Purveyor of Bollocks to the Crowned Heads of Europe
Friday, 20 May 2016
Oh joy! Candlesticks!
I am going to enter this picture for 'Crappest Photo on Blogger, 2016'. I am having such trouble with bloody Apple locking me out of my own photo albums right now, that I cannot even be bothered to re-take any pictures, let alone find a way of accessing iPhoto from my old O.S.
Some time last year, I walked into an antique shop here and bought two of the four tall candlesticks that you can just about see in this photo, and I was - in my own terms - overjoyed, because they date from around 1700 and were made specifically for early coffee-houses and taverns, only in England. They should be rare, even though hundreds were made between 1680 and 1720, and most were melted down as fashions changed.
I walked into the same shop yesterday and found an identical pair being sold by the same dealer. He obviously did a coffee-house clearance around 1720 and is slowly letting them out in pairs, a year apart. My ambition is to buy all of them - even if he has 50 - and open up a coffee-house in London which is not connected to the National Grid.
Coffee Houses and taverns were hot-beds of sedition in the 17th and 18th century, and many failed plots or unpublished philosophical treatise were hatched in them. Newspapers were written in them, and they were free-for-all clubs which provided an alternative to the exclusive ones which still exist today.
Coffee was an exciting and novel stimulant. It still is for me around 7.00 am, every day. Tobacco was smoked from clay pipes lit with the same candles. It still is by me, every day. In the evening and late afternoon, wine and ale would be substituted for coffee. It still is by me, every day.
I genuinely pity those poor people who cannot, as I do, find a deep and simple pleasure in coffee, ale, wine, tobacco, nostalgia and shiny, brass candlesticks.