Friday, 23 December 2016

Mr I Walkers Fancy 1808

Mr I Walker's Fancy taken from "Goulding’s Select Collection of Twelve Favorite Country Dances for the year 1808" Published by Goulding, Phipps and D’Almaine.

At the time of publication Goulding, Phipps, & D’Almaine also known as Goulding & Co were based at 124 New Bond street and were official music sellers to the Prince and Princess of Wales.

Sunday, 11 December 2016

Lanstram wake a dance from the 1730s

Taken from "Twenty-Four Dances for the year 1738 with proper tunes Figures or Directions for each Dance." published by Benjamin Cooke in 1738.

Benjamin Cooke (? - 1743) was an organist, music publisher and music seller based at the Golden Harp, in New Street, Covent Garden from 1726 to 1743. Cooke had in 1723 married the widow of John Jones who had operated as an instrument maker and music publisher at the Golden Harp until 1720.

His second wife Elizabeth Wayet, the sister-in-law of Lancelot (Capability) Brown gave birth to the composer Benjamin Cooke(1734 - 1793).

As well as collections of dance music Cooke's production included a seminal edition of the collected works of Arcangelo Corelli in study scores comprising all five books of sonatas and the twelve concerti grossi. Indeed,  Cooke was in many ways a pioneering music publisher with his insistence on sourcing music from composers or their agents rather than other publishers material.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

The Foolscap and Bells

Taken from:

"Le Sylphe. An elegant collection of twenty-four country dances, the figures by Mr Wilson, for the year 1814, adapted for the German flute, violin, flageolet or oboe."

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Of the Step called Jéte


"Of the Step called Jéte, performed in the Fifth Position.

THIS step is derived from the Assemblé, and, to perform it, follow the same rule as for the Assemblé in the fifth position.

The body being placed as directed for the deportment, the feet in the fifth position, balance the body entirely on the leg that is before, which will disengage the foot that is behind; bend on the leg that is before, and at same time raise the foot that is behind on the point, which will make the knee fold a little; keep the knee well turned outward; extend it by sliding the foot on the point, just to the second position; then raise yourself on the foot you stand upon, and at the same time slide the other foot from the second position, into the fifth position before; but, instead of falling on both feet, as in the Assemblé, fall entirely on the foot that is before, and at the same moment raise the foot that is behind, by folding the knee to the side, the point of the foot turned directly down, and kept near the floor, but without touching it. Keep the knees turned to the side, in order to preserve the outward position.

The foot that is behind being now disengaged, slide it upon the point to the second position, bending at same time on the other leg, in order to repeat the step with the other foot, and so on alternately.
In order to perform this step behind, observe the same rule as to perform it before. Balance the body entirely on the leg that is behind, which will disengage the foot that is before; bend on the leg that is behind, and at the same time raise the foot that is before to the point; slide it to the second position, gradually extending the knee and instep, as you bend on the other leg; then raise yourself on the point of the foot you rest on, and at the same time slide the other foot from the second position into the fifth position behind; fall upon it, raising at the same moment the foot that is before, the point turned down, and the foot kept near the leg that is behind, the knees well turned outward.

The foot that is before being now disengaged, slide it on the point to the second position, bending at the same time on the other leg, in order to do the same step with the other foot, and so on alternately.”

Thursday, 30 June 2016

Bath fashions 1808

Morning Walking Dresses

Evening Dresses

At this time, the term mantle was used to describe any loose-fitting, shaped outer garment similar to a cape.

A Pelisse
A pelisse was originally a short fur-lined or fur-trimmed jacket that was usually worn hanging loose 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.

Sarsnet a fine soft silk fabric formerly from Italy.
Short Stays

Habit shirt is a type of shirt worn by women as part of a riding habit.

Tuckers were lace pieces fitted over the bodice and the origin of the phrase best bib and tucker.

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

The Queen's Birthday Ball 1765

The Bath Chronicle of 24th January 1765 reported:

"On Friday last [18th January] being the Celebration of the Queen's Birthday"

Queen Charlotte
Since Queen Charlotte was born on the 19th May this must have been the date set for the official birthday celebrations a practice introduced in the reign of George III's grandfather George II. In 1765, Charlotte was 21.

