We love history, and it seems everything we do leads back to it in some way or another. We would all love to have a time machine, and in one way we do. It seems that in history past, artists and writers and just regular people recorded what they saw and what they did, and these recordings call out to us.

The more we study the easier it becomes to understand. Once an object is found being used in a half-dozen paintings by different artists, it becomes second nature to divine the purpose and design of that object. At times we are perplexed about an image and only later after further study of some other picture or text or comment do we really begin to understand.

We thought that a daily image or text might be a great and quick way of starting that chain of events that helps someone understand the object in history just a little bit better. Our goal is to post one historical picture or text per day in hopes that we might generate some conversation by which we might all gain a better perspective on the time period.

30 thoughts on “About”

  1. Jon,

    Thanks for this wonderful way to look back into the past. Try these images for future postings:

    The Officers’ Mess or the Remains of a Lunch, 1763 by Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin
    The Boy with a Spinning Top by Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin
    Still-Life by Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin
    Still-Life With Copper Pot by Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin
    The Return from Market by Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin
    Pipes and Jug by Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin
    The Diligent Mother, 1740 by Jean-Baptiste Simeon Chardin

    1. Fort BumperThere is more to this painting The man on the far right is the nrtoay, drawing up the marriage contract. The missing piece of the picture shows the future bride and the rest of the family, mother and other siblings. The mother, who is crying, is holding the future bride’s hand. A younger sister, who is also in tears, has her arm around the bride’s neck. The future bride is shy and looking down while she holds her fiance’s arm, too shy to even touch his hand.A little girl is feeding a mother hen and her chicks bread crumbs. One chick is drinking in the painting above.

  2. Is there any way you could let others join in this? I know that you say you want one post a day, but you have come up with an amazing idea for a great historical resource. If you let others post, you could create a user driven resource for all of history which could be easily cross referenced with the tags.

  3. I found your blog through Stephane of My French Haeven. I’m so glad! I’ve a kind of obsession over history! 🙂 Following you as of now. I look forward to your next posts.
    Have a wonderful day!

  4. What a great concept for a blog; art & history an excellent combination and I have subscribed.

    I would like your permission to use a couple of your art pictures to illustrate an article on my site (A Party of Gentlemen fishing from a Punt – Benjamin West 1794 and A Party Angling – George Morland 1789). They illustrate fishing in the Georgian era perfectly. I always reference all sources for articles and images on my site.

    Are you agreeable?

    1. Thanks Graham, and yes all the images I use are public domain at least in the US and you may use them as you wish. If the images are from the Yale Center for British Art then they ask for reference to them.

  5. Can you tell me what your original source for the painting “Fishing smack under sail” is- because i cannot find any other information on it on google.
    Also, the painting called “Fishing smack under sail” says it is by Brooking, but when you hover over the picture it says it’s by Sandby

  6. I would like to suggest a painting for Sifting the Past from the collection of Van Cortlandt House Museum. Please contact me at info @ vchm.org Thank!

  7. II deeply enjoy your blog and pictures. I hope all is well, since it has been a while since a new one has been posted. As an historical researcher, I love the clarity of your picture posts!

    By the way, I’m doing a lot right now with farms during the American Revolution, so anything in that time and vein would be most welcome!

  8. Hello,

    I’m interested to ask about the Hörmannsperger watercolor showing skittles (bowling) and music. I am a music professor collecting images of this sort for a website I’m developing in connection with a forthcoming book on musical sociability. May I ask if you know where this watercolor is located? Or what was your source for the scan? (I would be eager to include this image in my project but my publisher requires me to seek permission from the image’s owner.) Thanks very much for your consideration!

  9. I love your images! SO SO helpful for the set decorating I do. We are about to start product on Fiddler On The Roof. Do you have any leads for me for Russian / Jewish Peasants and homes circa 1905?Ch

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