Saturday, November 28, 2020

This dramatic image of a gladiator is another example from the Steckel session.


1 comment:

  1. The sandals are typical of the era, and were regularly worn by weightlifters, strongmen and acrobats, and were inspired by the Victorian Classical Revival.

    My maternal grandmother's elder sister married a shoe manufacturer - there were many factories in those days as there was a tailor shop on nearly every street corner. Our immediate ancestors dressed far better than we now do. Great Uncle Fred won a contract to provide the army with boots in the Great War, when Winston Churchill was Minister of Munitions, a connection that would later play an important role as World War II threatened. Churchill prepared for war by what today we would call "networking". In the July of 1938, Bernard Baruch, an American financier and friend of every American president from Woodrow Wilson until his death in 1965 (aged 94), visited Churchill at his house of Chartwell, deep in the Kent countryside. My grandfather and two great uncles were summoned and were provided with advanced funding to start manufacture of service boots. They were stored in a disused hanger at Wincanton Aerodrome - later the HQ of the Free Royal Norwegian Air Force during the war, and transported by privately chartered train in secret, overnight. There was no shortage of boots at the outbreak of war.

    My running career already underway, my family went to see Uncle Fred in his last days in order to say goodbye. He was living off "barley" which I later understood was neat, single malt whisky. He still knew who I was and said that he had manufactured his "athletic shoes" from "kidskin" - either lambskin or goatskin as they were the softest leathers of all - and the firm had produced a line from his father's day, the 1880s onward.