Thursday, July 19, 2018

A 1500s Garden of the Italian elite

 Bonifacio Veronese called Bonifacio de' Pitati (Italian, 1487–1553) An Architectural Capriccio in an Ornamental Garden

17C Summer Tasks - Love & Harvesting

Juni Hooien, After Crispijn van de Passe (I), Maerten de Vos, c. 1574 - c. 1687

Grain agriculture in ancient Rome provided bread for everyman's table & was idealized among the social elite as a way of life. Cicero considered farming the best of all Roman occupations. In his treatise On Duties, he declared that "of all the occupations by which gain is secured, none is better than agriculture, none more profitable, none more delightful, none more becoming to a free man." When one of his clients was derided in court for preferring a rural lifestyle, Cicero defended country life as "the teacher of economy, of industry, & of justice." Cato wrote "when they would praise a worthy man their praise took this form: 'Good husband good farmer'; it is from the farming class that the bravest men & the sturdiest soldiers come."  Cato, Columella, Varro & Palladius wrote handbooks on farming.

Staple crops included wheat, emmer, spelt, & barley, all of them used for bread, the mainstay of every Roman table. In his treatise De agricultura ("On Farming", 2nd century BC), Cato wrote that the best farms contained a vineyard, followed by an irrigated garden, willow plantation, olive orchard, meadow, grain land, forest trees, vineyard trained on trees, & lastly acorn woodlands. "The people living in the city of Rome constituted a huge market for the purchase of food produced on Italian farms.  Cato claimed that a small farm should have "a foreman, a foreman's wife, ten laborers, one ox driver, one donkey driver, one man in charge of the willow grove, one swineherd, in all sixteen persons; two oxen, two donkeys for wagon work, one donkey for the mill work." 

Land ownership was a dominant factor in distinguishing the aristocracy from the common person, & the more land a Roman owned, the more important he would be in the city. Soldiers were often rewarded with land from the commander they served. Though farms depended on slave labor, free men & citizens were hired at farms to oversee the slaves & ensure that the farms ran smoothly.  The Romans had four systems of farm management: direct work by owner & his family; tenant farming or sharecropping in which the owner & a tenant divide up a farm's produce; forced labor by slaves owned by aristocrats & supervised by slave managers; & other arrangements in which a farm was leased to a tenant.

There was much commerce between the provinces of the empire, & all regions of the empire were largely economically interdependent. Some provinces specialized in the production of grains including wheat, emmer, spelt, barley, & millet; others in wine & others in olive oil, depending on the soil type. Columella writes in his Res Rustica, "Soil that is heavy, chalky, & wet is not unsuited to the growing for winter wheat & spelt. Barley tolerates no place except one that is loose & dry."  Pliny the Elder wrote extensively about agriculture in his Naturalis Historia including chapter XVIII on The Natural History of Grain 

In the Roman Empire, some calculated that a family of 6 people would need to cultivate 12 iugera/ 3 hectares of land to meet minimum food requirements (without animals). Romans could acquire land for a farm in one of three ways. The most common way to gain land was to purchase the land. Though some lower class citizens did own small pieces of land, they often found it too difficult & expensive to maintain, & would sell it to someone in the aristocracy who had the financial backing to support a farm. Though there were some public lands available to the common person for use, aristocrats also tended to purchase those pieces of land, which caused a great deal of tension between the two classes. Some theorize that “Mass eviction of the poor by the rich underlay the political tensions & civil wars of the last century of the Roman Republic.” Another way to acquire land was as a reward for going to war. High ranking soldiers returning from war would often be given small pieces of public land or land in provinces as a way of paying them for their services. The last way to obtain land was through inheritance. A father could leave his land to his family, usually to his son, in the event of his death.

Cato explained that though some small farms were owned by lower class citizens & soldiers, much of the land was controlled by the noble class of Rome. Land ownership was just one of many distinctions that set the aristocracy apart from the lower classes. Aristocracy would "reorganize small holdings into larger more profitable farms in order to compete with other nobles." It was considered a point of pride to own not just the largest piece of land, but also to have land that grew high quality produce. As Cato wrote "when they would praise a worthy man their praise took this form: 'Good husband good farmer'; it is from the farming class that the bravest men & the sturdiest soldiers come." Careful planning went into every detail of owning & maintaining a farm in Roman culture.

