Monday, 21 August 2017

Ties The Book of Public School Old Boys, University, Navy. Army, Air Force & Club Ties Hardcover – 1968 by James. Laver



Review
By Andrew S. Rogerson 5 August 2012 -
Produced in 1968 and introduced (though not written) by British costume historian James Laver, this is a remarkably thorough look at the title topic. As the first paragraph of the preface says, "As far as we can trace, this is the first book to be published that illustrates a large number of the best-known ties of Britain, as well as some from Commonwealth countries. We believe it will be extremely useful both to those whose work involves ties and to all those who are interested in them."

How useful it is will be evident to anyone familiar with South Carolina menswear retailer Ben Silver, who produces ties based on many of the same old boys, university, etc. designs catalogued in this book. The descriptions in their catalog and on their website seem to draw extensively from the information in this book. I say that not as a criticism, but just to point out that this is indeed a reference still in use today.

Which isn't to say it's perfect. Great as the full-color plates are, reproducing 21 or more ties on a page desn't allow for much detail, particularly on crested ties. And one area where the descriptions are incomplete (and where Ben Silver's descriptions in fact add value) is in listing the colors on each tie (while the plates do show color, it would be nice if they were named). This book is supplemented, but not made obsolete, by the later volume Ties of Distinction (Schiffer Book for Designers & Collectors). Get the other too if this is something you're interested in. But if a chance does arise to grab a copy of this at a non-extortionate price, do so.







Saturday, 19 August 2017

Le Château de Vaux-le-Vicomte





Once a small château between the royal residences of Vincennes and Fontainebleau, the estate of Vaux-le-Vicomte was purchased in 1641 by Nicolas Fouquet, an ambitious 26-year-old member of the Parlement of Paris. Fouquet was an avid patron of the arts, attracting many artists with his generosity.
When Fouquet became King Louis XIV's superintendant of finances in 1657, he commissioned Le Vau, Le Brun and Le Nôtre to renovate his estate and garden to match his grand ambition. Fouquet’s artistic and cultivated personality subsequently brought out the best in the three.
To secure the necessary grounds for the elaborate plans for Vaux-le-Vicomte’s garden and castle, Fouquet purchased and demolished three villages. The displaced villagers were then employed in the upkeep and maintenance of the gardens. It was said to have employed 18 thousand workers and cost as much as 16 million livres.
The château and its patron became for a short time a focus for fine feasts, literature and arts. The poet Jean de La Fontaine and the playwright Molière were among the artists close to Fouquet. At the inauguration of Vaux-le-Vicomte, a Molière play was performed, along with a dinner event organized by François Vatel and an impressive firework show.
The château was lavish, refined and dazzling to behold, but those characteristics proved tragic for its owner: the king had Fouquet arrested shortly after a famous fête that took place on 17 August 1661, where Molière's play 'Les Fâcheux' debuted. The celebration had been too impressive and the superintendent's home too luxurious. Fouquet's intentions were to flatter the king: part of Vaux-le-Vicomte was actually constructed specifically for the king, but Fouquet's plan backfired. Jean-Baptiste Colbert led the king to believe that his minister's magnificence was funded by the misappropriation of public funds. Colbert, who then replaced Fouquet as superintendent of finances, arrested him. Later, Voltaire was to sum up the famous fête: "On 17 August, at six in the evening Fouquet was the King of France: at two in the morning he was nobody." La Fontaine wrote describing the fête and shortly afterwards penned his Elégie aux nymphes de Vaux
After Fouquet was arrested and imprisoned for life and his wife exiled, Vaux-le-Vicomte was placed under sequestration. The king seized, confiscated or purchased 120 tapestries, the statues and all the orange trees from Vaux-le-Vicomte. He then sent the team of artists (Le Vau, Le Nôtre and Le Brun) to design what would be a much larger project than Vaux-le-Vicomte, the palace and gardens of Versailles.

Madame Fouquet recovered her property 10 years later and retired there with her eldest son. In 1705, after the death of her husband and son, she decided to put Vaux-le-Vicomte up for sale.






