THE HISTORY OF CROQUET AND CROQUET SUITS IN POLAND FROM THE SECOND HALF OF THE 19TH C. TO 1939 (Historia krokieta i strojów krokietowych w Polsce od drugiej polowy XIX wieku do 1939 roku)
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Croquet is a lawn game played by both men and women, often confused with cricket. Both games have originated in Britain, but cricket is thought to be older; furthermore, it a is a team game played by men only. Croquet, one the other hand, was one of the favourite recreations of Victorian and Edwardian England, alongside tennis and rowing. Games of croquet were played during garden parties. The players used long-handled hammers, called mallets, to hit colourful wooden balls, trying to drive them through a series of wire hoops in a particular order. Apart from outdoor entertainment, croquet provided an opportunity of personal contacts on neutral ground and of unrestrained conversations. The golden age of croquet lasted from the 1850s to about 1914; later the game ceased to be so popular. Croquet was also well-known in Poland. It was an excellent diversion for holiday at the seaside, in spa resorts or in the country. Popular magazines, such as Wies Ilustrowana [The Countryside Illustrated] or Wies i Dwór [The Country and the Manor], targeted primarily at gentry, often advertised professional croquet equipment offered by English or domestic producers. The game also required an appropriate suit of clothes - simple, convenient and unadorned. The sport was shown in one of the best paintings by Leon Wyczólkowski Gra w krokieta [A game of croquet]. Although Polish iconography concerning croquet is scarce, it provides enough data to describe both the game itself and the suits worn by the players.
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