Sunday, March 31, 2013

A Rocker's BIO - Imagine That

Not Rockers with guitars. . .old Rocking chairs.

'The Rocker', by DG Hudson

If inanimate objects could talk, we could ask from whence they came. This post illustrates the attachment some of us have for the history of an object. Objects can inspire wonder, motivate research, and later provide fodder to be used in writing. This chair, The Rocker, is one of those objects for me.

The seat is dark green leather, the wood could be maple or oak. It’s dated by the antique store as 1850s vintage. (The American Civil War took place between 1861 - 1865.) The wear is more evident in the middle of the rockers, but the sturdiness of the chair's curves show its hidden strength. The original seat is long gone, the leather one was added by a friend. A wide headboard and tall back provide support for the head and shoulders of an adult. The low arms seem designed for the ease of holding a small child. 

Due to its venerable age and for its own protection, The Rocker was hidden in the bedroom during the rambunctious years of our kids. One wooden armchair provided an early warning of what could happen, when it suffered structural damage after a backwards fall.

Was The Rocker created by a loving father before or during the Civil War? Did a mother or a young helper use this chair to soothe a fretful child as the 19th century  turned into the 20th? How many children have been rocked into pleasant rest or heard fanciful stories of hidden worlds in this very chair?


'The Rocker' back view, by DG Hudson

Did a Victorian mother rock in a similar chair while she waited for the daughter and her escort to return? Did the girl who danced as a flapper wait in the chair for her beau to come by, while reading one of the new serials?

Did someone write letters in this chair during the war years? Where was The Rocker during the Depression? Stored or sitting on a front porch? How did it get to be in the respected furniture dealers' lot in Canada? Stored and shipped around, the chair could have come from England or eastern Canada. The possibilities are endless in my imagination. 
Purchased in an antique furniture dealers' store, The Rocker was my reading chair when we first discovered it, before it became the primary means of inducing sleep in those under the age of two. The Rocker, if it is from the 1850s, is about 163 years old now. It's still rocking.


Do you have rocking chairs, old or modern? If rocking chairs aren't your style, do you collect other objects with historical value?

This post was inspired by Ella's Edge "Do you have a favorite chair?". Thanks Ella, for stirring those memories.

Please share your thoughts in the comments and thanks for dropping by.



old (less than 100 years) or antique rocking chairs (greater than 100 years) Collectors Weekly photo that's similar Varieties of antique and old rocking chairs.


Friday, March 15, 2013

Reflections of France - Paris, Versailles, and Giverny

Reflections are like a window on a reverse world, or a parallel universe. The mirror effect expands our view of reality, even though we know it's an illusion. Hope you enjoy the following examples. (Remember Alice in  'Through the Looking-Glass')


Back view of Versailles, with Reflection, by DG Hudson
This was the palace of the Sun King, Louis XIV. In the back of the estate after an autumn rain, pools reflect the splendor that formed a 'gilded cage'. 
Versailles Reflection, close view, by DG Hudson


Monet's Water Garden, reflections of willows and water lilies on an overcast day. The boat is also reflected in the calm surface.

Monet's Water Garden, Giverny, by DG Hudson


Le Moulin de Fourges - a former mill with an attached restaurant lies between Giverny and Versailles in France. We had lunch here at this quiet spot in the countryside as part of a tour booked from Paris.

Le Moulin de Fourges, France, by DG Hudson


Old Paris neighborhood, in miniature

Not a true reflection, but a scene reflecting the winding streets of a historical Paris, this small scale model can be found at the Carnavalet Museum.

Old Paris in Miniature, Carnavalet Museum by DG Hudson


Do you look for reflections when you are traveling or after a rainy day? Do you like to see images with reflections? Have you ever use reflection as an element in your writing?  Please share in the comments.


Lewis Carroll's 'Through the Looking-Glass'
2012 post for C-Carnavalet Museum in the A to Z blog Challenge. Carnavalet Museum

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Paris - The Fountain of the Innocents

A fountain can be decorative, but its main use is to provide water.

This fountain pictured below we discovered on one of our walks in old Paris. Commissioned for the royal entry of King Henry II into Paris in 1549, the free-standing version below is a representation of the original. The Fountain of the Innocents (Fontaine des Innocents) is the oldest monument fountain in Paris.

Fontaine des Innocents, Paris, by DG Hudson

The Fontaine des Innocents located in the Les Halles district of Paris was inspired by the architecture of ancient Rome. Its first incarnation was a grand viewing stand for the elite as well as a fountain complete with taps at street level for the public. It was called the 'Fountain of the Nymphs' when originally constructed  between 1547 and 1550. The architectural style in Paris at that time was French Renaissance.

Fontaine des Innocents, water flowing, by DG Hudson

For sanitary reasons, the cemeteries of Paris were moved in 1787 to a location outside the city walls and the former cemetery of the Church of the Saints-Innocents (on the other side of the supporting wall) was transformed into a public square. The fountain was saved by the efforts of a writer, Quatremere de Quincy, who urged the preservation of what he called 'a masterpiece of French sculpture'.

Fontaine des Innocents embellishments, by DG Hudson

This public square was a peaceful spot to sit and contemplate the history that this fountain had seen. Raised seating around the perimeter provides a place to sit and few tourists haunt the area. I tried to imagine the common folk of Paris coming to collect their water centuries before.  The cemeteries were moved outside of the city due to the huge collection of dead bodies that had been interred inside the walls of the church. After centuries of this practice, toxins leached into the soil and the ground water supply. This caused cholera and many deaths. See links below about the original church and its mass graves.


Have you visited any historical fountains in your travels or in your own city? OR Have you heard of the mass graves and associated disease?  Please share in the comments. Thanks for stopping by.


Fountain of the Innocents
Quatremere de Quincy wiki
Saints Innocents Cemetery