The chateau is situated near the northern end of a 1.5-km long north-south axis with the entrance front facing north. Its elevations are perfectly symmetrical to either side of this axis. Somewhat surprisingly the interior plan is also nearly completely symmetrical with few differences between the eastern and western halves. The two rooms in the centre, the entrance vestibule to the north and the oval salon to the south, were originally an open-air loggia, dividing the chateau into two distinct sections. The interior decoration of these two rooms was therefore more typical of an outdoor setting. Three sets of three arches, those on the entrance front, three more between the vestibule and the salon, and the three leading from the salon to the garden are all aligned and permitted the arriving visitor to see through to the central axis of the garden even before entering the chateau. The exterior arches could be closed with iron gates and only later were filled in with glass doors and the interior arches with mirrored doors. Since the loggia divided the building into two halves, there are two symmetrical staircases on either side of it, rather than a single staircase. The rooms in the eastern half of the house were intended for the use of the king, those in the western were for Fouquet. The provision of a suite of rooms for the king was normal practice in aristocratic houses of the time, since the king travelled frequently.
Another surprising feature of the plan is the thickness of the main body of the building (corps de logis), which consists of two rows of rooms running east and west. Traditionally, the middle of the corps de logis of French chateaux consisted of a single row of rooms. Double-thick corps de logis had already been used in hôtels particuliers in Paris, including Le Vau's Hôtel Tambonneau, but Vaux was the first chateau to incorporate this change. Even more unusual, the main rooms are all on the ground floor rather than the first floor (the traditional piano nobile). This accounts for the lack of a grand staircase or a gallery, standard elements of most contemporary chateaux. Also noteworthy are corridors in the basement and on the first floor, which run the length of house, providing privacy to the rooms they access. Up to the middle of the 17th century, corridors were essentially unknown. Another feature of the plan, the four pavilions, one at each corner of the building, is more conventional.
Vaux-le-Vicomte was originally planned to be constructed in brick and stone, but after the mid-century, as the middle classes began to imitate this style, aristocratic circles began using stone exclusively. Rather late in the design process, Fouquet and Le Vau switched to stone, a decision that may have been influenced by the use of stone at François Mansart's Château de Maisons. The service buildings flanking the large avant-cour to the north of the house remained in brick and stone, and other structures preceding them were in rubble-stone and plaster, a social ranking of building materials that would be common in France for a considerable length of time thereafter.[9]
The main chateau is constructed entirely on a moated platform, reached via two bridges, both aligned with the central axis and placed on the north and south sides. The moat is a picturesque holdover from medieval fortified residences, and is again a feature that Le Vau may have borrowed from Maisons. The moat at Vaux may also have been inspired by the previous chateau on the site, which Le Vau's work replaced.
The bridge over the moat on the north side leads from the avant-cour to an ample forecourt, flanked by raised terraces on either side, a layout evoking the cour d'honneur of older aristocratic houses in which the entrance court was enclosed by anterior wings, typically housing kitchens and domestic quarters. Le Vau's terraces even terminate in larger squares suggesting former pavilions. In more modern residences, like Vaux, it had become the custom to put these facilities in the basement, so these structures were no longer needed. This U-shaped plan of the house with the terraces is a device that again recalls Maisons, where Mansart intended "to indicate that his château was conceived in a noble tradition of French design while at the same time emphasizing its modernity in comparison to predecessors."
The entrance front of the main chateau is characteristically French, with the two lateral pavilions flanking a central avant-corps, again reminiscent of Mansart's work at Maisons. Le Vau supplements these with two additional receding volumes between the pavilions and the central mass. All of these elements are further emphasized with steep pyramidal caps. Such steep roofs were inherited from medieval times and, like brick, were rapidly going out of fashion. Le Vau would never use them again. The overall effect at Vaux, according to Andrew Ayers, is "somewhat disparate and disorderly". Moreover, as David Hanser points out, Le Vau's elevation violates several rules of pure classical architecture. One of the most egregious is the use of two, rather than three, bays in the lateral pavilions, resulting in the uncomfortable placement of the pediments directly over the central pilaster. Ayers does concede however that, "although rather ungainly, the entrance facade at Vaux is nonetheless picturesque, in spite, or perhaps because, of its idiosyncrasies."
The garden front of the main chateau is considered more successful. The enormous, double-height Grand Salon that substantially protrudes from the corps de logis clearly dominates the southern elevation. The salon is covered by a huge slate dome surmounted with an imposing lantern and is fronted with a two-storey portico that is almost identical to one at the Hôtel Tambonneau. The use of a central oval salon is an innovation adopted by Le Vau from Italy. Although he himself had never been there, he undoubtedly knew from drawings and engravings of examples in buildings, such as the Palazzo Barberini in Rome, and had already used one to great effect at his Château du Raincy. At Le Raincy the salon spans the corps de logis and projects on both sides, but at Vaux, because of the double row of rooms, it is preceded by the vestibule on the entrance side, "thus delaying and dramatizing the visitor's discovery of this, the centrepiece of the house." The lateral pavilions of the garden facade project only slightly but are three bays wide with traditional tall slate roofs like those on the entrance front, effectively balancing the central domed salon.











