Thursday, 30 July 2015

A Bath Tailor's shop of the 1820s

Mr Drake claims to have worked for Stultz and Co. this is the company founded by Johann Stultz who in an earlier decade was the preferred tailor of London’s aristocracy including the most famous of dandies, George Brummell and the Prince Regent, who by 1822 was on the throne as George IV.

By habit Drake mean ladies riding clothes in modern values, Mr Drake was offering these at around £400.
Pelisse 1817
A pelisse was originally a short fur-lined or fur-trimmed jacket that was usually worn hanging loosely over the left shoulder of hussar light cavalry soldiers but by this time when military clothing was often used as inspiration for fashionable ladies' garments, the term was applied to a woman's long, fitted coat with set-in sleeves and the fashionable Empire waist. Although initially, these Regency-era pelisses copied the Hussars' fur and braid, they soon lost these initial associations, and in fact were often made entirely of silk and without fur at all. They did, however, tend to retain traces of their military inspiration with frog fastenings and braid trim. 

Super cloth and superfine cloth are grades of pure wool fabric. Saxony was the highest grade woollen and worsted dress fabric and was made from the wool of German merino sheep. Imperial usually implies cloth woven using a mixture of colours or fabrics in the weave.

The frock coat was a form of undress, the clothing worn instead of the dress coat in more informal situations. Morning coats were cut light in the skirts and rather shorter than the evening coats

Kerseymere is a fine woollen cloth with a fancy twill weave.

Russia drilling or drill is a stout twilled fabric usually made with hemp linen.

Nankeen Trousers 1818

Nankeen is a kind of pale yellowish cloth, originally made at Nanjing from a yellow variety of cotton, but subsequently manufactured from ordinary cotton which is then dyed.

Jeans cloth was a cotton fabric.

Valencia was famous for producing high-quality silks and toilenet was a kind of poplin medium weight fabric made of wool or a mixture of wool and cotton or silk and cotton.

Marseilles is a strong cotton fabric with a raised pattern

13 York Street Today

Sunday, 26 July 2015

A dance in celebration of a feat of hydraulic engineering

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

HALF figure proper with the 2d couple, lead through the bottom and cast up - ''half figure proper with the 3d couple, lead up and cast off one couple, three hands round, double bottom and top, change and continue the round; the 1st. and 2d couple lead. round each other, and conclude with the allemande to your partner once round.

Marly Water's Works is a reference to the Chateau de Marly a relatively small residence of Louise XIV near Versailles and the famous Marly Machine which pumped water to supply the fountains at both Chateau de Marly and Versailles

The Marly Machine 1724

When the king wanted to relax and spend time with his inner circle he would move from Versailles to the Marly gardens where the nearby Seine supplied the site with water via the mechanism of the Marly Machine.

The Château de Marly 1724
Swalem Rennequin, a carpenter who could neither read nor write, designed the Marly machine. Fourteen paddle-wheels drove the 59 suction pumps, propelling water to the top of the Marly gardens more than 150 metres above the river.

Work on the Marly machine lasted from 1680 to 1685 but cost the royal treasury relatively little money. Despite its fragility, it regularly supplied the Marly gardens with water during the first few years but was neglected in the 1690s. Its power steadily declined until a 1730s renovation, when the water was no longer pumped to Marly but to Versailles.

The Wiltshires and the Lower Rooms

The Wiltshire's were a very wealthy and influential Bath family who made their money as carriers, transporting high-value goods between London and Bath, and as bankers.

Thomas Rowlandson A Carrier's Waggon
In addition to these enterprises, they also became proprietors of one of the rooms on the parades. The first Wiltshire to take charge was Anne Wiltshire who ran the rooms from 1744 to 1747. The Bath Journal of 23 September 1745 tells us that the subscription Anne charged to use the Rooms was a guinea and they opened at 11 am.
Wiltshire's Rooms

Anne's son John Wiltshire took over in 1747 and ran them until 1767. He was the brother of Walter Wiltshire. Both brothers were prominent Freemasons and Walter was elected a Councillor in 1746 and went on to be Mayor in 1772, 1780 and 1791. We learn from the Bath City Council Minutes of 1746 that the Council was indebted to Walter Wiltshire to the tune of £7,700 or around £600,000 today.

