The Beautiful Egg Mill
It is very interesting that one of the most significant surviving items dealing with toy history is not a toy or a book. Indeed it is a painting by a very accomplished Flemish artist named Peter Brueghel. It shows a simple street scape filled with kids playing with so many of the different toys and games of that period. It is a huge resource for everyone interested in period toys.
There is one thing that I think we can all think about. Although it does not show up on most internet links to the painting, right in front there is a line up of children. It is indeed a procession. Would it be a Baptism? Or a funeral? The fact that these kids could well be play acting the funeral procession of a class mate is interesting to think about. So often we make the past look so romantic and that is a huge error on our part.
Look for some of the old games in there to see which ones that you can find. Can you find the Egg Mill? Jousting Sticks/Lances? Whip Top? Follow the Leader Game? Stick Horse? Climbing the tree? Fishing and Swimming? Four young boys riding the same imitation horse? You might be surprised what you see!
Click on the two links and have a look at the painting. Remember that you are entering the year 1560!
Have fun exploring the history of toys.
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