Le Nôtre created a magnificent scene to be viewed from the house, using the laws of perspective. Le Nôtre used the natural terrain to his advantage. He placed the canal at the lowest part of the complex, thus hiding it from the main perspectival point of view. Past the canal, the garden ascends a large open lawn and ends with the Hercules column added in the 19th century. Shrubberies provided a picture frame to the garden that also served as a stage for royal fêtes.

Le Nôtre

Le Nôtre employed an optical illusion called anamorphosis abscondita (which might be roughly translated as 'hidden distortion') in his garden design in order to establish decelerated perspective. The most apparent change in this manner is of the reflecting pools. They are narrower at the closest point to the viewer (standing at the rear of the château) than at their farthest point; this makes them appear closer to the viewer. From a certain designed viewing point, the distortion designed into the landscape elements produces a particular forced perspective and the eye perceives the elements to be closer than they actually are. That point, for Vaux-le-Vicomte, is at the top of the stairs at the rear of the château. Standing atop the grand staircase, one begins to experience the garden with a magnificent perspectival view. The anamorphosis abscondita creates visual effects, which are not encountered in nature, making the spectacle of gardens designed in this way extremely unusual to the viewer (who experiences a tension between the natural perspective cues in his peripheral vision and the forced perspective of the formal garden). The perspective effects are not readily apparent in photographs, either, making viewing the gardens in person the only way of truly experiencing them.

From the top of the grand staircase, this gives the impression that the entire garden is revealed in one single glance. Initially, the view consists of symmetrical rows of shrubbery, avenues, fountains, statues, flowers and other pieces developed to imitate nature: the elements exemplify the Baroque desire to mold nature to fit its wishes, thus using nature to imitate nature. The centrepiece is a large reflecting pool flanked by grottos holding statues in their many niches. The grand sloping lawn is not visible until one begins to explore the garden, when the viewer is made aware of the optical elements involved and discovers that the garden is much larger than it looks. Next, a circular pool, previously seen as ovular due to foreshortening, is passed and a canal that bisects the site is revealed, as well as a lower level path. As the viewer continues on, the second pool shows itself to be square and the grottos and their niched statues become clearer. However, when one walks towards the grottos, the relationship between the pool and the grottos appears awry. The grottos are actually on a much lower level than the rest of the garden and separated by a wide canal that is over half a mile (almost a kilometre) long. According to Allen Weiss, in Mirrors of Infinity, this optical effect is a result of the use of the tenth theorem of Euclid's Optics, which asserts that "the most distant parts of planes situated below the eye appear to be the most elevated".
In Fouquet’s time, interested parties could cross the canal in a boat, but walking around the canal provides a view of the woods that mark what is no longer the garden and shows the distortion of the grottos previously seen as sculptural. Once the canal and grottos have been passed, the large sloping lawn is reached and the garden is viewed from the initial viewpoint’s vanishing point, thus completing the circuit as intended by Le Nôtre. From this point, the distortions create the illusion that the gardens are much longer than they actually are. The many discoveries made as one travels through the dynamic garden contrast the static view of the garden from the château.


Thursday, 17 August 2017

The Best Polo in the World | Argentina 2017 | Polo | HD




British settlers in the Argentine pampas started practising it during their free time. Among them, David Shennan is credited with having organised the first formal polo game of the country in 1875, at Estancia El Negrete, located in the province of Buenos Aires.

The sport spread fast between the skilful gauchos and several clubs opened in the following years in the towns of Venado Tuerto, Cañada de Gómez, Quilmes, Flores and later (1888) Hurlingham. In 1892 The River Plate Polo Association was founded and constituted the basis for the current Asociación Argentina de Polo. In the Olympic Games held in Paris in 1924 a team composed by Juan Miles, Enrique Padilla, Juan Nelson, Arturo Kenny, G. Brooke Naylor and A. Peña obtained the first gold medal for the country's olympic history; this also occurred in Berlín 1936 with players Manuel Andrada, Andrés Gazzotti, Roberto Cavanagh, Luis Duggan, Juan Nelson, Diego Cavanagh and Enrique Alberdi.