The Chronicle's account continues:

"the same was observed here with the greatest Marks of Loyalty and Rejoicing; the Morning was ushered in with ringing at Ono o'Clock at Noon the Guns at Mr Simpsons were fired off, at night the was a subscription ball in his rooms by the order of the Master of the Ceremonies,"

Samuel Derrick

At this time, the Master of Ceremonies was the notorious Irish writer Samuel Derrick. The Chronicle's account continues.

"........ the appearance of the company was more splendid than was ever known: there were near fifty minuets danced, and it is thought there were near six hundred people present; who were all dressed with a brilliancy [sic] and elegance that seemed peculiarly adapted to the night."

It is worth noting that Simpson's rooms were 50 feet in length; 36 feet in breadth and feet 30 in height so 600 people would have had 3 square feet each if they were all in the ballroom and this ignores the additional space required for the numerous servants and the musicians and the furniture including benches to allow people to sit and watch.

It seems that the evening did not go off entirely smoothly as the Chronicle goes on to tell us that:

"The Master of the Ceremonies at Bath finds himself under the necessity to republish the following rules.

1. That no Gentleman present himself  for a minuet, except in full dress; or at least in a full dress French frock suit. Regimentals are an exception, being every where a proper dress.

2, That no Lady can dance minuets, without a full dress hoop and lappet head.

3. That no Lady can dance country dances with A HOOP OF ANY KIND, and no lady that attempts it can be angry at being desired to sit down, her standing up being against rule:"

Bearing in mind the restricted space and the large numbers the re-iteration of and emphasis in this rule suggest that Derrick and his assistance must have faced some very awkward situations on the night.

He goes on to point out to Ladies that:

"there is a retirement, always ready, and a maid-servant to assist those that chuse [sic] to put off their hoops."

Presumably, the maidservants were also able to pin or tack up the skirts as they would otherwise have dragged on the floor to an intolerable extent. The last rule is a little harder to understand.

"4, Gentlemen in LEATHER-BREECHES must undergo the same fate with the country dancers hoops; there being no servant to assist them."

Monday, 28 March 2016

A Concert and Ball in Wiltshire's Rooms 1761

David Richards who was to benefit from the proceeds of this event was a leading Bath bandleader and violinist of this time.

Wiltshire's Rooms were the Assembly Rooms on the Parades, the site is now known as Bog Island. They had been called Wiltshire since they had been taken into the ownership of the Wiltshire family in 1744. 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. In 1761, they were being run by John Wiltshire on behalf of his family.

Giovanni Battista Pergolesi

The Italian Pergolesi had composed his Stabat Mater in 1736 shortly before his death at the age of 26. He was principally known as a composer of operas and, in particular, comic operas. The piece was composed for soprano, alto, string orchestra and basso continuo.

Thomas Norris was at this time singing as a soprano. Norris was born in Wiltshire but had gained his musical education as a chorister a Salisbury Cathedral and later at Oxford University.

Thomas Linley with the support of his many talented children became the leading figure in Bath music. At this time, he was known primarily as a tenor, an organist, harpsichordist and teacher.

At 5s, the ticket price was roughly £20 at today's values.

Monday, 21 March 2016

A Bouree or Fleuret Step in the 1720s

English dancing master and choreographer Kellom Tomlinson (born c.1690, died after 1753) was the author of The art of dancing explained by reading and figures. Although completed in 1724, the cost of printing the thirty-five full-page plates precluded publication until 1735.


The Bouree is composed of three plain straight Steps or Walks, except the first, which begins in a Movement, and is to be performed in the same Method, as the Half Coupee, or Coupee with two Movements, that is to fay, must always fink, at the Beginning of the Step or Walk, and rife at, or gradually before the End of it; which is the Manner in which the first Step is usually taken, in the Performance of all Steps, except Springs, Bounds, Hops, or Chaffees, &c. wherefore, for the Future, I need not say any more of the Method of beginning these Sorts of Steps, in Dancing, otherwise than to make a Movement, without mentioning how the Sink and Rife are to be made, since they have been already explained.

A Bouree or Fleuret, as I have observed, consists only of three plain straight Steps; but a Movement is added to the first of them, the Rife of which Movement, as has been said, always strikes the Cadence or Time; and, if this Step is done to a Tune of three Notes in a Measure, the first Step answers to the first Note, the second Step to the fame Note, and the third Step to the last Note of the Measure, concluding together.

