THE INFLUENCE OF SOCIAL LIFE

Throughout the century, social customs and habits were destined to control fashion and the craftsmanship of this country even more than in the century just gone. The revolutionary spirit of the people and their leaders, and the desire to change queens and kings with scant courtesy waned, and Queen Anne soon became accepted as an English queen firmly seated on her throne. Her character and the social customs which surrounded the aristocracy and nobility of Queen Anne's reign were not the least influences upon the styles of furniture and household appointments, and these governed art decorations and ornament in the home. The fighting men and the turbulent spirits who had played such a prominent part in the Civil War, and who had kept up the traditions of rough doings in certain families had quieted down. The pleasures of the chase had taken the place of wars abroad and local quarrels at home, at the close of Queen Anne's reign. The hunt was a new outlet for those who were accustomed to open air recreation and amusements, and gave a vigorous delight for the moneyed classes and those who had leisure. Furniture of the accepted pattern which we now call " Queen Anne " style was being made, and everything else was being fashioned like it. The day had not yet come for a studious life, or one devoted to scientific research, and much less for the wealthy classes and noble families to turn their attention to trade or other profitable occupations. The open house on the hunt days, and the lavish hospitality of a former period was continued, and the table appointments and the silver plate was in keeping with the needs of the master of the house at such times. The chase was followed by hunt dinners, the days of hard drinking had not gone, for the squire and the parson could imbibe much strong liquor, and plentifully plied their guests with spirit and punch. Men made merry and cracked jokes over walnuts and wine, and drank heavily. For all these social extravagances there was still needed large cups and flagons, and although as time went on there were changes in the shapes and forms of the goblets and other table vessels, and in their ornament and decoration, there was no lack of work for a silversmith throughout the eighteenth century-massive plate was still desired. The women of the household had their domestic duties according to their family traditions and the positions they held, but they seem to have had plenty of time for their needlework and the stiff and formal ornamentation of the embroidery and pictures they worked in silks was in keeping with the ornamentation of silver and the fancy work of the times. They had also time for the practice of superstitious vagaries, and the practice of such love spells as spilling the salt and the potions mixed by old crones and so-called witches.