From then on, the game spread powerfully across the country and Argentina is credited globally as the mecca of polo, mainly because Argentina is notably the country with the largest number ever of 10 handicap players in the world.

Five great teams were able to ensemble together four 10 handicap players in order to make a 40 handicap team: Coronel Suárez, 1975, 1977–1979 (Alberto Heguy, Juan Carlos Harriott, Alfredo Harriot and Horacio Heguy); La Espadaña, 1989–1990 (Carlos Gracida, Gonzalo Pieres, Alfonso Pieres y Ernesto Trotz Jr.); Indios Chapaleufú, 1992–1993 (Bautista Heguy, Gonzalo Heguy, Horacio Heguy Jr. and Marcos Heguy); La Dolfina, 2009–2010 (Adolfo Cambiaso Jr., Lucas Monteverde, Mariano Aguerre y Bartolomé Castagnola); Ellerstina, 2009 (Facundo Pieres, Gonzalo Pieres Jr., Pablo Mac Donough and Juan Martín Nero).

Argentina was host of the ninth edition of the World Polo Championship (for teams of up to 14 goals) at the Estancia Grande Polo Club, in the province of San Luis in October 2011.

The three major polo tournaments in Argentina, known as "Triple Corona" ("Triple Crown"), are Hurlingham Polo Open, Tortugas Polo Open, Palermo Polo Open. Polo season usually last from October to December.


Polo then found popularity throughout the rest of the Americas like Brazil, Chile, Mexico, and the United States of America.





Friday, 11 August 2017

DUEL





A duel is an arranged engagement in combat between two individuals, with matched weapons, in accordance with agreed-upon rules. Duels in this form were chiefly practiced in early modern Europe with precedents in the medieval code of chivalry, and continued into the modern period (19th to early 20th centuries) especially among military officers.
During the 17th and 18th centuries (and earlier), duels were mostly fought with swords (the rapier, and later the smallsword), but beginning in the late 18th century in England, duels were more commonly fought using pistols. Fencing and pistol duels continued to co-exist throughout the 19th century.
The duel was based on a code of honor. Duels were fought not so much to kill the opponent as to gain "satisfaction", that is, to restore one's honor by demonstrating a willingness to risk one's life for it, and as such the tradition of dueling was originally reserved for the male members of nobility; however, in the modern era it extended to those of the upper classes generally. On rare occasions, duels with pistols or swords were fought between women; these were sometimes known as petticoat duels.
Legislation against dueling goes back to the medieval period. The Fourth Council of the Lateran (1215) outlawed duels, and civil legislation in the Holy Roman Empire against dueling was passed in the wake of the Thirty Years' War. From the early 17th century, duels became illegal in the countries where they were practiced. Dueling largely fell out of favor in England by the mid-19th century and in Continental Europe by the turn of the 20th century. Dueling declined in the Eastern United States in the 19th century and by the time the American Civil War broke out, dueling had begun to decline, even in the South. Public opinion, not legislation, caused the change.
In Western society, the formal concept of a duel developed out of the medieval judicial duel and older pre-Christian practices such as the Viking Age holmgang. In Medieval society, judicial duels were fought by knights and squires to end various disputes. Countries like Germany, United Kingdom, and Ireland practiced this tradition. Judicial combat took two forms in medieval society, the feat of arms and chivalric combat. The feat of arms was used to settle hostilities between two large parties and supervised by a judge. The battle was fought as a result of a slight or challenge to one party's honor which could not be resolved by a court. Weapons were standardized and typical of a knight's armoury, for example longswords, polearms etc., however, weapon quality and augmentations were at the discretion of the knight, for example, a spiked hand guard for or an extra grip for half-swording. The parties involved would wear their own armour, one knight may choose to wear full plate armour, whilst another wears chain mail. The duel lasted until the other party was too weak to fight back. In early cases, the defeated party was then executed. These type of duels soon evolved into the more chivalric pas d'armes, or "passage of arms", a type of chivalric hastilude that evolved in the late 14th century and remained popular through the 15th century. A knight or group of knights (tenans or "holders") would stake out a travelled spot, such as a bridge or city gate, and let it be known that any other knight who wished to pass (venans or "comers") must first fight, or be disgraced.. If a traveling venans did not have weapons or horse to meet the challenge, one might be provided, and if the venans chose not to fight, he would leave his spurs behind as a sign of humiliation. If a lady passed unescorted, she would leave behind a glove or scarf, to be rescued and returned to her by a future knight who passed that way.

