Tuesday, November 10, 2020

Fine art Tuesday


Daily Chores circa 1850
Cornelius Krieghoff born 1815 in Amsterdam. Moved to Germany as a boy. Moved to New York in 1836. Moved to Montreal in 1846. Moved to Quebec City in 1853. Lived in Europe from 1863 until 1868 when he moved to Chicago. Died in 1872 at age 56.

Cornelius Krieghoff is claimed by Canada is her own. He painted rustic scenes on what was the raw-edge of of the wilderness.

What attracts me to this painting (and a slew of others that are similar) are the details of everyday life in the Quebec frontier.

Krieghoff included enough detail to make out that the roof was covered with slabs of bark. The bark was probably peeled off in mid-spring when the bark separates easily from the trunk. The green moss may have been added to address a leak.

Most of the paintings Krieghoff painted showed wood stored like this. It may have been drying for future construction or it may be intended for firewood. In a snowy climate, in the absence of a dedicated woodshed, storing wood vertically like this makes a lot of sense.

This fellow is stoutly put together. He appears to be wearing gaiters. Looking at the wood he is tumbling off the sled, he appears to have acquired a saw. The stumps in the background look like he used an ax.

The ends of the logs used in the cabin are flatter than one would expect when cut with an ax but not as flat as a saw. That suggests the wood was soft (perhaps spruce) and the man's ax was thin-bladed and very sharp.

Ox are the draft animals of poor people. Horses are fragile, expensive and require better feed than an ox.

The shutters are functional and were cut from big logs.

Why would a man bring a load of firewood when he has three full-cords in log form leaning against the house? Perhaps his wife is baking bread and doesn't want the loaves to taste like turpentine.


  1. Another great detail is the Oxen using an ox collar instead of a yoke.

  2. Old pictures taken here in da UP often show firewood logs stored on end. There is a cut to length firewood stacking procedure used by some around here that stacks in a Tepee [for lack of a better description] configuration. They claim that it sheds water and keeps the inside of the stack dry. Good observation on that Oxen Collar, Highlander.--ken

  3. Why is the stove so near to the door?
    Unless the flue pipe runs horizontally under the ceiling to increase heat radiation.

    1. I would only be guessing but it may be that the pipe was not long enough to locate more centrally and the area between the stove and the door would be drafty (and cold). Moving the stove closer to the door minimizes the drafty area.


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