Shockerville House
Walter Wiltshire's House
The New Bath Guide of 1766 tells us that John decorated his rooms with a "Portrait Picture and Bust of the Late Richard Nash Esq. beside many curious landscapes." The latter is of some interest because the Wiltshire brothers through both their work and Freemasonry were mixing with many important artists including Gainsborough.

Wiltshire's Rooms

Saturday, 25 July 2015

Up With The Orange a dance from 1814

This is taken from "Up with the Orange. A fashionable country dance to which are added two favorite French country dances or cotillions for the year 1814. The proper figures are affixed to each air."

The suggested figures are:
The 1st and 2nd couples advance and foot it in the centre, Then turn into place down the middle and up again - swing corners  - pousette.  

The title probably refers to the Prince of Orange for whom 1814 had been a big year as he had been promoted to lieutenant-general in the British Army and had become engaged to Princess Charlotte only daughter of the Prince Regent.  

William and his wife Anna Pavlovna (1816)

The London dancing master Thomas Wilson tells us in his 1808 publication An Analysis of Country Dance how to swing corners correctly at this period.

The Gentleman at B, turns the Lady at A, with his right hand, who moves to D, while the Gentleman

moves to C.

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Barree a Bath Dancing Master of the Regency

Monsieur Barree, "Professor of Dancing and Ballet-Master, Pensioner of the Opera House, Paris, and late Ballet-Master at the Opera House, London" was teaching in Bath before 1814.

He claims in an announcement in the Bath Chronicle that one of his pupils was the famous, and infamous, Mademoiselle Parisot. If this is true this must have been when he was ballet master in London at the King's Theatre then known as the Opera House.

Parisot moved to London and made her stage debut at the King's Theatre on 9 February 1796. The Morning Chronicle spoke of the 19-year-old's performance favorably and described her balance "as positively magical, for her person was almost horizontal while turning as a pivot on her toe." Parisot frequently wore costumes that accentuated her legs as she danced, leading the Monthly Mirror to remark on her degree of flexibility in a 1796 performance as creating "a stir by raising her legs far higher than was customary for dancers", Parisot's salary for the 1795–1796 season was £600 and she earned £577 in 1799–1800 and £840 during the 1803–1804 season.

Mademoiselle Parisot in a 1799 mezzotint
by Charles Turner

In the late 1790s, Parisot often danced with Rose and Charles Didelot, a husband and wife ballet pair that were trained in Paris and were later influential in developing Russian ballet. In 1798, The Bishop of Durham denounced a dress she had worn while dancing at the Opera as "indecent". 

Mademoiselle Parisot in a 1796 caricature
by Robert Newton.
The Bishop of Durham and
the Duke of Queensberry are in the theatre box

The risqué dance moves of Parisot and the Didelots and Parisot's use of sheer, neoclassical costumes that often exposed one breast led the same bishop to denounce the "immoral" antics of the French ballet dancers.

In a production in 1799, Parisot "astounded" British theatre goers when she dressed in menswear. A "shawl dance" performed by Parisot at the King's Theatre as part of the January 1805 production "was received with enthusiastic applause." On 15 June 1805, a riot occurred at the Opera due to the manager Mr. Kelly, following the Bishop of London's orders to end the ballet by midnight, drawing the curtain before a dance by Parisot was completed. The angry theatre patrons "threw all the chairs out of the boxes into the pit tore up the benches, destroyed the chandeliers, jumped into the orchestra, smashed the piano forte and broke all the instruments of the poor unoffending performers."

Mademoiselle Parisot had retired from the stage at the end of the 1807 season.

Whether Monsieur Barree moved to Bath on the retirement of his pupil or early is not clear but before 1814, we know he was living in the city with his wife and son who both assisted in his dance school which may have been located at 6 George Street. In 1814, he moved his family to Twerton. From 1814 to 1817 he seems to have confined himself to giving private lessons. Then in 1817 the following advert appeared:

This is an interesting document as it gives some insight into the how public dancing schools functioned at this time. Note that young people are taught separately with young men only being taught in the morning and young women only in the afternoon. Lessons took place three times a week and one class wholly devoted to the most fashionable dances at this time the Quadrille and the Waltz.

