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Print - Fanny Cerrito La Lituana

Fanny Cerrito La Lituana

  • Object:

    Print

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain, UK (possibly, printed)

  • Date:

    1840 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Bouvier, Jules (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Lithograph coloured by hand

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Dame Marie Rambert

  • Museum number:

    E.4988-1968

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

  • Download image

Fanny Cerrito was one of the most popular ballerinas of the 1840s, especially in London. The solo dance La Lituana was part of her programme when she made her London debut on 2 May 1840. Her fur-trimmed jacket suggests Polish dress, so La Lituana may have been a mazurka, the Polish national dance based on the proud carriage of the body, stamping of the feet and clicking of the heels, danced in 3 / 4 time with the strong accent on the second beat of the bar.
National dances and settings were popular in the 1840s as audiences became increasingly aware of 'abroad' and exotic locations. Scotland, Spain, Hungary, Poland and the Balkans were all popular settings and some ballets were set as far afield as India, giving the opportunity for balleticized versions of national dances, like the Cachucha, mazurka, polka, polonaise, tarentella or Cracovienne.

Physical description

In the background is a colonnade beyond which are trees and, to the left, a mosque dome with minarets. The dancer is jumping onto her right pointed foot, her left leg raised and stretched behind; her body faces the viewer, her head slightly inclined to her left; her right arm is at shoulder height and bent upwards; her left hand is on her hip. She wears a red cap edged with white and trimmed with a feather on her ringletted hair. Her blue off-the-shoulder dress is edged neck, down the centre front and around the hem with a tinted band, edged with elaborate scrolls and flowers. Over the dress she wears a short-sleeved, wide-necked, fur-trimmed grey coat, which fastens at the waist; The body of the coat is decorated around the edges with a pattern of flowers and foliage. On her hands are white gloves with a wrist ruff and on her feet are red heelless laced ankle boots. On the ground are flower sprays.

Place of Origin

Great Britain, UK (possibly, printed)

Date

1840 (published)

Artist/maker

Bouvier, Jules (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Lithograph coloured by hand

Dimensions

Height: 408 mm, Width: 278 mm

Object history note

La Lituana was a solo dance in the style of Polish national dance, which was performed by Fanny Cerrito during her debut London season at Her Majesty's Theatre in 1840.
The print is part of the collection of dance prints amassed by Marie Rambert and her husband, Ashley Dukes in the first half of the 20th century. Eventually numbering 145 items, some of which had belonged to the ballerina Anna Pavlova, it was one of the first and most important specialist collections in private hands.
Rambert bought the first print as a wedding present but could not bear to give it away. As the collection grew, it was displayed in the bar of the Mercury Theatre, the headquarters of Ballet Rambert, but in 1968, Rambert gave the collection to the Victoria and Albert Museum; seven duplicates were returned to Rambert, but these are catalogued in Ivor Guest's A Gallery of Romantic Ballet, which was published before the collection came to the V&A. Although often referred to as a collection of Romantic Ballet prints, there are also important engravings of 17th and 18th century performers, as well as lithographs from the later 19th century, by which time the great days of the ballet in London and Paris were over.

Historical significance: The large souvenir prints of the Romantic ballet, issued in the 1830s and 1840s, are among the most evocative images of dance in the 19th century. Lithography, with its soft quality, enhanced by the delicate yet rich hand-colouring, was ideally suited to the subject - the ballerinas who dominated ballet in the mid-century and the romanticised settings in which they performed; style and subject were perfectly matched. The lithographs produced in London are notable for capturing the personality and style of individual performers in a theatrical setting. They are a fitting tribute to one of ballet's richest periods.
In the days before photography, such lithographs were expensive souvenirs, bought by the individual dancer's admirers.

Descriptive line

Fanny Cerrito in the pas, La Lituana. Lithograph coloured by hand after a drawing by J Bouvier, 1840.

Exhibition History

Dame Marie Rambert collection of ballet prints (Victoria and Albert Museum 07/03/1968-07/03/1968)

Production Note

Drawing by J Bouvier

Materials

Paper; Watercolour; Card; Lithographic ink

Techniques

Lithography; Hand-colouring

Subjects depicted

Dancer

Categories

Prints

Collection code

T&P

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Qr_O103187
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