Sunday 27 September 2015


MY NEIGHBOR WELLINGTON: PORTUGUESE LEGENDS: Funny thing again, this time with coffee or more so, sugar. Here I was, waiting for a friend at a coffee house, when I noticed the back...

Wednesday 23 September 2015

More On The Shot Pouch-A Personal Choice.

The shot pouch was and is a practicle item worn by some hunters/shooters. This pouch carries the shot and tools necessary for the functioning of a muzzle-loading gun or rifle. As to the wearing of a shot pouch, it is not my purpose here to dictate how it should be correctly worn, as I think this is a personal choice. I have found though that carrying the shot pouch too low poses problems when hunting in the bush, so I wear my own pouch as high as I can under my right arm and still get my hand into the pouch without having to move it to my front.
My shot pouch is not large, and a larger opening would I think allow me to wear it higher. Also I may be a little restricted from a past shoulder injury, so these are things to take into account when viewing original painting of the period. The paintings here are 18th and 19th century, as it is the position of the pouch we are concerned with when it is worn by those who earn their living from hunting and trapping.

Someone recently made the observation that Gentlemen may not necessarily wear a shot pouch in the same way as a hunter or trapper. This could quite possibly be true, so I have included artwork of Gentlemen shooters as well as hunters and trappers. But as you will see, very few Gentlemen actually used a shot pouch, preferring instead to carry their accouterments in their coat pockets. 

Attributed to David, Antonio (Italian painter, active 1684) , William Howard, Viscount Andover (1714-56).

England 1769 William Hulton with Gun-Dog and Shotgun by Henry Pickering (British artist, fl 1740-c 1771).

Fleetwood Hezketh
Joseph Wright of Derby (1769)

England 1680 John Poulett, 1st Earl Poulett by John Closterman (British artist, 1660-1711).

The pouch hanging on the tree looks too small to be a game bag.
England 1774 Sir Edward Hales, Baronet, of Hales Place, Hackington, Kent by Philip Mercier (German-born painter, c 1689-1760).

Detail from James and Mary Shuttleworth...
Joseph Wright of Derby (1764)

This English Gentleman appears to have a shot pouch on a waist belt, which can be seen on the rock to the right.
England 1752 A Sportsman by Edward Haytley 1752.

This Gentleman is indeed using what appears to be a shoulder slung shot pouch, but this I believe was painted in America.
1782 Colonel John Onslow by Ralph Earl (American painter, 1751-1801).

The following paintings are of hunters and trappers in America.

The Trapper's Bride, Alfred Jacob Miller.


No artist named for this painting.

Joseph Brant 1790.

Again, no artist named, but notice the pouch hanging over the powder horn.

Two American riflemen as drawn by a Hessian. These could be cartridge boxes or shot pouches. Also note the bayonets ! Some artistic licence being used here I suspect.

At the Sign of the Golden Scissors: Ads for Stomachers

At the Sign of the Golden Scissors: Ads for Stomachers: Most of us who are familiar with stomachers know that many are lost or separated from their original gowns.   The smallest part of the ensem...

Monday 21 September 2015

The Project Gutenberg EBook of The Complete Herbal, by Nicholas Culpeper

The Roanoke Island Colony: Lost, and Found? A Link.

Australian Convict Blankets.

I recieved an email from one of our new members in Tasmania requesting help with information regarding blankets issued to convicts. This to date is what I have found. 

Blankets seen here in a convict hospital aboard a convict hulk.

This PDF mentions blankets being made by convict women.

 "Female convicts worked on various tasks at the factory such as laundry, spinning, needlework and manufacturing blankets". 

Once tried and sentenced convicts were sent to a receiving hulk for four to six days, where they were washed, inspected and issued with clothing, blankets, mess mugs and plates. 

The year 1801 saw the introduction of female convicts to the manufacture of rough woollen blankets at the Parramatta gaol. This establishment, which became known as 'The Factory', was founded to defray the cost of clothing the convicts in New South Wales and in Van Diemen's Land. Although able-bodied convicts were in great demand as labourers by the free settlers, the Government felt that some contribution had to be made by the convicts towards their own upkeep.

For your Excellency's information I have taken the liberty to insert the articles in the margin which come under the head of necessaries, to which I beg leave to add blankets and sheets for the hospital, none of which are in the colony, altho' they are essential and absolutely necessary.

Sometimes they [convicts] act plays with a screen of blankets for the drop-scene, getting together remnants of stolen toggery to deck out their persons with;


18th Century Vermicelli Pudding aka Kugel

Sunday 20 September 2015

Saturday 19 September 2015

Sydney Cove 1788.

Reading Glasses.

Reading glasses were in use from very early on. But what I was looking for was a pair of spectacles that I did not have to hold in one hand, and did not have a tendency to fall off my face every time I moved my head. These were not just needed for reading, they were also needed for the cleaning and dressing of wounds, and for repairs on my guns if ever required.
I could not find anything suitable for the early to mid 18th century, all seemed to date to the American Revolution. So listening to my own advice of "earlier is better than later", I purchased a pair of 17th century reading spectacles from Trevor Timms in England (trevortimms@blueyonder.co.uk). 
These spectacles are sturdy to say the least, & there are no arms to get broken. They are secured to the head by a cord, ribbon or leather tie, so there is no chance of them falling off my head, and the optometrist had no problems fitting my prescription lenses. 

My spectacles case is a copy of an original made by my youngest son.

The alternative to reading spectacles is the reading glass. The one below I made using an old magnifying lens, copied from an original including the case.

At the Sign of the Golden Scissors: Early Stomachers

At the Sign of the Golden Scissors: Early Stomachers: Moving forward from the 17th century to the early 18th century. What is going on with the stomacher? The stomacher has to become separat...

Monday 14 September 2015

Now fearch for Tow, and fome old Saddle pierce. No Wadding lies fo clofe, or drives fo fierce.

I have used leather wads for many years now, using my Father’s old 20 gauge wad punch. I started using leather wads not because of some historical documentation, but because it seemed the common sense and practicle thing to do. Leather will not take fire and be a danger in dry weather. Then recently I found this 18th century poem. It says in part:
Or, the art of
Now fearch for Tow, and fome old Saddle
No Wadding lies fo clofe, or drives fo fierce.

Old Saddle Pierce? This had me foxed for a while, and then I realised that this being a poem, it may not necessarily refer to an item per se but more of a procedure or action. So I searched the dictionary for the word “pierce”, and this in part is what I got:
Pierced. Piercing.
1.    to penetrate (something), as a pointed object does.
2.   to make a hole or opening in; perforate.
3.   To make (a hole or opening) by or as if by boring or perforating.

From this I deduct that “old saddle pierce” is most likely to be the cutting of leather wads from old saddle leather.

What are your thoughts?

Making Switchel.


Wednesday 9 September 2015

Harvesting charcoal from constructed clamp - 17th century

How people made and ate sugar before the late 16th century

This is a sugarloaf. It's how people made and ate sugar before the late 16th century

Posted by Inverse on Wednesday, 2 September 2015