Tag Archives: 1800s

{DISCOVERED} Bathing in Brighton: Vintage Memories and Musings

Who are the  dapper gents in top hats and scandalous bathing shorts?

None other than some of the original members of The Brighton Swimming Club. This photo was taken circa 1863 by photographer Benjamin Botham.

Seems like the boys of Brighton have been stirring up a lot of conversation on the net, which seems quite remarkable for a one hundred and forty nine year old memory!

It’s remarkable that photographs like this have survived,  helping keep the past alive, and showing all of us here in the {PRESENT} the weird and wonderful moments of the past they don’t teach you in history class.

The Brighton Swim Club was established on May 4th, 1860, following a meeting of swimming enthusiasts at The Jolly Fisherman in Brighton’s Market Street. The members, all serious for the sport, were completely revolutionary to the strict mandates of Victorian dress codes often ditching their scanty shorts to swim the seas nude.

As noted in our story on Men’s Vintage Swimwear Styles, swimsuits were made of heavy cottons or wools and covered most of the body, making it highly uncomfortable and straining.

Due to public outrage over the sight of the naked male swimmers, authorities in Brighton would introduce regulations that insisted that men who wanted to swim on the main beach between the hours of 8 AM and 9PM, would have to wear a bathing costume to “preserve public decency”.

{The club’s  “two-dolphins” crest is embroidered on these suits – a symbol of the seaside town. This photo was taken outside their clubhouse at No. 231 King’s Road Arches on March 1881}

That’s where the calecons, a French creation, came into play allowing for the coverage authorities desired, and the lack of coverage desired by the club members. They were truly rebels of the waters, treading the fine lines of societal morality and the function they knew they (and WE) needed!

The Brighton Swimming Club is still alive and well today! The Swimming Club has gone through great efforts to keep their history in tact so all can see. Floating Memories is an archive dedicated to preserving and curating their collected history, and features a remarkable database of vintage clothing and lifestyle. Their Vimeo channel yields some true wonders!


If you enjoy the beach (I know you do), and vintage styles (I know you do too) be sure to check this out!

Thanks to Callum James for bringing this remarkable tradition to our attention. His blog Front Free Endpaper features many cool vintage treasures to adore. Also David Simkin, whose Sussex Photo History blog featured a brilliant page on The Brighton Swimming Club, including a detailed breakdown of that fantastic picture of the gentleman wearing top hats that’s been buzzing around the place!

Once again, history prevails and shows it’s not going away anytime soon. So have fun! Do what you want!

Hope you’re all having a great summer!

Sincerely,

{theEye}

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Slavery in the WhiteHouse!? Ci.

We have always been on the Michelle Obama bandwagon,  and we’re not even American! We don’t care where she’s taking us, but as the American Presidential Elections draw near, it’s the latest controversy which has us nostalgic for the days of interest over her trim arms, and healthy food initiatives.

Appearing on the cover of the August 2012 issue of Spanish magazine, Fuera de Serie, is a nude portrait of American First Lady Michelle Obama.

Well to be clear, appearing on the cover of the August 2012 issue of Spanish magazine, Fuera de Serie,  is an image by Artist Karine Percheron-Daniels  with First Lady Michelle Obama’s face super imposed over a pre-exsisting Marie-Guillemine Benoist‘s painting “Portrait d’une négresse.”

Benoist painted the portrait in 1800 as a social commentary on France’s sexism and racism during the 19th century. Historians also view the piece of art as the beginning of the country’s feminist movement.

So perhaps the comparison is more fitting than not?  Albeit a number of sites have called the cover inappropriate because it depicts the First Lady in imagery closely associated with slavery.
It wasn’t too long ago that the Benoist painting was used as a reference for a shoe campaign by red-souled Christian Louboutin in 2011.  So we ask what’s more shocking? Using the image of a ‘slave’ to push politics, or sell shoes?

Also, this wouldn’t be the first piece by the artist to cause such a scandal by Karine Percheron-Daniels.  She has done previous portraits of Princess Diana, Audrey Hepburn, Eva Peron, Albert Einstein, and even Barack Obama and Michael Jackson in the buff.  Somehow this latest nod to the first lady seem’s to of launched the artist into mainstream conversation.

After the controversial piece hit the net, the artist released a statement via their website to address any haters or misunderstanders, Saying;

“If any of you have found this piece of art insulting I would like to say that my GENUINE intention was never to chock or upset anyone.This has COMPLETELY got lost in translation. I created this picture as part of a series of other famous  nudes.  As an artist I only paint and create pictures of people I admire and feel passionate about. Michelle Obama is one of these people. In my eyes , the picture I created here is of a beautiful woman with a beautiful message : The first Lady of America  in the first time in history is a black woman who proudly and confidently displays her WOMANHOOD (the nude) her ROOTS (the slave)  and her POWER(the First Lady of America embraced by the American flag). This picture, is a celebration of EVERYTHING GOOD, it is a celebration af achievement and in my opinion is not a racist slur. I am not a racist: I admire people regardless of their colour and this picture was meant to be a tribute….totally lost in translation. With my art I try to show beauty  NOT DIRT.”




Here at the Eye of Faith, we can appreciate the historic references for all these images, but when it comes to this one of the First Lady… we are left wondering, what would Michelle Obama say?


