Monday, March 31, 2014

Artz of Chuck Wagon

The word of the day was grub; as in the slang word for food used by cowboys in the 1880s. It was called substandard slang by the author of the article I read. But that is not what intrigued me. What got my attention was the phrase “grub was served up by the chuck wagon”.  Chuck wagon, I have always wondered why it was called a chuck wagon. Once upon a time I thought it was because the wagon belonged to a guy named Chuck. NOT true.

A Texas rancher named Charles Goodnight “invented” the first chuck wagon. Concerned about feeding his cow hands while they were on cattle drive fueled his creativity and he converted a Studebaker wagon into a place for the cook to store, prepare and transport the items needed to feed the crew.  Yes, you read that right, Studebaker as in the car, wagon.
                     Chuck wagon Catering Company original 1895 Studebaker Chuck wagon

 The Studebaker family came from Holland and arrived in America at the Port of Philadelphia in 1736.  On a census from Pennsylvania dated 1798 the occupation of the men of the family was listed as wagon makers. In 1835 they are found in Ohio and John Studebaker and 5 of his sons list their trade as wagon makers. 

1852 members of the family are in South Bend, Indiana. Another family member is in Placerville California 1n 1849 making wheelbarrows for miners.  1857 found family members building wagons for the United States Army. In 1895 Mr. Fish who had married Grace Studebaker was toying with the idea of a horseless carriage and in 1904 Studebaker was manufacturing gasoline powered motorized vehicles. 

About one third of the wagons crossing the prairies during the migration toward Oklahoma and beyond were Studebaker wagons.  Our rancher, Mr. Goodnight used a wagon that had seen service in the Military during the late Civil War.

The food served from a chuck wagon was easily stored, preserved and cooked such as salted meats, dried meats, beans coffee and sourdough biscuits. The word chuck comes from a word used on ships during the early 1800s to mean biscuit, bun, scone or muffin.  The closest word I could find was a Swedish word, kex which translates to biscuit.  In the late 1600s chuck referred to a very cheap cut of beef in English market places.

  The chuck wagon was not named chuck in honor of Charles Goodnight; even if his good friends did call him Chuck.

This week we present the Artz of Chuck Wagon.

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Artz of Xerxes


A powerful Persian King whose name means "ruling over heroes". He was the son of Darius I and his wife Atossa, a daughter of Cyrus the Great, founder of the Persian Empire. Xerxes was crowned when he was about 36 and became King of Persia and Media, Great King, King of Kings, the King of Nations.

Stairway leading to ceremonial complex (Apadana), Persepolis, Iran. Persians. C. 491-486 BCE. -relief sculpture -Darius holds an audience while his son Xerxes listens behind the throne. -Once brightly painted.

The armies of Persia incorporated soldiers from Babylon, Phonecia, Mesopotemia, Egypt and Israel. Darius I died while assembling an army to attack and punish Athens for defeating the Persians at Marathon. Xerxes was left with this task and he planned to invade Athens. His first attempt to cross Hellespont failed when a storm destroyed the bridges he had ordered built. His second attempt was successful and many of the smaller Greek states along with other powerful kingdoms joined sides with Persia.

Xerxes killing a Greek hoplite, perhaps Leonidas....seal from the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

After the defeat of the Spartans and King Leonidas at The Hot Gates Xerxes captured Athens. What happened in Athens has forever stayed in Athens. Tales raced through Greece that Xerxes ordered the city burned in a fit of anger and retribution. But, why would such a strategic, forward thinking King destroy such a vital trade port. Some legends tell of the burning of the city as an accident set about by the panic that ensued before the attack as terrified and frightened citizens fled for the Isthmus of Cornith. Other legends whisper of it being a Scorched Earth, a strategic military manuever where everything that may be an asset to an incoming enemy is destroyed; food supplies, wells, shelter, equipment are all burned. This tactic had been used against his father by the Scythians years earlier. It would also be considered as a means to keep out the armies of the Alexander the Great several years later.

15 years after his encounter with King Leonidas, Xerxes and his eldest son are murdered.

                                                          Xerxes Tomb

This same Xerxes is the Persian King of the Biblical tale of the young girl Esther.