We also learn a little more about Barree. His daughter is now old enough to join him in the family business and it seems he has published a number of books on the art of dancing.

Sunday, 19 July 2015

Paynes Seventh Quadrille

Edward Payne was one of the most influential dancing masters of the Regency Era.
He is not to be confused with James Paine of Almacks. Payne seems to have been a significant influence on the dancing master, and author of numerous dancing manuals, Thomas Wilson.

Edward Payne died at the end of 1818 or the beginning of 1819 before he could see the full
success of his dances. Payne was teaching Waltzes in 1815.

Payne's Seventh Set was probably published in 1815 the figures he proposes are:

Le Troubadour

  1. Change sides all 8 and turn hands to the left
  2. Back again and turn hands to the right
  3. The 4 cross over giving the right hands
  4. Back again with the left
  5. Figure to the right and to the sides
  6. The 8 advance and resume your partners
The other 4 dancers do the same

La Pettite Brunette

  1. One Lady advances 8 bars
  2. The opposite Gentleman the same
  3. Balancez [sic] & turn your partners
The other 6 Dancers do the same

La Regence

  1. One Gentleman and the opposite Lady figure to the left turn turn hands three round and back again to their place.
  2. The 4 Ladies chain
  3. Change sides 4 and cross over immediately
  4. Change sides again and cross over to your places
  5. Demie Promenade
  6. Demie chaine anglaise
The other 4 Dancers do the same

La Nouvelle Bisson

  1. One Gentleman and his partner with the Lady on his left, advance twice
  2. Hands 3 round to the left
  3. Back again to the right
  4. The tiriors [sic] 4 times
  5. The 4 back to back and half right and left to your places
  6. The 4 back to back and half right and left to your places
The other 6 Dancers do the same

La Pomme d'Or

  1. Hands round all 8
  2. Balancez [sic] to the left and to your partners
  3. Right and left
  4. Change sides 4 and cross over immediately 
  5. Hands 4 half round to your places
To finish hands round all 8

Les Carillions de Dunkirk

  1. Promenade all 8
  2. Change sides and set
  3. Balencez [sic] and turn hands
  4. Three beats with the hands afterwards with the foot
  5. Allemande, change sides again and continue the same figure till you regain your places
To finish Promenade all 8

Friday, 17 July 2015

Thomas Wilson Dancing Master and publisist

This advert appears in the 1820 edition of Thomas Wilson's own book The Complete System of English Country Dancing.

We know very little about Thomas Wilson and much of what we do know is what he tells us himself. From his writings he was clearly not lacking in self belief or self confidence.

He was a prolific author of books about dance and dancing and was often used by publishers to add suggested figures to their published dance music.

Because he was so prolific and so many of his books have survived he has become our primary source for information about social dancing in the early nineteenth century.

How his often very dogmatic views on dance were regarded by his contemporaries  we can only guess.

The reviewers of his works though favorable in tone offer little specific comment, though they often have a gently mocking tone designed to puncture pomposity. The following reviews for instance appear in the Gentleman's Magazine of 1817:

101. A Companion to the Ball Room, containing a Choice Collection of the most original and admired Country Dance, Reel, Hornpipe, and Waltz Tubes‘, with a variety of appropriate figures ,' the Etiquette, and a Dissertation on the State of the Ball Room. By Thomas Wilson, Dancing Master, from the King’s Theatre, Opera House; Button, Whitaker, &Co.pp. 232.

THOUGH our dancing-days are pretty well over, Mr. Wilson recalls to memory that such days have been, and were most dear,- and there was a time when we should have thought such a publication as the present a very high treat. For the sake of the Author, we hope that there are many who still think so; and that the sale of his Work will remunerate his ingenuity and his labour.