You are also to note, that tho' in the Bouree there are three distinct Walks or Steps, yet nevertheless, these three Steps are to be esteem'd but as one Step, in Regard of its being a composed Step; as will appear by the Half Coupee, which, tho' no more than a single Step, is, however, a Step, because it generally takes up a Measure, but more especially in Tunes of triple Time; and it is made by a smooth and easy Bending of the Knees, rising in a flow and gentle Motion from thence; which Rising, as I have said, is upon the first Note of the Measure, the Weight of the Body being supported by the Foot that made the Step, during the Counting of the second and third Notes of the Bar.

The graceful Posture of the Dancer's Standing adds not a little to the Beauty of this Step, who, 'till the Time be expired, is to wait or rest; by which it is evident, that the Half Coupee, tho' a single Step, is equal, in Value, to any compound Step whatsoever, whether of two, three, four, or more Steps in a Measure.

But to return, the Bouree-Step may be perform'd various Ways, as forwards, backwards, sideways, crossing before, the fame behind, before and behind, behind and before, &c (e), the Explanation of which, I think, may not be improper, in this Place; and therefore I shall proceed to shew the Method of their Performance, one after the other, in the Order above set down, except the Fleurets forwards and backwards; which being so intelligible of themselves, and having Occasion hereafter to speak of this Step, by way of Grace to the Minuet, instead of saying any thing farther of them here, I shall begin with the Bouree-Step crossing before, sideways; which is to be perform'd, as follows, either with the right or left Foot: For Instance, provided you begin with the Latter, the Weight must be on the right (f); and the left Foot, which is at Liberty, commences by making a Movement and Step, to the right Side of the Room, crossing before the Foot on which the Body rests†, the Face being to the Upper Part of the Room, and it receives the Weight. The second is the right Foot, which steps the fame Way; and the third and last, which is with the left, crosses before, as at first, only without a Movement∥. The Bouree crossing behind, sideways, differs from the Former in this, that whereas that was before, this is behind; that is to fay, the Weight being, as aforesaid, the left Foot, instead of making the Movement and first Step crossing before the right, it now is made crossing behind it; and the next Step, which is with the right Foot, moves the same Way, after which the third and last Step with the left Foot is drawn behind the right, and concludes. The Bouree before and behind is, when the first Movement and Step are made crossing before the Foot on which the Weight is, whether right or left, the second Step moving sideways, the fame Way, and the third drawn behind it, facing upwards, as before. The Bouree behind and before is done in the like Manner, only the first Step is not cross'd before but behind, the second stepping sideways, and the third drawn crossing before. The Bouree, which I call twice behind, is made as follows: Suppose, for Example, you make a Movement, stepping backwards with the right Foot, into the third Position inclos'd behind the left on which the Weight is, and releasing it; upon which it makes the second Step of the Bouree, in a plain Step backwards, receiving the Weight inclos'd in the third Position behind the right, which then performs the third Step of the Bouree, in a plain Step forwards.

There are many other Ways of performing this Step, which would be too tedious to be mention'd here; and, as they are not to my present Purpose, omitting them, I shall only observe, that this Step, continued several Measures, changes the Foot, every Step, as has been taken Notice of in the Half Coupee; but with this Difference, that whereas the Half Coupee changes the Weight, every single Step, as in Walking, the Bouree or Fleuret only changes it, at the End of every third Step.

Monday, 7 March 2016

Bath Theatre and Extortion

In "The New Bath Guide, or Useful Pocket Companion; Necessary For all Persons residing at, or resorting to, this ancient and opulent City." published in 1762 we learn that:

"There are likewise two Theatres here; one situated on Orchard Street, which was built by subscription in the year 1750, by twelve of the inhabitants; the other was built by the late Mr Simpson, under his long-room; the lower part of the latter is exactly the model of Drury-Lane Theatre, and the stage is much wider than that at Orchard Street, At present this house is shut up in consideration of a yearly sum paid to Mr Simpson by Mr Palmer, who is now the chief proprietor of the Theatre in Orchard Street; where they perform (during the season) four times each week viz. Mondays, Wednesday, Thursday, and Saturday."

Simpson had created the Theatre in the basement of his Assembly Rooms to exploit the opportunity created by the demolition of Bath's first theatre built in 1705 by George Trim, after whom Trim Street is named, which stood at the corner of what is now Parsonage Lane. This was demolished in 1738 to make way for the Mineral Water Hospital.

In 1747 John Hippisley a successful actor on the London stage but born in Somerset suggested that Bath players and playgoers need and deserved better facilities than were provided by Simpson and his rivals in Kingsmead Street.

