viernes, 5 de septiembre de 2014

'Bateau-lavoir sur la Seine, près de Paris' by Rollo Paterson (1892 - 1978).

'Bateau-lavoir sur la Seine, près de Paris' by Rollo Paterson (1892 - 1978).

This Washing-boat, on the nearby Seine River at Paris, was painted by the british artist Rollo Paterson (1892 - 1978).  A landscape painted in watercolours that belongs to the artist's French period.

A very wellknown picture is 'Bateau-lavoir sur la Seine, près de Paris' an oil on canvas by Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841 - 1919).

There are many paintings of bâteaux-lavoirs. Pictures such as, 'Lagny, le pont et les bâteaux-lavoirs sur La Marne' by Henri Lebasque, 1905, and 'Le bâteau-lavoir, Asnières', by Paul Signac, 1886. There were bâteaux-lavoirs on rivers throughout France and both washing-boats and huge quantites of drying laundry would have characterised every river. Thinking about the quais of Paris, for example, laundry was a part of the city's life which really has been forgotten, there were dozens of bâteaux-lavoirs and laundry structures crowded along the banks of the Seine. The bâteau-lavoir was popular with laundresses, the grandest had names like 'Parisian Wash-house', the Lavoir Parisien avec bains chauds, with the luxury of hot water sold at depths of 15 or 30 cm. Bâteaux-lavoirs could take advantage a river current, providing deeper, or sometimes faster flowing water which would have been appreciated for a good rinse. Many were heated, and sometimes proprietors offered large covered well-ventilated single or double storey drying decks too. A laundress paid for a place, and worked in her own way.

There is a very descriptive photograph of a simple washing-boat on the Saône in Mâcon. Doing the laundry was incredibly hard work, but this boat has a stove, shelter, and practical workspace. There was no need for the customary wooden box with straw, le carrosse, for kneeling protection as used at simpler lavoirs, or the freezing bare feet of the riverbanks and beaches. It's obviously a noisy, busy, female meeting place, with as much character and life as the bars used by their menfolk, maybe more. Some of the women are posing with their mugs of refreshment, bouillon or fortification, and enjoying the photographer's attention.

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