The Roman Catholic Church was critical of dueling throughout medieval history, frowning both on the traditions of judicial combat and on the duel on points of honor among the nobility. Judicial duels were deprecated by the Lateran Council of 1215, but the judicial duel persisted in the Holy Roman Empire into the 15th century. The word duel comes from the Latin 'duellum', cognate with 'bellum', meaning 'war'.

During the early Renaissance, dueling established the status of a respectable gentleman, and was an accepted manner to resolve disputes.
Dueling remained highly popular in European society, despite various attempts at banning the practice.
According to Ariel Roth, during the reign of Henry IV, over 4,000 French aristocrats were killed in duels "in an eighteen-year period" while a twenty-year period of Louis XIII's reign saw some eight thousand pardons for "murders associated with duels". Roth also notes that thousands of men in the Southern United States "died protecting what they believed to be their honor."

The first published code duello, or "code of dueling", appeared in Renaissance Italy. The first formalized national code was France's, during the Renaissance. In 1777, a code of practice was drawn up for the regulation of duels, at the Summer assizes in the town of Clonmel, County Tipperary, Ireland. A copy of the code, known as 'The twenty-six commandments', was to be kept in a gentleman's pistol case for reference should a dispute arise regarding procedure. During the Early Modern period, there were also various attempts by secular legislators to curb the practice. Queen Elizabeth I officially condemned and outlawed dueling in 1571, shortly after the practice had been introduced to England.

However, the tradition had become deeply rooted in European culture as a prerogative of the aristocracy, and these attempts largely failed. For example, King Louis XIII of France outlawed dueling in 1626, a law which remained in force for ever afterwards, and his successor Louis XIV intensified efforts to wipe out the duel. Despite these efforts, dueling continued unabated, and it is estimated that between 1685 and 1716, French officers fought 10,000 duels, leading to over 400 deaths.

By the late 18th century, Enlightenment era values began to influence society with new self-conscious ideas about politeness, civil behaviour and new attitudes towards violence. The cultivated art of politeness demanded that there should be no outward displays of anger or violence, and the concept of honour became more personalized.

By the 1770s the practice of dueling was increasingly coming under attack from many sections of enlightened society, as a violent relic of Europe's medieval past unsuited for modern life. As England began to industrialize and benefit from urban planning and more effective police forces, the culture of street violence in general began to slowly wane. The growing middle class maintained their reputation with recourse to either bringing charges of libel, or to the fast-growing print media of the early nineteenth century, where they could defend their honour and resolve conflicts through correspondence in newspapers.

Influential new intellectual trends at the turn of the nineteenth century bolstered the anti-dueling campaign; the utilitarian philosophy of Jeremy Bentham stressed that praiseworthy actions were exclusively restricted to those that maximize human welfare and happiness, and the Evangelical notion of the "Christian conscience" began to actively promote social activism. Individuals in the Clapham Sect and similar societies, who had successfully campaigned for the abolition of slavery, condemned dueling as ungodly violence and as an egocentric culture of honour.

Dueling became popular in the United States – the former United States Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton was killed in a duel against the sitting Vice President Aaron Burr in 1804. Between 1798 and the Civil War, the US Navy lost two-thirds as many officers to dueling as it did in combat at sea, including naval hero Stephen Decatur. Many of those killed or wounded were midshipmen or junior officers. Despite prominent deaths, dueling persisted because of contemporary ideals of chivalry, particularly in the South, and because of the threat of ridicule if a challenge was rejected.

By about 1770, the duel underwent a number of important changes in England. Firstly, unlike their counterparts in many continental nations, English duelists enthusiastically adopted the pistol, and sword duels dwindled. Special sets of dueling pistols were crafted for the wealthiest of noblemen for this purpose. Also, the office of 'second' developed into 'seconds' or 'friends' being chosen by the aggrieved parties to conduct their honour dispute. These friends would attempt to resolve a dispute upon terms acceptable to both parties and, should this fail, they would arrange and oversee the mechanics of the encounter.

