Friday, 24 April 2015

Spring Balls of 1793

On Friday the 12th of April at the Lower Assembly Rooms they held a benefit ball for the Master of the Ceremonies Mr. King. At benefit balls, the Master of the Ceremonies kept the profits.

James King

On Monday the 22nd of April the New Rooms held a benefit ball for their man Mr. Tyson.

On the 24th of April, the Miss Flemings put on their spring ball at the New Rooms to show off the talents of the students from their dance academy.

The Miss Flemings were the sisters Anne and Kitty the then proprietors of the famous Fleming family dance academy which had been a prominent Bath institution since the 1740s and which was famous for throwing magnificent balls often attended by Royalty.

Monday, 20 April 2015

The Grove a dance from 1796

The suggested figures for The Grove taken from "The Scholar's Companion - Cotillions and Country Dances – 1796. The scholar’s companion: containing a choice collection of cotillons & country-dances by M.J.C. Fraisier." of 1796

"First and 2d couples cross hands and back again, lead down the middle, lead up and cast off one couple; then the 1st gentleman sets to the 3d lady, whilst his partner sets to the 3d gentleman; then the 1st gentleman sets to the 2d lady, whilst his partner sets to the 2d gentleman; then the 1st gentleman turns his partner with both hands, placing her between the 2d and 3d ladies, and right and left at top."

Thursday, 16 April 2015

The Africans a Dance from 1816

The suggested figures for The Africans taken from "TheTreasures of Terpsichore; OR,
MOST POPULAR ENGLISH COUNTRY DANCES, Arranged Alphabetically, with proper Figures to each Dance. BY T. WILSON, DANCING MASTER, from the King's Theatre, Opera House, AND AUTHOR OF 'THE ANALYSIS OF COUNTRY DANCING.'

Africans (The). 2 PARTS REPEATED.

Single Figure.

Set and change sides, down the middle, up again, right and left.

Or thus:

Hey of your own sides, cross over two couple. and lead up one.

During the Napoleonic Wars, the Cape Colony was annexed by the British and officially became their colony in 1815 and this may possibly have inspired the title.

Saturday, 4 April 2015

Bath dances from 1797

The originally suggested figures for the country dance tune Victory. Taken from "Ten Country Dances and four cotillions with their basses for the piano forte as they are now danced at Bath for the year 1797. Price 1s 6d. Printed for & sold at J&W Lintern's Music Warehouse, Abbey Church Yard Bath."

First and second Cu. set and Hands across ~ Same Back again ~ Lead down the,
Middle and up again ~ Right and left at Top 8 ~

From the same book come suggested figures for the country dance tune The Whimsical Lover

First & 2d. Cu ~ set & change Sides - The same Back again - Lead down the Middle & up again ~ Right & Left at Top ~

Lintern, J. & W. Abbey Church Yard were music sellers, publishers and agents for  the long-established London publishers Longman, Clementi & Co. and Cahusac & Sons at the sign of the "Two Flutes and Violin, opposite St Clement's Church in the Strand,"

The title may well be inspired by The Battle of Cape St Vincent (14 February 11797 where a British fleet under Admiral Sir John Jervis defeated a larger Spanish fleet under Admiral Don José de Córdoba y Ramos near Cape St. Vincent, Portugal.

Thursday, 2 April 2015

Lady Archer, make-up and gambling

In the latter part of the eighteenth century a number of aristocratic ladies opened their houses for gambling, one of the best known, probably, being Lady Archer. It is the lady whose toilet regime is immortalised in this 1792 print by Thomas Rowlandson when she was 51. Lady Archer's commitment to "beauty" can also be judged from the following extracts from the Morning Post.

"Jan.  5, 1789. The Lady Archer, whose death was announced in this paper of Saturday, is not the celebrated character whose cosmetic powers  have long been held in public estimation." 

"Jan.  8,1789. It is said that the dealers in  Carmine and dead white,  as well as the  perfumers  in general, have it in contemplation to present an Address to Lady Archer, in gratitude for her not having  DIED  according to a late alarming report."

Lady Archer's gambling business featured the card game faro indeed, she and her "sisters" were satirised as faro's daughters. Faro houses were notorious for bilking their customers indeed the odds of the game are such that the house could only ensure profits by cheating in some form or other.

The sort of money that could be made from this game by Faro house operators can be illustrated by a court case reported the Bath newspapers in 1787.

Gambling was always central to the entertainment that attracted the Ton to Bath and repeated attempts by the law to regulate it failed in the face of the Georgian obsession with gaming and the large amounts of money to be made by catering to this obsession.

As the Bath Chronicle of 12th April 1787 reported:

"Yesterday Mr. John Twycross and Mr Richard Weternall were convicted before the Mayor, on several counts, of keeping a Faro and other Gambling Table and sentenced to pay, Twycross four hundred, and Wettenall fourteen hundred pounds"

The article goes on to say:

"Eighteen hundred pounds [approximately the equivalent £100,000 today] is a seemingly large sum; but when the various arts of seduction to support this Faro Table, and its immense profits, are considered, it will appear a mere trifle. Every allurement of expensive eating and the richest wines are ever speciously ready, to invite the convivial. The hounds are principally, if not solely, supported to take in country gentlemen; and the present culprits are only the ostensible members of a numerous co-partnership, amongst whom the money may be easily raised; and who, like the Syrens of old, are unceasingly employed to draw devoted victims into this dreadful vortex of destruction."

Twycross and Wetenall ran their rooms in Alfred Street which runs alongside the Upper Assembly Rooms and were therefore well placed to exploit the well-healed crowds attracted there in the season.