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Pruning 1580

1580 Pruning Italian School The Labours of the Months

Summer Harvesting - Illuminated Manuscripts

Simon Bening - Da Costa Hours - c.1515

Grain agriculture in ancient Rome provided bread for everyman's table & was idealized among the social elite as a way of life. Cicero considered farming the best of all Roman occupations. In his treatise On Duties, he declared that "of all the occupations by which gain is secured, none is better than agriculture, none more profitable, none more delightful, none more becoming to a free man." When one of his clients was derided in court for preferring a rural lifestyle, Cicero defended country life as "the teacher of economy, of industry, & of justice." Cato wrote "when they would praise a worthy man their praise took this form: 'Good husband good farmer'; it is from the farming class that the bravest men & the sturdiest soldiers come."  Cato, Columella, Varro & Palladius wrote handbooks on farming.

Staple crops included wheat, emmer, spelt, & barley, all of them used for bread, the mainstay of every Roman table. In his treatise De agricultura ("On Farming", 2nd century BC), Cato wrote that the best farms contained a vineyard, followed by an irrigated garden, willow plantation, olive orchard, meadow, grain land, forest trees, vineyard trained on trees, & lastly acorn woodlands. "The people living in the city of Rome constituted a huge market for the purchase of food produced on Italian farms.  Cato claimed that a small farm should have "a foreman, a foreman's wife, ten laborers, one ox driver, one donkey driver, one man in charge of the willow grove, one swineherd, in all sixteen persons; two oxen, two donkeys for wagon work, one donkey for the mill work." 

Land ownership was a dominant factor in distinguishing the aristocracy from the common person, & the more land a Roman owned, the more important he would be in the city. Soldiers were often rewarded with land from the commander they served. Though farms depended on slave labor, free men & citizens were hired at farms to oversee the slaves & ensure that the farms ran smoothly.  The Romans had four systems of farm management: direct work by owner & his family; tenant farming or sharecropping in which the owner & a tenant divide up a farm's produce; forced labor by slaves owned by aristocrats & supervised by slave managers; & other arrangements in which a farm was leased to a tenant.

There was much commerce between the provinces of the empire, & all regions of the empire were largely economically interdependent. Some provinces specialized in the production of grains including wheat, emmer, spelt, barley, & millet; others in wine & others in olive oil, depending on the soil type. Columella writes in his Res Rustica, "Soil that is heavy, chalky, & wet is not unsuited to the growing for winter wheat & spelt. Barley tolerates no place except one that is loose & dry."  Pliny the Elder wrote extensively about agriculture in his Naturalis Historia including chapter XVIII on The Natural History of Grain 

In the Roman Empire, some calculated that a family of 6 people would need to cultivate 12 iugera/ 3 hectares of land to meet minimum food requirements (without animals). Romans could acquire land for a farm in one of three ways. The most common way to gain land was to purchase the land. Though some lower class citizens did own small pieces of land, they often found it too difficult & expensive to maintain, & would sell it to someone in the aristocracy who had the financial backing to support a farm. Though there were some public lands available to the common person for use, aristocrats also tended to purchase those pieces of land, which caused a great deal of tension between the two classes. Some theorize that “Mass eviction of the poor by the rich underlay the political tensions & civil wars of the last century of the Roman Republic.” Another way to acquire land was as a reward for going to war. High ranking soldiers returning from war would often be given small pieces of public land or land in provinces as a way of paying them for their services. The last way to obtain land was through inheritance. A father could leave his land to his family, usually to his son, in the event of his death.


Cato explained that though some small farms were owned by lower class citizens & soldiers, much of the land was controlled by the noble class of Rome. Land ownership was just one of many distinctions that set the aristocracy apart from the lower classes. Aristocracy would "reorganize small holdings into larger more profitable farms in order to compete with other nobles." It was considered a point of pride to own not just the largest piece of land, but also to have land that grew high quality produce. As Cato wrote "when they would praise a worthy man their praise took this form: 'Good husband good farmer'; it is from the farming class that the bravest men & the sturdiest soldiers come." Careful planning went into every detail of owning & maintaining a farm in Roman culture.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