In the United Kingdom, to kill in the course of a duel was formally judged as murder, but generally the courts were very lax in applying the law, as they were sympathetic to the culture of honour..This attitude lingered on – Queen Victoria even expressed a hope that Lord Cardigan, prosecuted for wounding another in a duel, "would get off easily". The Anglican Church was generally hostile to dueling, but non-conformist sects in particular began to actively campaign against it.

By 1840, dueling had declined dramatically; when the 7th Earl of Cardigan was acquitted on a legal technicality for homicide in connection with a duel with one of his former officers, outrage was expressed in the media, with The Times alleging that there was deliberate, high level complicity to leave the loop-hole in the prosecution case and reporting the view that "in England there is one law for the rich and another for the poor" and The Examiner describing the verdict as "a defeat of justice".

The last fatal duel between Englishmen in England occurred in 1845, when James Alexander Seton had an altercation with Henry Hawkey over the affections of his wife, leading to a duel at Southsea. However, the last fatal duel to occur in England was between two French political refugees, Frederic Cournet and Emmanuel Barthélemy near Englefield Green in 1852; the former was killed. In both cases, the winners of the duels, Hawkey and Barthélemy, were tried for murder. But Hawkey was acquitted and Barthélemy was convicted only of manslaughter; he served seven months in prison. However, in 1855, Barthélemy was hanged after shooting and killing his employer and another man.

Dueling also began to be criticized in America in the late 18th century; Benjamin Franklin denounced the practice as uselessly violent, and George Washington encouraged his officers to refuse challenges during the American Revolutionary War because he believed that the death by dueling of officers would have threatened the success of the war effort. However, the practice actually gained in popularity in the first half of the nineteenth century especially in the South and on the lawless Western Frontier. Dueling began an irreversible decline in the aftermath of the Civil War. Even in the South, public opinion increasingly came to regard the practice as little more than bloodshed.

The most notorious American duel was the Burr–Hamilton duel, in which notable Federalist and former Secretary of the Treasury Alexander Hamilton was fatally wounded by his political rival, the sitting Vice President of the United States Aaron Burr. This duel was reenacted in the musical Hamilton to the song "The World Was Wide Enough".

Another American politician, Andrew Jackson, later to serve as a General Officer in the U.S. Army and to become the seventh president, fought two duels, though some legends claim he fought many more. On May 30, 1806, he killed prominent duellist Charles Dickinson, suffering himself from a chest wound which caused him a lifetime of pain. Jackson also reportedly engaged in a bloodless duel with a lawyer and in 1803 came very near dueling with John Sevier. Jackson also engaged in a frontier brawl (not a duel) with Thomas Hart Benton in 1813.

On September 22, 1842, future President Abraham Lincoln, at the time an Illinois state legislator, met to duel with state auditor James Shields, but their seconds intervened and persuaded them against it.

On 30 May 1832, French mathematician Évariste Galois was mortally wounded in a duel at the age of twenty, the day after he had written his seminal mathematical results.

Irish political leader Daniel O'Connell killed John D'Esterre in a duel in February 1815. O'Connel offered D'Esterre's widow a pension equal to the amount her husband had been earning at the time, but the Corporation of Dublin, of which D'Esterre was a member, rejected O'Connell's offer and voted the promised sum to D'Esterre's wife themselves. However, D'Esterre's wife consented to accept an allowance for her daughter, which O'Connell regularly paid for more than thirty years until his death. The memory of the duel haunted him for the remainder of his life.

In 1808, two Frenchmen are said to have fought in balloons over Paris, each attempting to shoot and puncture the other's balloon. One duellist is said to have been shot down and killed with his second.

In 1843, two other Frenchmen are said to have fought a duel by means of throwing billiard balls at each other.

The Russian poet Alexander Pushkin prophetically described a number of duels in his works, notably Onegin's duel with Lensky in Eugene Onegin. The poet was mortally wounded in a controversial duel with Georges d'Anthès, a French officer rumoured to be his wife's lover. D'Anthès, who was accused of cheating in this duel, married Pushkin's sister-in-law and went on to become a French minister and senator.

In 1864, American writer Mark Twain, then a contributor to the New York Sunday Mercury, narrowly avoided fighting a duel with a rival newspaper editor, apparently through the intervention of his second, who exaggerated Twain's prowess with a pistol.

