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Benjamin West, 1738-1820, American, active in Britain (from 1763), Page Boy Asleep, undated, Brown wash with pen and brown ink on medium, slightly textured, cream laid paper, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection.B1975.4.786

Just because the Young Mr had a snow day and slept in didn’t mean the rest of us did.  So what did we do?

We went to work, just as they would have in the 18th century. We joke that the streets in our town are better after ice and snow, because the potholes are filled in and the ride is smoother.  You can see the principle at work here, in a watercolor by Benjamin Henry Latrobe.  Sleighs and sleds will run more smoothly on snow-packed roads, and sometimes I think a sled would be better than a Subaru in the city of Providence.

Still, I’m grateful for furry boots and buckets of salt, central heat and an electric tea kettle. Every winter, one or more of us falls on the ice, and when I went out to salt the paths this morning, I could see where Mr S had slipped on snow-covered ice.

In the Morland below, the scene revolves around the central figures, a man who has fallen on the ice despite his stick, the woman, black bonnet thrown back, who has witnessed his fall. We haven’t reached this point yet, and snow has become sleet that will freeze later, with more snow to come, so our vista is not nearly as attractive. But it’s clear that we, as humans, have never enjoyed snow and ice very much, and I think the donkeys are unimpressed as well.

George Morland, 1763-1804, British, Winter Landscape with Figures, ca. 1785, Oil on canvas, Yale Center for British Art, Paul Mellon Collection, B1993.30.23