His proposal for a "regular, commodious theatre" was well received by everyone except the proprietors of the theatre at Simpson's Rooms, The site for the new theatre in Orchard street was chosen by John Wood,

Hippisley's sudden death created a crisis which was only overcome by the intervention of John Palmer, who a wealthy brewer and chandler he was father to the John Palmer who would become famous for his invention of the Mail Coach system.

The new theatre opened on 27th October 1750.

The Interior of the Orchard Street Theatre
There followed a period of intense commercial rivalry. A play performed at one theatre on one night would be put on at the rival establishment on the following evening or even the same night. The manager of Simpson's Henry Brown complained that his carpenter and machinist had been got dead drunk and abducted to Orchard Street. Brown himself was lured to work at Orchard street 2 years after making this complaint.

Nearly six-year on neither the new theatre nor the theatre at Simpson's was doing much more than covering their cost and John Palmer offered Simpson £600 a year to stop hosting performances. The last performance as the Rooms took place in 1756 with a performance of Henry VIII in a programme which included a farce called Harlequin's Vagaries.

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Mlle Roland Bath Teacher of Dance - the Italian Connection

Nicholas Roland was the leading dancer at the Court of the Duke of Mantua. His eldest Daughter Catherine seems to have been born in Venice about 1714 or 15. The Duchy of Mantua had been annexed by Austria in 1708.

The Duke of Mantua,
attributed to Jacob Denys (1706)

His next and youngest daughter Ann may have been born in 1725. There also seems to have been a brother called Francis about whom little is known.

Catherine and her father seem to have first danced together in Lyon in 1729 or 1730 and Catherine made her solo debut at the Theatre Italien in Paris in 1732.

She left Paris in 1734 to dance with her father in London. By October of that year, she was dancing with the french dancer and choreographer Michael Poitier among others. Sometime around this time, Catherine and Poiter seem to have become lovers.

Poitier and Catherine had gained such a loyal following that their failure to appear as advertised caused major disturbances in theatres.

On the 18th November 1735, Catherine was joined on stage at Drury Lane by her sister Ann who had just arrived from Paris.

In 1736 the Grub Street Journal provide the following description of Mlle Roland's, probably Catherine's, style of dance.

"at the end of each dance, she is lifted by Poitier, that she may cut the higher, and represent to the whole house as immodest a sight as the most abandoned women in Drury Lane can shew. Her whole behavior is of a stamp with this; during the whole dance, her only endeavour is to shew above her knees as often as she can."

From 1736 to 1739 Catherine seems to have performed at Drury Lane while Ann was attached to the company at Lincolns Inn Fields. Both sisters seemed to have joined the company at Covent Garden and both partnered Poitier. Catherine seems to have left the company for the 1740 - 1741 season.

Catherine renewed her Drury Lane performance for the 1741 - 42 season before she and Poitier left England. Ann continued to perform as a singer, dancer in London throughout this time and may have performed in Ireland between 1743 and 1745.

Sometime around 1746 Ann married the violinist Francis Fleming and moved to Bath where he was earning his living playing for the company in the main public rooms.

In Bath, Anne began a new career as a dance teacher providing lessons to the pupils of local girls' schools at which classes she was supported by her new husband probably in the role of accompanist.

Together the couple initiated annual benefit concerts and balls at the assembly rooms - which included display pieces, for instance in 1747 Mrs Fleming is reported as having performed a French peasant dance. After a dozen or so active years as the principal dancing teacher in the city, Fleming's wife died from a lingering illness at the Hotwells in 1759.

She left three children, two of them 13-year-old Anna Teresa and the 10-year-old Kitty would go on to feature prominently in the expanding dance teaching industry in Bath.

Friday, 1 January 2016

Waltzing in 1816

An illustration of the attitudes and movements in German and French waltzing taken from "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 on ascendancy over every other Department of that Polite Branch of Education." By the dancing master, Thomas Wilson published in 1816.

Notice illustration number 7 with the lady's arms crossed behind her waist and the gentlemen's hands placed on the lady's waist on each side.

The Waltz had been recently introduced to respectable society in England by Dorothea Lieven the wife of the Russian Ambassador a leader of society, invitations to her house were the most sought after in London, and she was the first foreigner to be elected a patroness of Almack's, London's most exclusive social club.

Dorothea Lieven