Those Bumpy, Tumbly, Cobbly Cobblestones

Those Bumpy, Tumbly, Cobbly Cobblestones

If the shoe fits (into the cobblestones) wear it.

Women do it in Italy, in France, in Canada and in the USA. In fact, I saw them do it in Portugal last summer. They do it all over the world. Yep. Women walk in high heels on cobblestones.

My good friend, Gigi, grew up in Portugal, and her Mama and family are still there. So I asked what it was in her feet that kept her from twisting her ankles when I, even wearing sneakers, couldn’t keep my ankles from turning and bending to the bumps and lumps of the cobblestone streets.

Gigi’s said, “All the streets are paved this way, I don’t even think about can I or can’t I.” I even watched her run on those historic cobbled hills. The whole situation seemed odd to me, but she took it in stride, her heels never once caused her a tumble on the cobbles or in the spaces between.

London Cab 1823

You probably know that cobblestones replaced the dirt and muddy streets here in the U.S. in the 19th century. The idea was for the horses to get a good hoof hold.

Later, at the beginning of the 20th century, asphalt became the norm. In the East where the fluctuating temperatures cause freezing and thawing, the roads develop unbearable pot holes, upkeep is messy and expensive.

Boston has the top spot in cobblestones on Acorn Street, measured in terms of cattle—in this case, two cows wide—this is paved with true, ankle-breaker cobblestones and lined with vintage red brick row houses. The beacon Hill neighborhood in general is known for its well-preserved architecture and romantic gaslit streets, the most expensive and desirable area in Beantown.

But cobblestone streets were not meant for cars and trucks. Yet some of our big cities still sport those cobbles, they add a charm.

Should we repave with those stones and bring back the horse?

For more history about these stones: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cobblestone
For 10 most adorable cobblestone streets in the U.S. take a look:
https://www.oyster.com/articles/55243-the-10-most-adorable-cobblestone-streets-in-the-u-s/

If you are curious about the name Beantown—Boston’s Beantown earned its name from molasses, rum and baked beans.
Here’s a link: www.celebrateboston.com/culture/bean-town-origin.htm

Gail Ingis is an author, artist, and interior designer. Her upcoming romance The Unforgettable Miss Baldwin will be released in summer 2018. Her current historical romance, Indigo Sky can be purchased on amazon.

A work of art

 

LOUIS XVI & HIS LASS

LOUIS XVI & HIS LASS

Hiding in her room, she shivered knowing she was soon to be convicted of thievery. A crime by the government of France against the people of France.

Marie Antoinette 1783 Portrait

Is the crime one of this regime, Louis XVI and his Lass, or is it a crime of near bankruptcy through the opulence of their predecessors, Louis XIV and Louis XV? The crime of taking the taxes of the people to buy the latest fashions and furnishings for the kings and queens of France. Louis and Marie were young and foolish, he fifteen, she fourteen when they married.

Louis XVI Portrait

After donning the crown in 1774, they built monuments to themselves, imported porcelain, had fabrics woven to their specifications, cabinetry designed and created by the high paid Ebénisters (high-grade cabinet makers). The economy spiraled downward (unemployment in Paris in 1788 is estimated at 50%), crops failed, the price of bread and other food soared. The people were not happy. To top it off, Louis had the misfortune to marry a foreigner, the Austrian Marie Antoinette. The anger of the French people, fueled by xenophobia, targeted Marie as a prime source of their problems. Le Petit Trianon at Versailles was fashioned and furnished for Marie, Louis’ Lass, in the Neoclassical style.

Neoclassical - end of Rococo's curves of the past

A style eliminating the curves of the past. You can identify a Louis XVI chair easily by the typical chair leg. It is straight with fluting and rosette in a square on the top corner of the leg. Although these chairs pictured here, are dark, furniture of the period is often painted white, and upholstered in needlepoint, silk, damask, and velvet upholstery.

Occasionally chair backs have wood carvings of various motifs   like garlands and ribbons.

This furniture took the skill of many talented Ebénisters. Costs were high. The money used did not belong to royalty. Louis and his lass lost their heads for robbing the people.

If you want to buy a chair in this style, would you know what to look for? Can you identify the rosette in the square on the top of the leg?

RENAISSANCE CAQUETOIRE

RENAISSANCE CAQUETOIRE

  • If we look at a painting in any particular time frame, you will see the fashions, the furnishings and designs of the interiors. An example is Velazquez “Las Meninas” or “The Family of Philip IV.”
Diego Velazquez “The Family of Philip IV”

How in the world did anyone sit down? Or ride a horse? Or play hide and seek?  But no matter who or what designed these strange fashions, comfort of sorts was provided. After all, it is the Renaissance, a time of rebirth and revitalization of life and living. Stool sitting is an obvious choice for such fashions, but would you believe they actually did have chairs? For example, the caquetoire, a small

Caquetoire 16th century

French conversational chair, also known as a gossip chair, standing on four legs held together with stretchers, designed in the Renaissance in the 16th century. The arms are wide, but not really wide enough for those voluminous farthingale skirts. The shape of the seat is what really distinguishes it. It was designed to be very wide in the front, and narrowed at the back, making a triangular shape. The back was high and panelled, and sometimes was decorated with carving and medallions. This chair has carved rams heads on the ends of the arms.

The chairs were apparently grouped for ladies to sit together and chat or gossip. Indeed the word caquetoire comes from the word caqueter which means to chat. Somehow the translation favors the word gossip over chat. These chairs first appeared in France but then found their way to other European countries.

The chair was designed during the reign of France’s Henry II (1547-1559), who married the Italian Catherine de’Medici, a woman of cruel but forceful character, who completely controlled him and their three sons, each of whom succeeded to the throne.  She was instrumental in giving additional impetus to the Italian arts in France.  She surrounded herself with Italian courtiers, who aided in introducing at the French court the amenities of Florentine social existence.  Catherine died in 1588 after an active life as the central figure of the religious wars.  Tradition ascribes to her the instigation of the Massacre of St. Bartholomew’s (1572), which occurred during the reign of her son, Charles IX.

Painting by François Dubois, a Huguenot painter born circa 1529 in Amiens, who settled in Switzerland. Although Dubois did not witness the massacre, he depicts Admiral Coligny‘s body hanging out of a window at the rear to the right. To the left rear, Catherine de’ Medici is shown emerging from the Louvre to inspect a heap of bodies.

Saint Bartholomew's Day Massacre

Does Catherine de’Medici of the 16th century remind you of anyone you know today?  What happened to women by the 20th century? Why did we need the wakeup call by Gloria Steinem?

 

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