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Happy Birthday Howard Carter! (9 May 1874 – 2 March 1939)

Howard Carter was born in London, England, the son of Samuel Carter, a skilled artist, who trained him to follow in his footsteps, and Martha Joyce (Sands) Carter.  Born eager and inquisitive, at 17, the young talented artist was sent out by the Egypt Exploration Fund to assist Percy Newberry in the excavation and recording of Middle Kingdom tombs at Beni Hasan.  Even at that young age he was innovative in improving the methods of copying tomb decoration.

On 4 November 1922, Carter’s excavation group found the steps leading to Tutankhamun‘s tomb ,  by far the best preserved and most intact pharaonic tomb ever found in the Valley of the Kings.

Carter made the “tiny breach in the top left hand corner” of the doorway, and was able to peer in by the light of a candle and see that many of the gold and ebony treasures were still in place. He made the breach into the tomb with a chisel his grandmother had given him for his seventeenth birthday. He did not yet know at that point whether it was “a tomb or merely a cache”, but he did see a promising sealed doorway between two sentinel statues. When Carnarvon asked “can you see anything?”, Carter replied with the famous words: “Yes, wonderful things.”

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James Ensor “Skeleton Painting” (1896)


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Life in Motion. Happy Birthday Eadweard Muybridge.

Eadweard J. Muybridge was born Born on the 9th of April 1830 and lived until May 8th 1904.  He was an English photographer who spent much of his professional life in the United Stated.  Born Edward James Muggeridge, he was of Dutch descent. Muggeridge changed his name several times early in his US career. In the 1870s, he changed his first name again to Eadweard, to match the spelling of King Edward shown on the plinth of the Kingston coronation stone.   He is known for his pioneering work on animal locomotion which used multiple cameras to capture motion, and his zoopraxiscope, a device for projecting motion pictures that pre-dated the flexible perforated film strip.

In 1872, former Governor of California Leland Stanford, a businessman and race-horse owner, had taken a position on a popularly-debated question of the day: whether all four of a horse’s hooves are off the ground at the same time during the trot. Up until this time, most paintings of horses at full gallop showed the front legs extended forward and the hind legs extended to the rear.  His Horse in Motion shows that the hooves do all leave the ground simultaneously — although not with the legs fully extended forward and back, as contemporary illustrators tended to imagine, but rather at the moment when the horse’s legs and hooves are tucked beneath as it switches from “pulling” with the front legs to “pushing” with the back legs.

In his studies, Muybridge used a series of large glass-plate cameras placed in a line, each one being triggered by a thread as the horse passed. Later he used a clockwork device to set off the shutters and capture the images. The images were copied in the form of silhouettes onto a disc and viewed in a machine called a zoopraxiscope. This device and process were an intermediate stage toward motion pictures or cinematography. This series of photos stands as one of the earliest forms of videography.
 In 1874, living in San Francisco Bay Area, Muybridge discovered that his wife had a lover, a Major Harry Larkyns. On October 17th, he sought out Larkyns and said, “Good evening, Major, my name is Muybridge and here’s the answer to the letter you sent my wife.” He shot and killed the Major pointblank.  Ultimately he was acquitted for “justifiable homicide” thanks to Stanford who footed his legal fee’s.

Muybridge would go on to dedicate his life to his work and many studies involving motion.   And his exhibitions are still touring today.  It might just be the smoking gun, but we respect and love a true genius who marches to his own beat, and never hesitates at something, or someone standing in his way.
The Eye.

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E.O.F. Approved: 1800s Adirondack Black Bear and Brown Buffalo Coat


Searching the ‘cyberworld’ for great vintage finds is not always an easy task.   In an over-saturated industry it takes a lot of time to weed out the gems from the stones.   But we’ve stumbled upon a great site with some choice vintage menswear pieces as well as womenswear.   Today, we wish to draw attention to Time Warp – Vintage, and this amazing coat of  black bear fur and brown buffalo cuffs and collar from the Adirondack Mountains.


According to Timewarp; “THE LODGES IN THE ADIRONDACK MOUNTAINS BECAME POPULAR AS A TOURIST ATTRACTION FOR THE CITY DWELLERS IN ABOUT 1860, AND IT WAS VERY WILD AND RURAL TO THEM. TO GET THERE, THE PEOPLE HAD TO TAKE A TRAIN AS FAR AS IT WOULD GO, AND THEN A HORSE DRAWN BUGGY OR CARRIAGE WOULD PICK THEM UP AND TAKE THEM THE REST OF THE WAY. SOME TRIPS WERE 10 MILES OR SO WHICH MIGHT TAKE A GOOD 2 HOURS. THIS COAT BELONGED TO THE LODGE AND WAS GIVEN TO MEN TO WEAR IN THE CARRIAGE ON THE COLD COLD TRIP UP THE MOUNTAIN.”

    

This is the type of hide we’d like to have in our possession for a potential new ice-age!  Perhaps one hundred or two hundred dollars out of our price-range, we can still appreciate the beauty and structure of such a historic hide!

Sincerely,

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An American Ghost Story

Serving it up cold, ladies and gentlemen. Enjoy.



Please enjoy the morbid moods of Karen Elson, no to mention the pictures. Nothing like a good old fashioned ghost story to take you away from the day. Admit it! You like getting scared . . .

Need to talk about it? Let us know!
the Eye.

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