Kermesse - Outdoor Celebrations for the entire community

 1590 Gillis Mostaert (1528–1598) Village Kermesse

Kermesse, a festival or fair, is a Dutch language term derived from 'kerk' (church) & 'mis' (mass) originally denoting the mass said on the anniversary of the foundation of a church (or a parish). Such celebrations were regularly held in the Low Countries & also in northern France, & were accompanied by feasting, dancing & sports of all kinds. Now called "Kermes” in Germany, & “la quermes” in Spain, by any name it has come to mean a small community carnival featuring games of chance & skill, music, refreshments, entertainment, laughter, & fun.
Unknown Artist of the Flemish School The Kermesse Of Saint George


Circle of Marten van Cleve  (c. 1527-b. 1581)  A Village Kermesse


Circle of Marten van Cleve  (c. 1527-b. 1581)  A Village Kermesse


 David Teniers the Elder (1582-1649) Village Kermess


 David Teniers the Younger (1610-1690) A Country Kermesse


 Jan Steen (Dutch artist, 1626-1679)  A Village Revel 1673


Lucas van Valkenborch or van Valckenborch (Flemish painter, c 1530-1597)  A Village Kermesse


Petrus Paulus Rubens (1577-1640) La Kermesse ou Noce de village


 Pieter Brueghel the Elder (1525-1569) Village Dance


Pieter Brueghel Younger (1564-1638)  The Kermesse of St George

Lucas van Valkenborch or van Valckenborch (Flemish painter, c 1530-1597) Rural Festival in the Landscape


Circle of Joris Hoefnagel or Georg Hoefnagel (1542-1601).  A village festival with elegantly dressed figures in procession

Summer - Harvesting, Dancing, & Courting in the Fields

Nicolas Lancret (1690-1743) L'Eté - Summer

Grain agriculture in ancient Rome provided bread for everyman's table & was idealized among the social elite as a way of life. Cicero considered farming the best of all Roman occupations. In his treatise On Duties, he declared that "of all the occupations by which gain is secured, none is better than agriculture, none more profitable, none more delightful, none more becoming to a free man." When one of his clients was derided in court for preferring a rural lifestyle, Cicero defended country life as "the teacher of economy, of industry, & of justice." Cato wrote "when they would praise a worthy man their praise took this form: 'Good husband good farmer'; it is from the farming class that the bravest men & the sturdiest soldiers come."  Cato, Columella, Varro & Palladius wrote handbooks on farming.

Staple crops included wheat, emmer, spelt, & barley, all of them used for bread, the mainstay of every Roman table. In his treatise De agricultura ("On Farming", 2nd century BC), Cato wrote that the best farms contained a vineyard, followed by an irrigated garden, willow plantation, olive orchard, meadow, grain land, forest trees, vineyard trained on trees, & lastly acorn woodlands. "The people living in the city of Rome constituted a huge market for the purchase of food produced on Italian farms.  Cato claimed that a small farm should have "a foreman, a foreman's wife, ten laborers, one ox driver, one donkey driver, one man in charge of the willow grove, one swineherd, in all sixteen persons; two oxen, two donkeys for wagon work, one donkey for the mill work." 

Land ownership was a dominant factor in distinguishing the aristocracy from the common person, & the more land a Roman owned, the more important he would be in the city. Soldiers were often rewarded with land from the commander they served. Though farms depended on slave labor, free men & citizens were hired at farms to oversee the slaves & ensure that the farms ran smoothly.  The Romans had four systems of farm management: direct work by owner & his family; tenant farming or sharecropping in which the owner & a tenant divide up a farm's produce; forced labor by slaves owned by aristocrats & supervised by slave managers; & other arrangements in which a farm was leased to a tenant.

There was much commerce between the provinces of the empire, & all regions of the empire were largely economically interdependent. Some provinces specialized in the production of grains including wheat, emmer, spelt, barley, & millet; others in wine & others in olive oil, depending on the soil type. Columella writes in his Res Rustica, "Soil that is heavy, chalky, & wet is not unsuited to the growing for winter wheat & spelt. Barley tolerates no place except one that is loose & dry."  Pliny the Elder wrote extensively about agriculture in his Naturalis Historia including chapter XVIII on The Natural History of Grain 

In the Roman Empire, some calculated that a family of 6 people would need to cultivate 12 iugera/ 3 hectares of land to meet minimum food requirements (without animals). Romans could acquire land for a farm in one of three ways. The most common way to gain land was to purchase the land. Though some lower class citizens did own small pieces of land, they often found it too difficult & expensive to maintain, & would sell it to someone in the aristocracy who had the financial backing to support a farm. Though there were some public lands available to the common person for use, aristocrats also tended to purchase those pieces of land, which caused a great deal of tension between the two classes. Some theorize that “Mass eviction of the poor by the rich underlay the political tensions & civil wars of the last century of the Roman Republic.” Another way to acquire land was as a reward for going to war. High ranking soldiers returning from war would often be given small pieces of public land or land in provinces as a way of paying them for their services. The last way to obtain land was through inheritance. A father could leave his land to his family, usually to his son, in the event of his death.