 “He has been induced to bring forward the present Work, not only to answer the request of those who have so frequently and for so many years past applied to him, to publish a Pocket Collection of correct and favourite Country Dances, with appropriate Figures, for the use of the Ball Room, but also to answer every purpose of the Dancer and the Musician; and consequently no pains have been spared to render it, what he trusts it will be found to be, the most original, useful, and pleasing Collection ever found in a Work approximating to its kind-It chiefly consists of Airs, adapted to Country Dancing, Reels, Hornpipes, Waltzes, &Co. with their Ages and Nationality attached to them, and a variety of appropriate Figures, to such Tunes as require them, with Directions for their correct Performance and remarks thereon: also will be affixed, a Critical Dissertation on the Present State of the English Ball Room, Ball Room Musicians, and Musical Publications."

The Tunes, which are numerous, are all engraved; a scientific Introduction is prefixed; and the volume closes with “ A Dissertation on the present State of the English Ball Room; Ball Room Musick, and Collection of Country Dances; Ball Room Musicians‘ the Etiquette of the Ball Room, and a National and Characteristic Index.

54. A Description of the correct Method of Waltzing, the truly fashionable Species of Dancing, that, from the graceful and pleasing Beauty of its Movements, has obtained an Ascendancy over every other Department of that polite Branch of Education. Part I containing a correct explanatory Description of the several Movements and Attitudes in German and French Waltzing. By Tho. Wilson, Dancing- Master, (from the King's Theatre, Opera House) Author of "The Analysis of Country Dancing," " The Treasures of Terpsichore," and a Variety of other Works on Music and Dancing. Illustrated by Engravings, from Original Designs and Drawings, by. H. A. Randall. 12mo. pp.113.Sherwood &Co.

HAVING in our last Volume paid proper consideration to Mr. Wilson's "Country Dances," we shall content ourselves with now giving only the ample title of the present work i observing merely, that it is dedicated

"To the Ladies and Gentlemen, of the King's Theatre, Opera House, of the Theatres Royal, Drury Lane and Covent Garden, and of the other Theatres, and to the Teachers of Dancing, and the others who have honoured the Treatise on the correct Method of Waltzing with their patronage and support, as subscribers and otherwise.

" No work on Dancing ever having been so highly patronised as the present, I can only say, that my sense of gratitude, excited by your goodness, is so strong, as to be altogether inexpressible, and such as never can be destroyed, but must be ever held in my remembrance, and cherished with enthusiasm."

The volume is splendidly printed; and will be a curious morsel for some Bibliomaniac of the next Century.

Disapproving in toto of the art of Waltzing, we cannot say more of the mode of teaching it.

55. The celebrated and fashionable Dance La Batteuse, with the various figures correctly explained, as danced at Paris, and at all the fashionable Balls and Assemblies of the Nobility and Gentry, and also at the Author's Balls and Assemblies : clearly illustrated by Diagrams, shewing the various Movements of which it is composed. Arranged for the Pianoforte, or Violin, by Thomas Wilson, Dancing-Master, folio, pp. 111.

THE skillful and indefatigable Mr. Wilson thus introduces La Batteuse :

 "The great celebrity which this Dance has so generally acquired in the first circles of Fashion, and the required frequency of its introduction in all fashionable Balls and Assemblies, has rendered it necessary that every Teacher of Fashionable Dancing should become properly acquainted with it. It has however, since the introduction of it as a fashionable dance, suffered many alterations which have tended to per vert the true nature of its composition as it correctly stands. To obviate as much as possible any further innovation On this pleasing Dance, is the Author's object in laying down the correct method of its performance, by giving the proper music, pointing out where the steps and the beating should be introduced, the quantity of musick required for each, and shewing by diagrams the form of the dance, and the correct manner of performing all the various movements of which it is composed."

As a consequence of this lack of real critique or comment it is unclear how reliable a guide he is to the real world of social dance in the early nineteenth century.

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Jane Austen on drunkenness and adultery at the rooms

Jane Austen's letter to her sister Cassandra 12th - 13th May 1801. Jane was staying with her Aunt and Uncle in their home in the Paragon.

"In the evening I hope you honoured my Toilette & Ball with a thought; I dressed myself as well as I could, & my finery was much admired at home."

On Mondays, the ball at the Upper Rooms was a formal dress ball. This was the last but one ball of this season.

"By nine o'clock my Uncle, Aunt and I entered the rooms & linked Miss Winstone on to us."

