Wouldn't it be lovely to just withdraw from the world for a little bit? On the whole I would rather like to spend a day, week or year or two in a nice quiet place where there isn't a lot of modern life going on, and I can have a bit of a snooze. What I need is a hammock...
|Girl in a Hammock (1873) Winslow Homer|
There is something peaceful about the swing of a hammock on a warm summer day, the only sound is the faint song of birds and the rustle of the breeze through the trees. Winslow Homer's young lady has the right idea. I could very happily swing in a hammock with a lovely book, in the shade. I'll need a silk shawl, that seems to be an essential too...
|The Hammock Edward Killingworth Johnson|
You would need quite a big garden too so that you weren't immediately found and bothered. The problem with my current favourite snooze-spot, on the chaise longue part of our new sofa, is that I am fairly obvious and therefore am regularly awakened by requests for chocolate, questions about the whereabouts of things and the dog occasionally shoving her nose into my face. This young lady in her frilly dress has obviously used the excuse that she is doing some gardening. She even had her basket with her to make it look legit. Clever girl. Mind you, that hammock looks rather narrow. I can't imagine I'd relax on that, I'd be too scared I'd fall off.
|The Hammock (1844) Gustave Courbet|
|The Hammock (1879) James Tissot|
Yes, when I am in my hammock I would like a massive parasol please, mainly because it looks really classy. Trust Tissot to make it look glamorous, as he brings us a young lady using her hammock as a chair as she reads the morning paper. I notice her dog has come with her, which is about right. I can't imagine my dog letting me out of her sight. Although this is a beautiful painting I can't say that the woman looks comfortable with her legs to the side. I'd rather be entirely in the hammock. Oh, and I don't want the paper either, not at the moment...
|Afternoon Tea on the Terrace Irving Ramsey Wiles|
I suppose you could have a bit of company, especially if they bring the tea out with them. Wiles' ladies are taking it easy by a lake, under the dappled shade of the trees. One has a big cane chair and the other is swinging in the hammock as they take a spot of tiffin. Lovely.
|In the Orchard (1893) Henry Herbert La Thangue|
|In the Beach House Walter Crane|
I have to admit that a hammock inside a gazebo on the beach is rather special. Looking at the floor, I think we are on the veranda of a beach house, which has to be the height of cool. Plus, I now want a fringed hammock. And a nice rug underneath me in case I fall out. Maybe that's what your friend is for, to break your fall...
|The Proposal Charles Soulacrix|
Of course, being proposed to in a hammock is rather special, although this lass looks a bit nonplussed. The chap has turned up and proposed marriage but hasn't brought chocolate or bothered to get down on one knee or anything. He can talk to the fan. I bet he wasn't even proposing marriage, I bet his proposition was 'Budge up a bit, I want a swing.' T'uh.
|The Hammock (c.1895) Joseph DeCamp|
As a mother, it is unlikely you'll be allowed any alone time and so a hammock might be your answer. Load all the kids in and swing. It's a poor woman's Alton Towers. It has the added benefit of getting everyone to have a doze but doesn't leave much in the way of reading space, or anywhere to put your chocolates.
|The Family of Captain Charles Arthur Talbot Unknown Artist|
I'm guessing Captain Talbot is a seafaring man and so the hammock is an affectation of his nautical side. Also, it's a handy place to stow a baby. All babies should be safely stowed on sea journeys. You don't want them rolling around the deck, that would be against health and safety, surely?
|What do Young Women Dream of? (1918) Georges Barbier|
So, aside from the fact that Barbier presents us with a tassel-tastic hammock, he also shows us what young women dream about while swinging there by the side of the lake, under wisteria-strewn trees. They dream of tiny flying people. Now, are they meant to be babies or is it cherubs of love? The woman in the hammock is delighted, but her friend is less so, maybe because she has two little flying babies and there are another three on the way. Lawks! It's obviously safer to be in a hammock...
|The Hammock Henri Pierre Picou|
So, to sum up, a hammock is a wonderful place to get away from it all. As Picou's lass shows, you don't even need to be dressed, although if your hammock is entirely made of string you might want to put some blankets in first as the criss-cross of string imprinted on your Rubenesque curves is probably not the best look. Apparently. Take it easy, my friends, take to your hammocks if you need to retreat from the world because I can think of nothing more delightful that a gentle sway in the garden.
It has to be better for your health than all the stress of current life..