Wednesday, November 09, 2011

What is a Good Swing?

I've written a scene or two that involved a swing - "Highland Heat" and "An Invitation to the World: China" come to mind - and the Encyclopedia of the Exquisite tells where the inspiration for such a device came from, at least it has to my writing.

"A suspended seat that oscillates backward and forward." is the brief description and pretty much states the basics, but the good stuff is in the details.

"In this diversion there are very many pretty shrieks, not so much for fear of falling off as taht their petticoats should untie," The Specatator noted in 1712.  "The lover who swings his lady is to tie her clothes very close together with his hat band before she admits him to throw up her heels."
Even better were the from Honore Fragonard who made swinging appear to be a bit of naughty foreplay.  Her skirts aren't tied and her lover is looking at her, um, dainty ankles and lovely legs.  Back in the day, The Swing [to the right] by Fragonard was denied entrance into England, but it now hangs in that country's Wallace Collection.

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