Cato explained that though some small farms were owned by lower class citizens & soldiers, much of the land was controlled by the noble class of Rome. Land ownership was just one of many distinctions that set the aristocracy apart from the lower classes. Aristocracy would "reorganize small holdings into larger more profitable farms in order to compete with other nobles." It was considered a point of pride to own not just the largest piece of land, but also to have land that grew high quality produce. As Cato wrote "when they would praise a worthy man their praise took this form: 'Good husband good farmer'; it is from the farming class that the bravest men & the sturdiest soldiers come." Careful planning went into every detail of owning & maintaining a farm in Roman culture.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Gardens, Gardeners Working, & Owners Resting from 1594 Thomas Hill's Gardener's Labyrinth

1594 Thomas Hill's Gardener's Labyrinthshowing a twice enclosed garden design - the inner with a balustrade and the outer with a wooden fence

 1594 Thomas Hill's Gardener's Labyrinth, showing gardener maintaining raised garden beds


1594 Thomas Hill's Gardener's Labyrinth, 1594 showing sowing, seeding and weeding 


1594 Thomas Hill's Gardener's Labyrinth, 1594 showing flowers being grown in raised beds


1594 Thomas Hill's Gardener's Labyrinth, showing a covered arbour to be enjoyed in bright sunshine


1594 Thomas Hill's Gardener's Labyrinth, showing a water pump at the left


1594 Thomas Hill's Gardener's Labyrinth showing gentlemen in a fenced garden enjoying wine & fruit (title-page)

1604-05 Urban Garden

View of an urban garden with horizon line Engraving from Hans Vredeman de Vries Perspective Leiden H. Hondius, 1604-1605

Sunday, July 15, 2018

Wages for Farm Labor Summer Harvesting by Sebastian Vrancx (1573-1647)

 Sebastian Vrancx (Flemish artist, 1573-1647) Summer

The Black Death of 1348 killed a large number of the peasant population. This meant that there were not enough peasants to work in the fields. Landowners desperate for workers to harvest their crops began offering wages to anyone who would work on their land. Peasants were, for the first time, able to offer their services to the landowner that would pay the highest wage.

Saturday, July 14, 2018

Couple sit at a table in a 16C pleasure garden making music & eating.

 Crispin de Passe (1565-1637), The Four Elements - Earth.  Lady and gentleman sit at a table in a 16C pleasure garden making music and eating.

Summer Harvesting - Traditional Farm Work

 Book of Hours, France, Loire, ca. 1475, MS G.1 I fol. 6r b

Grain agriculture in ancient Rome provided bread for everyman's table & was idealized among the social elite as a way of life. Cicero considered farming the best of all Roman occupations. In his treatise On Duties, he declared that "of all the occupations by which gain is secured, none is better than agriculture, none more profitable, none more delightful, none more becoming to a free man." When one of his clients was derided in court for preferring a rural lifestyle, Cicero defended country life as "the teacher of economy, of industry, & of justice." Cato wrote "when they would praise a worthy man their praise took this form: 'Good husband good farmer'; it is from the farming class that the bravest men & the sturdiest soldiers come."  Cato, Columella, Varro & Palladius wrote handbooks on farming.

Staple crops included wheat, emmer, spelt, & barley, all of them used for bread, the mainstay of every Roman table. In his treatise De agricultura ("On Farming", 2nd century BC), Cato wrote that the best farms contained a vineyard, followed by an irrigated garden, willow plantation, olive orchard, meadow, grain land, forest trees, vineyard trained on trees, & lastly acorn woodlands. "The people living in the city of Rome constituted a huge market for the purchase of food produced on Italian farms.  Cato claimed that a small farm should have "a foreman, a foreman's wife, ten laborers, one ox driver, one donkey driver, one man in charge of the willow grove, one swineherd, in all sixteen persons; two oxen, two donkeys for wagon work, one donkey for the mill work." 

