Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Modes of Conveyance

From the ever-malleable and expansive not-a-postcard category: two attractive (and thematically related) hand-colored 18th-c. prints from Denmark.

I must confess: not quite sure what exactly is going on in either picture.  Regarding the one with the men in black bloomers: I thought at first some important individual (i.e., the man whose head seems to rise from what looks vaguely like an orange gilded seat back) was being transported in an open carriage.  But soon realized what was being shown was actually a rather stately funeral cort├Ęge.  The all-black livery--worn even by the horses--suggests as much and the 'seat back' now reveals itself as one end of an oddly garish coffin.  (The man whose head is framed is simply someone walking on the other side of the funeral coach.)  But whose funeral?  Everyone in the procession seems a bit sly and knowing.

As for the lady about to launch herself forward with ski poles and ice-sled: well.....uhhhh.....  All I can surmise is that she's on her way to compete in the women's bobsled event at the 1744 Oslo Winter Olympics.  The Errant Coquette Individual Slalom.  Strangely, like the friend who romantically bids her adieu, she seems to be wearing very unseasonable clothing for frigid weather travel--flimsy pink chinz or gingham or something.  Several more centuries to wait, I guess, before polar fleece or Gore-tex (and aerodynamic sleds) are invented.