Monday, March 30, 2020

A Dose of Hutchinson Humor…


With everything that is going on in the world today, this Hutchinson rug captures the current sentiment…

Hooked rug attributed to James & Mercedes Hutchinson.

If you’re wondering…What inspired this rug’s inscription? 
Take, Oh! Take Those Lips Away!

Here is a poem written by an anonymous poet…

Take, oh take those lips away,
That so sweetly were forsworn,
And those eyes: the break of day
Lights that do mislead the Morn;
But my kisses bring again, bring again,
Seals of love, but sealed in vain, sealed in vain.

It is said that this poem is often misattributed to William Shakespeare, who used it in his 1600s play titled --- Measure for Measure.

William Shakespeare (1564-1616)

Shakespeare’s play was set in Vienna and the verse/poem was sung by a boy to Mariana in Act IV, Scene I. Mariana, the woman whom Angelo promised to marry before abandoning her, is reneging on his promise. The play’s overall tone was bittersweet and melancholy.

John Fletcher (1579-1626)

 John Fletcher, a distinguished Jacobean playwright and poet, who even looked like Shakespeare, added a second stanza to the poem and used it in his own play in 1621, titled The Bloody Brother (also known as Duke of Normandy), in Act V, Scene II. It was later published as a stand-alone poem.

Take, oh take those lips away,
That so sweetly were forsworn,
And those eyes: the break of day
Lights that do mislead the Morn;
But my kisses bring again, bring again,
Seals of love, but sealed in vain, sealed in vain.

Hide, O, hide those hills of snow
Which thy frozen bosom bears,
On whose tops the pinks that grow
Are yet of those that April wears!
But first set my poor heart free,
Bound in those icy chains by thee.

But how did the 1st line of this verse inspire the Hutchinsons to inscribe it in their hooked rug?

Perhaps they were admirers of Shakespeare or Fletcher’s work. Another theory may be credited to song composer --- Roger Quilter. Quilter began publishing his song compositions in 1900. His compositions had a natural flow, nearly always enhancing the rhythm of the words, rather than forcing the words into a preconceived melody. One factor, which raises Quilter’s songs above the level of most contemporaries, is his choice of using poetry as the words in his melodies. One of his favorite poets was Shakespeare. In 1921, Quilter published the song, Take, o take those lips away, op. 23 no. 4, stanza 1 [voice and piano; voice and piano quartet; or voice, harp, and strings], from Five Shakespeare Songs (Second Set), no. 4, in London, England.


 

 Since then and even today, the song has been sung by many singers around the world, and here in America.

Quilter composed more than 100 songs from 1900 through the 1940s. This particular song was popular in the 1920s. The Hutchinsons were producing and selling hooked rugs (with inscriptions) from the late 1920s to the 1950s.

Perhaps the rug’s inscription was inspired by any one or a combination of: the original/anonymous poem, Shakespeare's play, Fletcher’s play & poem – which the Hutchinsons may have read or seen performed in New York City, or they may have heard Quilter’s song – performed live, on the radio or phonograph. We will never know for sure, but you can enjoy the song, beautifully sung here by Mark Stone, click on photo caption.

Roger Quilter (1877-1953)

What we do know, is that favorite Hutchinson themes include Courtship, Love, & Romance, often represented by troubles or challenges --- which are distinctively visible in both the hooked rug’s inscription and its pictorial scene, as the maiden holds up her hand in protest.


So now, while we are refraining from KISSING & HUGGING, don’t forget to do what the Hutchinsons did...
Add a DOSE of HUMOR to DAILY LIFE!

For more info on the Hutchinsons & their hooked rug collection: 

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