The ball started at 7 o'clock so the Austen's were probably timing their arrival to avoid the demanding and increasingly unpopular minuets.

"Before tea, it was a rather dull affair; but then the before tea did not last that long, for there was only one dance, dance by four couple. Think of four couple, surrounded by about an hundred people, dancing in the Upper Rooms at Bath! After tea we cheered up; the breaking up of private parties sent some scores more to the Ball, & tho' it was shockingly & inhumanly thin for this place, there were people enough I suppose to have made five or six very pretty Basingstoke assemblies."

Since the early 1790s, there had been an increasing fashion for attending private parties before considering moving on to the assemblies. This was one of the factors which had led to the introduction of the much more informal fancy balls. The Austen party may have been particularly sensitive to numbers attending the Upper Rooms as her uncle had a financial interest in the rooms having subscribed funds to their construction.

"I then got Mr Evelyn to talk to & Miss Twisleton to look at; and I am proud to say that I have a very good eye at an Adulteress, for tho' repeatedly assured that another in the party was the She, I fixed upon the right one from the first. A resemblance to Mrs Leigh was my guide."

The Twisleton family were related to the Austen family via the Leighs. Miss Twisleton was Miss Mary Cassandra Twislton, whose older sister Julie Judith Twislton, has married Jane’s cousin, James Henry Leigh of Adlestrop, in 1786. Mary Cassandra had moved to Bath with her mother Lady Saye and Sele in 1800 following the end of a legal action which and made her notorious and allowed her cousin to brand her as an “adulteress”.

At the age of 16 Mary Cassandra had married Edward Ricketts. The marriage collapsed 7 years later when her husband discovered incriminating letters between his wife and a Charles Taylor. The following year the Bishop of London granted Ricketts an Episcopal divorce. Not content with this Ricketts applied to the House of Lords for a civil divorce. At the hearing, several witnesses swore that they had seen Mary Cassandra visit her lover’s house and some commented on her dishevelled appearance on leaving. The most damaging evidence was provided by a maid who testified that Mary had boasted in graphic detail of Taylor’s prowess as a lover compared to her husband’s performance. Ricketts was granted his divorce in 1799.

Prior to this the Twisletons name had already featured in sexual scandal through Mary Cassandra’s older brother Thomas’s marriage to Charlotte Anne Frances Wattell, who was the daughter of John Wattell Esq and niece to Sir John Stonehouse.  At about the age of eighteen, she had met, through a mutual love of performing in amateur theatricals, Mary’s brotherThomas James Twisleton, the youngest son of Lord Saye and Sele, Twisleton was 18 and still at school but within four months had eloped with her to Gretna Green. According to her husband Mrs. Twislton had very expensive tastes and had "reduced him almost to poverty" and that when he had attempted to remonstrate with her she had "declared to go on the [professional] stage, where, she knew she possessed the talent to support herself in affluence". He strongly opposed her plans and when she went behind his back to meet Harris the proprietor of the Covent Garden Theatre he sought and obtained a deed of separation in 1794. At this time the couple had five children, of whom only one daughter survived to maturity, however, before Twisleton got a bill of divorce passed in 1798 Charlotte had given birth to a son as the result of an affair with a merchant named Stein. Stein acknowledged paternity and helped with his education.

Charlotte Twisleton around 1796

"She is not so pretty as I expected ; her face has the same defect of baldness as her sister's, & her features not so handsome; she was highly rouged & looked quietly & contentedly silly than anything else. Mrs Badcock & two young women were of the same party except when Mrs Badcock thought herself obliged to leave them, to run round the room after her drunken husband. His avoidance, & her pursuit, with the probable intoxication of both was an amusing scene."

This Mr. Badcock may well be the young man mentioned in a letter preserved in the Bath library describing a ball in the Upper Rooms nine years earlier in 1792:

“It was amazingly crowded, although the minuets had not begun, so much so that we found some difficulty to get seats. I was very much entertained with the bad minuet dancers especially with a Mr. Badcock who was obliged to stand up with seven or eight Ladies successively, to the great diversion of the spectators. I believe there were twenty minuets which was rather tiresome, but at last the Country Dances began”

Friday, 10 July 2015

Making your dancing look effortless, smooth and steady.