Land ownership was a dominant factor in distinguishing the aristocracy from the common person, & the more land a Roman owned, the more important he would be in the city. Soldiers were often rewarded with land from the commander they served. Though farms depended on slave labor, free men & citizens were hired at farms to oversee the slaves & ensure that the farms ran smoothly.  The Romans had four systems of farm management: direct work by owner & his family; tenant farming or sharecropping in which the owner & a tenant divide up a farm's produce; forced labor by slaves owned by aristocrats & supervised by slave managers; & other arrangements in which a farm was leased to a tenant.

There was much commerce between the provinces of the empire, & all regions of the empire were largely economically interdependent. Some provinces specialized in the production of grains including wheat, emmer, spelt, barley, & millet; others in wine & others in olive oil, depending on the soil type. Columella writes in his Res Rustica, "Soil that is heavy, chalky, & wet is not unsuited to the growing for winter wheat & spelt. Barley tolerates no place except one that is loose & dry."  Pliny the Elder wrote extensively about agriculture in his Naturalis Historia including chapter XVIII on The Natural History of Grain 

In the Roman Empire, some calculated that a family of 6 people would need to cultivate 12 iugera/ 3 hectares of land to meet minimum food requirements (without animals). Romans could acquire land for a farm in one of three ways. The most common way to gain land was to purchase the land. Though some lower class citizens did own small pieces of land, they often found it too difficult & expensive to maintain, & would sell it to someone in the aristocracy who had the financial backing to support a farm. Though there were some public lands available to the common person for use, aristocrats also tended to purchase those pieces of land, which caused a great deal of tension between the two classes. Some theorize that “Mass eviction of the poor by the rich underlay the political tensions & civil wars of the last century of the Roman Republic.” Another way to acquire land was as a reward for going to war. High ranking soldiers returning from war would often be given small pieces of public land or land in provinces as a way of paying them for their services. The last way to obtain land was through inheritance. A father could leave his land to his family, usually to his son, in the event of his death.

Cato explained that though some small farms were owned by lower class citizens & soldiers, much of the land was controlled by the noble class of Rome. Land ownership was just one of many distinctions that set the aristocracy apart from the lower classes. Aristocracy would "reorganize small holdings into larger more profitable farms in order to compete with other nobles." It was considered a point of pride to own not just the largest piece of land, but also to have land that grew high quality produce. As Cato wrote "when they would praise a worthy man their praise took this form: 'Good husband good farmer'; it is from the farming class that the bravest men & the sturdiest soldiers come." Careful planning went into every detail of owning & maintaining a farm in Roman culture.

Friday, July 13, 2018

Summer in the Garden- Jan Saenredam (Dutch printmaker, c 1565-1607)

 Jan Saenredam (Dutch printmaker, c 1565-1607) The Four Seasons - Summer

Summer Harvesting - Illuminated Manuscripts

Book of Hours Belgium, Bruges, ca. 1520 MS M.307 fol. 4v Morgan Library


Women in The Fields
Charged with children & overcharged by landlords, what they may spare they spend on milk/ or on meal to make porridge to still the sobbing of the children at meal time...The sadness of the women who live in these hovels is too sad to speak of or say in rhyme.
William Langland, The Vision of Piers Plowman (c. 1365)

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Making Hay 1515 Illuminated Manuscript by Simon Bening (1484–1561)

1515 Da Costa Hours, in Latin Illuminated by Simon Bening (1484–1561) Belgium, Bruges, c 1515 Making Hay

Women Work in the Fields in addition to Her Other Chores

If the husband has sheep of his own, then his wife may have some of the wool, to make her husband & herself some clothes... she may also take wool to spin for the cloth makers. That way she can earn her own living, & still have plenty of time to do other work... It is the wife's occupation to winnow corn, to make malt, to wash clothes, to make hay & to cut corn. In time of need she should help her husband fill the dung-cart, drive the plough, & load the hay & corn. She should also go to the market to sell butter, cheese, milk, eggs, chickens, pigs, geese & corn. & also to buy the things needed for the household. haymaking.

William FitzHerbert, Book of Husbandry (c. 1140)