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caswebb
08-23-2018, 07:28 AM
Hi guys

I've been inspired by the story of the 'Batavia', a Dutch East Indies ship that sailed in the 1600's. I write fantasy and much of the ship and the main crew is easy to research from my computer here in Australia, and weave in threads of fantasy with. But I want to start my characters off in Texel, Holland, where the ship set sail.

My character wins a card game in a pub to get a job on the ship. So, what I really need is someone with a feel for 1600 Texel, Holland, or historical Holland in general, to co-conspire the first 10% of the story and make it 'feel' authentic and exotic. Of course I have no idea if 1600 Texel, Holland had pubs women could go into, or for that matter if people played cards... see my problem?

Any suggestions?

Much appreciated.

Cas

frimble3
08-23-2018, 08:14 AM
If I'm misreading the question, sorry, but from your "pubs women could go into" phrasing, I'm thinking this is a female character? What job did you envision her doing on a sailing ship of the day? 'Cause I can't, offhand, think of any. She might have been a passenger? Or, the potential servant of a passenger?

Also, playing cards were certainly in use then, or dice could have been played. Both were around long before your date.

autumnleaf
08-23-2018, 01:17 PM
Playing cards were used long before the 1600s. Here's a deck from the 16th century:
https://www.pinterest.ie/pin/664703226227122857/

The Dutch Republic was one of the most prosperous countries in the 17th century, in fact the period is known as the Dutch Golden Age:
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dutch_Golden_Age

We have some great visual representations of the era by artists such as Rembrandt and Vermeer.

See also:
Vermeer's Hat: The Seventeenth Century and the Dawn of the Global World by Timothy Brook
Europe at Home: Family and Material Culture, 1500–1800 by Raffaella Sarti

Bolero
08-23-2018, 07:03 PM
In terms of hiring, the usual practice of a ship would be for the applicant to talk to the mate, or one of the petty officers depending on the post - they want to make sure the new person is competent for the job and healthy.
Regarding women's jobs on ships - this is later than the period of interest and English, but does give jobs women did on board Royal Naval Warships.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/empire_seapower/life_at_sea_01.shtml

(http://www.bbc.co.uk/history/british/empire_seapower/life_at_sea_01.shtml)

fenyo
08-23-2018, 07:34 PM
I think you should start by reading some history books of that period.
if you want to write a historical book, start by reading some historical books. not historical novels, but history books.
you don't need to be a historian to write a historical novel but to more you now the better. there are plenty of history books about Holland at that time.

caswebb
08-23-2018, 11:56 PM
Yes, of course, thank you Autumnleaf, the design of the cards would be very different to today. That's a fantastic detail. Thank you.

I've googled both books, and I'm off to my local library to see if I can get my hands on them.

I'm not so much on the hunt for a historian as i am for someone who has a 'feel' for the country and the timeperiod. Things like the colour of the playing cards, the smell of the air inside the pub, etc. Little things that make a setting come alive.

Thank you all for your tips.

Cheers
Cas

benbenberi
08-24-2018, 12:54 AM
I'm not so much on the hunt for a historian as i am for someone who has a 'feel' for the country and the timeperiod. Things like the colour of the playing cards, the smell of the air inside the pub, etc. Little things that make a setting come alive.


Happily you've picked a time and place that are exceptionally well-documented for things like that. Many, many Dutch and Flemish artists focused on depicting scenes of daily life, or incorporated bits of daily life into paintings purportedly about other things. Besides the obvious Great Masters like Rembrandt, Hals and Vermeer, look at the works of their contemporaries who specialized in "genre" scenes -- artists like Jan Steen come to mind, or the Teniers family, and a lot of others less well known but full of interesting details. Tavern scenes were very popular!