In the 1860s, Otto von Bismarck was reported to have challenged Rudolf Virchow to a duel. Virchow, being entitled to choose the weapons, chose two pork sausages, one infected with the roundworm Trichinella; the two would each choose and eat a sausage. Bismarck reportedly declined. The story could be apocryphal, however.

Duels had mostly ceased to be fought to the death by the late 19th century. The last known fatal duel in Ontario was in Perth, in 1833, when Robert Lyon challenged John Wilson to a pistol duel after a quarrel over remarks made about a local school teacher, whom Wilson married after Lyon was killed in the duel. Victoria, BC was known to have been the centre of at least two duels near the time of the gold rush. One involved a British arrival by the name of George Sloane, and an American, John Liverpool, both arriving via San Francisco in 1858. Duel by pistols, Sloane was fatally injured and Liverpool shortly returned to the US. The fight originally started on board the ship over a young woman, Miss Bradford, and then carried on later in Victoria's tent city.[36] Another duel, involving a Mr. Muir, took place around 1861, but was moved to an American island near Victoria.

The last fatal duel in England took place on Priest Hill, between Englefield Green and Old Windsor, on 19 October 1852, between two French political exiles, Frederic Cournet and Emmanuel Barthélemy, the former being killed.

By the outbreak of World War I, dueling had not only been made illegal almost everywhere in the Western world, but was also widely seen as an anachronism. Military establishments in most countries frowned on dueling because officers were the main contestants. Officers were often trained at military academies at government's expense; when officers killed or disabled one another it imposed an unnecessary financial and leadership strain on a military organization, making dueling unpopular with high-ranking officers.

With the end of the duel, the dress sword also lost its position as an indispensable part of a gentleman's wardrobe, a development described as an "archaeological terminus" by Ewart Oakeshott, concluding the long period during which the sword had been a visible attribute of the free man, beginning as early as three millennia ago with the Bronze Age sword.






The Duellists - Ultra Realistic Movie Sword Fight

Saturday, 5 August 2017

Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know: The Extraordinary Exploits of the British and European Aristocracy by Karl Shaw / London in the Eighteenth Century: A Great and Monstrous Thing by Jerry White


Mad, Bad and Dangerous to Know: The Extraordinary Exploits of the British and European Aristocracy
by Karl Shaw

The alarming history of the British, and European, aristocracy - from Argyll to Wellington and from Byron to Tolstoy, stories of madness, murder, misery, greed and profligacy.
From Regency playhouses, to which young noblemen would go simply in order to insult someone to provoke a duel that might further their reputation, to the fashionable gambling clubs or 'hells' which were springing up around St James's in the mid-eighteenth century, the often bizarre doings of aristocrats.
An eighteenth-century English gentleman was required to have what was known as 'bottom', a shipping metaphor that referred to stability. Taking part in a duel was a bold statement that you had bottom. William Petty, 2nd Earl of Shelburne certainly had bottom, if not a complete set of gonads following his duel with Colonel Fullarton, MP for Plympton. Both men missed with their first shots, but the colonel fired again and shot off Shelborne's right testicle. Despite being hit, Shelborne deliberately discharged his second shot in the air. When asked how he was, the injured Earl coolly observed his wound and said, 'I don't think Lady Shelborne will be the worse for it.'
The cast of characters includes imperious, hard-drinking and highly volatile Danish astronomer Tycho Brahe, who is remembered today as much for his brilliant scientific career as his talent for getting involved in bizarre mishaps, such as his death as a result of his burst bladder; the Marquess of Queensberry, a side-whiskered psychopath, who, on a luxury steamboat in Brazil, in a row with a fellow passenger over the difference between emus and ostriches, and knocked him out cold; and Thomas, 2nd Baron Lyttelton, a Georgian rake straight out of central casting, who ran up enormous gambling debts, fought duels, frequented brothels and succumbed to drug and alcohol addiction.
Often, such rakes would be swiftly packed off on a Grand Tour in the hope that travel would bring about maturity. It seldom did.



