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Blog 90 - On The Ice

I can hardly believe it is exactly two years since I started my scarf blogs beginning with The Red and White Guggenheim on my Wedding Anniversary, 26th March; the following year saw me flying the magic carpet to meet Dennis the Menace in Kew Gardens; now we have my third celebration of writing on this date, so where will we go?

I hesitated over my recent purchase of the scarf I have chosen today. It was old, damaged, stained, had been carelessly washed, yet I was drawn to it. Yes, it is silk and the hems hand rolled and stitched well. It deserved to be loved again and researched. I carefully washed it and gave it a final rinse with lukewarm water and white vinegar to restore its good looks. Now to trace its history. There is a signature J Ravel, no label. Could this be Jacques Ravel who designed a travel poster of Auverne, France in 1960? It looks like French silk. Maybe a reader will have some clue.

I was fascinated by the scene and felt there was a story there. I have spent some time this week wondering….. so join me on my exploration. We see a skating picture, nothing too unusual about that. Many scarves have been designed on this theme including Traineaux et Glissades by Hermes. No, this is not a Hermes! I tried to pinpoint the period by studying the skaters’ clothing and hats. It must be mediaeval with these pointed hats, ruffs…..was skating popular in these times.? Now I find the painting of Hendrick Avercamp ‘Winter Landscape with Ice Skaters’ from 1608. Yes, it seems skating was around then, so I have the period correct. Now I wonder when all this sliding around started. There is evidence in Finland that 3000 years ago, mankind was using animal bones as primitive skates to travel over ice, and in the Netherlands in the 14th century skates were made of wood with metal fixed to the bottom.

I study my scarf closely. It is quite a social scene, a horse-drawn sledge, ladies and gentlemen promenading in their finery and everyone keeping their balance on these curious curled up creations on their feet! Two of the gentlemen have staffs….now are they playing some game of ice hockey, golf on ice, sweeping away debris or just aiding their balance? I know not.

Am I justified in describing this scarf as an ice skating scene from the Netherlands? I now look at the architecture and wonder about the style of roof. It looks vaguely familiar. I have visited Holland but have not truly studied rooftops. I decide to photograph my scarf draped on an oil painting which my husband bought at a charity event at the Painter-Stayners Livery Company many years ago. I look closely at the skating scene of my painting. There is an identical rooftop. The painting is carefully taken off the wall and I read the written particulars…..

I had no time this week to journey on the magic carpet, nor is it equipped as a time machine, but I enjoyed playing detective and think I can describe my scarf as ON THE ICE IN MEDIEVAL NETHERLANDS. Thank goodness, we have put the clocks forward, the sun is shining, no sign of ice and it is Mothers Day in Britain.

Busy Bee, Scarf Face!

Series 2, Blog 90.

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Mar 27, 2022

Happy wedding anniversary of yesterday!

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