Esther before Xerxes TINTORETTO 1547-48 Oil on canvas

This week we give you the Artz of Xerxes.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Marmalade Cat Artz

On November 30th 1962 Sir John Colville, also known as Jock, gave Sir Winston Churchill a cat. It was the Prime Minister’s Birthday and he was very fond of cats.  He named the cat Jock and the Marmalade, white socked and white bibbed cat settled in to live at Chartwell.

The Churchills bought Chartwell in 1922. In 1965 after he had died his wife released the house to the National Trust. In 1966 it was opened to the public for tours.

Legend tells us that PM Churchill would not sit down for dinner until Jock showed up.  The two were very close.  It was Churchill’s wish that the cat be allowed to stay in the house after his death. 

Years later his family insisted that there always be a Marmalade cat with 4 white socks and a white bib living at Chartwell.
Last week Jock VI moved into Chartwell. Jock V and the previous care taker have retired to the Scottish countryside.

Marmalade cats are also known as Ginger Cats and can range in color from pale orange to a deep red. They are often tabby patterned or striped.  Marmalade cats also tend to be male.

This week in honor of Jock VI we present ….

Marmalade Cat Artz

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Artz of cousin Sawrey

                                     Sawrey Gilpin
                                               by William Sherlock
                                                watercolour, 1790s
                                                   NPG 4328

                                          © National Portrait Gallery, London
Sawrey Gilpin, another cousin, was the younger brother of William Gilpin who we focused on a few weeks ago; famous for his “picturesque” art. His father operated an art school in Carlisle and at age 14 Sawrey was sent to London to study art under Samuel Scott for nine years in Covent Garden.  But Sawrey was not interested in plants and flowers; he drew instead the horses he saw in and around the Garden.

Furiband with his Owner Sir Harry Harpur and a Groom, 1774, oil on canvas, Calke Abbey, Derbyshire

Sawrey Gilpin was also an English painter, illustrator and etcher. He specialized in animals, specifically horses and sporting dogs. His work was so good that he was employed by the Duke of Cumberland,
Prince William Augustus, youngest son to George II King of England to paint portraits of his “celebrated” racing horses.
                                                        Mare and Stallion in a Landscape
He was born in 1744 and by 1774 he was president of the Incorporated Society of Artists. He exhibited at the Royal Academy from 1786 until his death in 1807. In 1797 Sawrey Gilpin was made a Royal Academician. 

A Brown and White Setter in a Wooded Landscape
Landscapes were not the best thing he painted so there are several collaborations where other artists such as William Hodges, George Barret, and Philip Reinagle painted pastoral forests and Sawrey painted in the deer, horses or cattle.
        Sawrey Gilpin, George Barret Senior Broodmares and Colts in a Landscape

Monday, March 3, 2014

Artz of the Battle of Worcester

Every week I wait for what will inspire me for the following week’s Artz focus. Lately it has been family ghosts who were artists.
As I was pondering and ghost hunting I came upon my 9th Great Grandfather Thomas Gilpin. He was involved in an interesting bit of History, the Battle of Worcester. This occurred on 3 September 1651 in Worcester England. It was to be the final battle of the English Civil War. Oliver Cromwell and his Parliamentarian soldiers defeat King Charles II and his Royalist Soldiers.

                                                       Oliver Cromwell by Robert Walker

Cromwell established the commonwealth of England and made himself her protectorate. Grandfather Gilpin commanded a regiment of Ironsides at the battle of Worcester. The Ironsides were Parliamentarian troops in the Calvary. The name comes from Old Ironsides a nickname many had for Cromwell. The entire Gilpin family remained loyal supporters of Cromwell up until his death in 1658. In 1661 Grandfather Gilpin was arrested for refusing to sign an oath of allegiance to King Charles II who was back on the throne. 
                                                          Portrait of King Charles II / Studio of Adriaen Hanneman

King Charles escaped Cromwell and after 6 weeks of adventure he made his way to France. During his travel through Bristol; Jane Lane, the sister of Colonel Lane in King Charles Army disguised the King as a man servant and traveled with him to Bristol where Charles was to board a ship for France. There was no ship and his adventure continued.
Henry Lascelles; Jane (née Lane), Lady Fisher; King Charles II probably by or after Stefano della Bella etching

This week we present the Artz of the Battle of Worcester.