London in the eighteenth century was very much a new city, risen from the ashes of the Great Fire. With thousands of homes and many landmark buildings destroyed, it had been brought to the brink. But the following century was a period of vigorous expansion, of scientific and artistic genius, of blossoming reason, civility, elegance and manners. It was also an age of extremes: of starving poverty and exquisite fashion, of joy and despair, of sentiment and cruelty. Society was fractured by geography, politics, religion and history. And everything was complicated by class. As Daniel Defoe put it, London really was a 'great and monstrous Thing'.

Jerry White's tremendous portrait of this turbulent century explores how and to what extent Londoners negotiated and repaired these open wounds. We see them going about their business as bankers or beggars, revelling in an enlarging world of public pleasures, indulging in crimes both great and small - amidst the tightening sinews of power and regulation, and the hesitant beginnings of London democracy.
In the long-awaited finale to his acclaimed history of London over 300 years, Jerry White introduces us to shopkeepers and prostitutes, men and women of fashion and genius, street-robbers and thief-takers, as they play out the astonishing drama of life in eighteenth-century London.




London in the Eighteenth Century: A Great and Monstrous Thing by Jerry White – review
Jerry White's study of Georgian London depicts a city teeming with sex and violence

Robert McCrum
Sunday 25 March 2012 00.05 GMT First published on Sunday 25 March 2012 00.05 GMT

Britain and London are virtually synonymous in the eyes of the world. The eve of the Olympics is a good time to go back to the century that saw the making of Britannia and the London we walk and live in today. Jerry White's history of 18th-century London is the culmination of two previous volumes about London in the 19th and 20th centuries. This new book finds him inspired by the city that Daniel Defoe identified as "this great and monstrous Thing called London".

In 1700, it was divided, in separations that linger, into three: the City (London), the court (Westminster and St James's) and south of the river (Southwark). The essayist Joseph Addison, in 1712, looked on it as "an aggregate of various nations distinguished from each other by their respective customs, manners an interests". In 1700, its population numbered about half a million, swelling to approximately 750,000 by 1750 and roughly a million by 1800. By contrast, England's second city, Bristol, had scarcely 30,000 inhabitants.

London was not just staggeringly larger than anywhere else, it was also a vivid new metropolis, much of it in soft pink brick. The Great Fire of 1666 had left more than half of the old city in smouldering ruins. After the union with Scotland, the capital became the outward sign of British prosperity and self-confidence. And the people most attracted to it, for its teeming opportunities, were the Scots.

Georgian London became a Scottish city. Its main architect, James Gibbs, was Scottish. So was the circle that formed around the young George III. That great Londoner, Samuel Johnson, loved to goad the Scots, but his amanuensis, James Boswell, was one himself, and so were five of the six assistants on his famous Dictionary. Scots in the capital often attracted hostility. When officers in highland dress appeared at Covent Garden, the upper gallery yelled: "No Scots! No Scots!" and pelted them with apples.

In other ways, Britannia's London was more extreme but not so different from our own: prey to rioting, seething with sex and violence. Visitors to London, appalled by the atmosphere, also noted what one described as "the vast number of harlots" roaming the streets by night. London was the sex capital of Europe, but hardly uplifting. "She was ugly and lean," wrote James Boswell of one encounter in the park, "and her breath smelt of spirits. I never asked her name. When it was done, she slunk off."

White's account is not exactly new. Much of this book reads like an animated Hogarth cartoon. But he has uncovered a wealth of evidence to sustain a portrait of a society revelling in money and pleasure in ways that recall the excesses of the 1980s.

Contemporaries saw the city as a marketplace for every kind of trade. In the mixing of vice and fashion, there were remarkable social consequences at work, too. White argues persuasively that historians have paid insufficient attention to the role of prostitution in the rise of democracy. It's a pleasing picture that while the women of the town flirtatiously dissolved the bonds of deference, London became a democratic crucible.

But there was a dark side. "Crime and criminals," says White, "knew no bounds of rank in 18th-century London." Suicide was common, executions a public spectacle. Violent property crime rose. In 1780, with the outbreak of the Gordon riots, London seemed on the brink of civil war.

In early June, the mob attacked 10 Downing Street and then moved on to batter the city's prisons, destroying Newgate. It has been calculated that these riots destroyed 10 times more property than was destroyed in Paris during the entire French revolution.

The repression of the 1790s was the response of an establishment reasserting state control. The French revolution and the wars that followed loosened the city's devotion to popular democracy and brought merchants and courtiers from the east and west ends into a loyal alliance behind the throne. London had become the world capital it remains today.