In dancing, at this period, great emphasis was placed on making your dancing look effortless, smooth and steady.

In his 1822 book Elements of the Art of Dancing the Edinburgh dancing master, Alexander Strathy recommends the follow exercise as a way of mastering this skill.

“PLACE your feet in the fifth position, keep the body upright, rest on the leg that is behind, raise the heel of the foot that is before, and slide the foot on the point slowly to the second position. The knee should be straight, as the foot arrives at the second position; place the heel of the foot which you have moved, keeping it forward; rest the body on it, and at the same time raise the heel of the other foot, which you now slide on the point into the fifth position before, keeping the knees straight, and the heel forward, that you may form the position closely; then do the same thing to the other side. This exercise should be also performed, by entering the foot behind in the fifth position.

Then, in the same manner;' from the fifth to the fourth position forward.-Place the feet in the fifth position, balance the body on the leg that is behind; raise the heel of the foot that is before, slide the foot on the point to the fourth position forward, keeping the knees straight; place the heel, and rest the body on the foremost leg, then slide up the foot that is behind, to the fifth .position behind.
Continue to do this several times forward, then backward. Do the same thing with the other foot before.”

Feet Positions

A tale of minuets and social climbing

On his arrival in Bath in October 1731 The Earl of Orrery's first port of call was naturally the Pump Room but as soon as possible after he took himself off to the Terrace Walk and the shop of James Leake, the bookseller, who ran Bath's first circulating library and indeed one of the first circulating libraries in the country.

This is surprising as he had a very low opinion of Leake.
John Boyle, 5th Earl of Cork and Orrery
 by Isaac Seeman

"This Leake is a most extraordinary Person. He is the Prince of all the coxcomical Fraternity of Booksellers: and, not having any Learning himself, He seems resolved to sell it as dear as possible to Others."

His reason for visiting Leakes shop is interesting as it sheds light on the operation of Bath societies and assemblies at this time.

Leake was a snob. As the Earl relates:

“He looks upon every Man, distinguished by any Title, not only as his Friend, but his companion, and he treats him accordingly: but he disposes of his Favours and Regards as methodically as Nash takes out the Ladies to dance, and therefore speaks not to a Marquiss whilst a Duke is in the Room.”

The reference to Nash is a reference to the way in which the minuets were managed at balls. The Minuet was a couple’s dance where one couple danced at a time before an admiring or more often critical company. After the first couple had danced the man retired and Richard Nash, as the then Master of the Ceremonies, would bring the woman a second partner. The minuets continued until all the ladies who had stood up for them had danced with two men. The succession of dancers was governed by strict rules of precedence arbitrated by the Master of the Ceremonies.

It is this preoccupation with precedence and class which motivated the Earl’s visit to Leake. Orrey’s Earldom was of the Irish nobility. Irish titles were considered inferior to their English counterparts.

He was anxious to discover if his secret was known in Bath and was relieved to discover:

“As yet he is ignorant that my Earldom lies in Ireland,”

This allowed him to implement a plan he has hatched

“to keep him so, I have borrowed the only Book of Heraldry He had in his Shop : by this method I shall be served many degrees above my Place, and may have a Squeeze of his Hand in presence of an Earl of Great Britain.”

Wednesday, 8 July 2015

Anne Bland music publisher

For those interested in the dance music of the period of Jane Austen's life and novels Anne Bland is an important figure.
Anne Bland, who has no connection with the music publisher John Bland, began her music publishing business in London 1784. Anne Bland as "Music Seller, Oxford Street" is given in the Musical Directory for 1794. Anne Bland was established at 23, Oxford Street prior to 1790, and issued sheet music and yearly sets of dances.   Anne went into partnership with E. Weller in 1792 forming Bland and Weller. In addition to their publishing activities, which included a large number country-dance collections, many of which survive, and the first English edition of three Mozart piano sonatas (k280, 282, 283), they were also piano and wind instrument makers.

