stock Market

Sucker

The components of any given market place include both physical structures set up to accommodate trading, and participants to include buyers, sellers, brokers, agents, barkers, pushers, auctioneers, agencies, and propaganda outlets, and banking or transaction exchange facilities.

Markets are generally set up by sellers as it is in their [...] Read more →

A History of Fowling – Ravens and Jays

From A History of Fowling, Being an Account of the Many Curios Devices by Which Wild Birds are, or Have Been, Captured in Different Parts of the World by Rev. H.A. MacPherson, M.A.

THE RAVEN (Corvus corax) is generally accredited with a large endowment of mother wit. Its warning [...] Read more →

Cup of Tea? To be or not to be

Twinings London – photo by Elisa.rolle

Is the tea in your cup genuine?

The fact is, had one been living in the early 19th Century, one might occasionally encounter a counterfeit cup of tea. Food adulterations to include added poisonings and suspect substitutions were a common problem in Europe at [...] Read more →

The Effect of Magnetic Fields on Wound Healing

The Effect of Magnetic Fields on Wound Healing Experimental Study and Review of the Literature

Steven L. Henry, MD, Matthew J. Concannon, MD, and Gloria J. Yee, MD Division of Plastic Surgery, University of Missouri Hospital & Clinics, Columbia, MO Published July 25, 2008

Objective: Magnets [...] Read more →

David Starkey: Britain’s Last Great Historian

Dr. David Starkey, the UK’s premiere historian, speaks to the modern and fleeting notion of “cancel culture”. Starkey’s brilliance is unparalleled and it has become quite obvious to the world’s remaining Western scholars willing to stand on intellectual integrity that a few so-called “Woke Intellectuals” most certainly cannot undermine [...] Read more →

Mortlake Tapestries of Chatsworth

Mortlake Tapestries at Chatsworth House

Click here to learn more about the Mortlake Tapestries of Chatsworth

The Mortlake Tapestries were founded by Sir Francis Crane.

From the Dictionary of National Biography, 1885-1900, Volume 13

Crane, Francis by William Prideaux Courtney

CRANE, Sir FRANCIS (d. [...] Read more →

Gold and Economic Freedom

by Alan Greenspan, 1967

An almost hysterical antagonism toward the gold standard is one issue which unites statists of all persuasions. They seem to sense-perhaps more clearly and subtly than many consistent defenders of laissez-faire — that gold and economic freedom are inseparable, that the gold standard is an instrument [...] Read more →

The Real Time Piece Gentleman and the Digital Watch Vault

Paul Thorpe, Brighton, U.K.

The YouTube watch collecting world is rather tight-knit and small, but growing, as watches became a highly coveted commodity during the recent world-wide pandemic and fueled an explosion of online watch channels.

There is one name many know, The Time Piece Gentleman. This name for me [...] Read more →

A Survey of Palestine – 1945-1946

This massive volume gives one a real visual sense of what it was like running a highly efficient colonial operation in the early 20rh Century. It will also go a long way to help anyone wishing to understand modern political intrigue in the Middle-East.

Click here to read A Survey of Palestine [...] Read more →