Early English piano-forte by Bland and Weller
23 Oxford Street

In 1805, the firm purchased from Dibdin, the composer, musician, dramatist, novelist and actor, the copyrights of 360 of his songs together with his musical stock, which they then reissued. Anne Bland retired in about 1818, and a sale of plates and copyrights took place though Weller carried on the business as Weller & Co. until 1820.

Typical surviving dance collections include:

24 Favorite country dances, hornpipes and reels with their proper figures for the German flute or violin as performed at court and all public assemblies 1807

24 Favourite Country Dances, Hornpipes and Reels with their proper figures for the German flute or violin. As performed at court and all public assemblies.A typical country dance tune and instruction book printed in London in 1803

Bland and Weller’s Annual Collection of Twenty-four Country Dances for the year 1797, with their proper Figures. For the Violin

Bland and Weller’s annual Collection of twenty-four Country Dances for the year 1798, with their proper figures, for the violin

Bland and Weller’s Annual Collection of twenty-four Country Dances for the Year 1799, with their proper Figures. For the violin and German flute, etc.

Bland and Weller

Bath Fashions Autumn 1761

Mid 18th century French Silk Brocade
with silver thread highlights

At this period silks were often woven to order from a chosen pattern.
Galloway Buildings Today
 On the same page of the Bath Chronicle Warren and company the London, perfumers were advertising the wares they had on sale at their perfume shop at the upper end of Orange Grove in Bath. These included "Warren's true prepar'd [sic] French Chicken Gloves, for cleaning and whitening the Hands and Arms, for Ladies and Gentlemen, as usual, at 5s a pair." Chicken Gloves were made from a thin strong leather derived from the skin of cattle fetuses or as the name suggests chicken skins.

Sunday, 5 July 2015

Mr De La Main - Dancing Master

The European Magazine and London Review Volume April 1797 obituary  “Lately, at Bath, Mr De la Main, formally a wine-merchant and dancing master".

There is some evidence of Thomas De La Main operating as a dancing master in Bath as early as 1757.

Thomas De le Main opened a public dancing academy in his house in Westgate Street where he taught both ladies and gentlemen in September 1768. Prior to that, he had been teaching private pupils and the students of a local boarding school.

By 1774, he was also trading as a wine merchant out of 4 Westgate Street. Sometime in early 1775, the wine business was in the hands of Robert De Le Main probably Thomas's son.

By 1775, De La Main was organising balls at the New Rooms to show off his students' skills. These seem to have been held on Saturdays with a 6:30 start time.

By 1776, when the business was sold, Robert had acquired a partner in the wine merchants called Mr. Higgs.

In the winter of 1778 Thomas De La Main from Bath was running a dancing academy in Dublin.

Thomas was still running dancing classes in Bath as late as 1786.

In April 1797, the Chronicle announced, "died, in a very advanced age, Mr. De La Main, formerly an eminent wine-merchant and dancing master of this city."

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Artists and the Rooms

The Assembly Rooms were magnets for the rich and fashionable of the Georgian age. Consequently, those who made their living from the rich wanted to be close to the rooms.

This effect can be seen most clearly from moves by three famous Bath portrait artists when the Upper Rooms were opened and became the most fashionable of the Bath Rooms.

Thomas Gainsborough moved from near the Abbey to the Circus where he lived at number 17, William Hoare moved from Queen Square to Edgar Buildings and Thomas Lawrence's father brought his young genius of a son to live at 2 Alfred Street where he built his reputation by painting small pastel portraits of the visitors to the Assemblies.

A pastel portrait by Thomas Lawrence from the 1780s
William Hoare was the first fashionable portraitist to settle in Bath, and he remained as the leading portraitist there until the arrival of Thomas Gainsborough in 1759. He remained the favourite of his powerful patron the Duke of Newcastle, his family, followers and political associates. Included amongst his other important patrons were the Earls of Pembroke and Chesterfield and the Duke of Beaufort. With Gainsborough and Joshua Reynolds, he was a founding member of the Royal Academy.

Sir Thomas Lawrence was the second president of the Royal Academy. Lawrence was a child prodigy. He was born in Bristol and began drawing in Devizes, where his father was an innkeeper. He moved to Bath at the age of ten in 1779 where he was supporting his family with his pastel portraits.