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Print - Fanny Cerrito
  • Fanny Cerrito
    Bouvier, Jules, born 1800 - died 1867
  • Enlarge image

Fanny Cerrito

  • Object:

    Print

  • Place of origin:

    London (printed and published)

  • Date:

    13 July 1842 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Bouvier, Jules, born 1800 - died 1867 (artist)
    Thomas McLean & Co (publisher)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Lithograph coloured by hand

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Dame Marie Rambert

  • Museum number:

    E.4991-1968

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Alma was produced at Her Majesty's Theatre in 1842 with choreography by Jules Perrot and Cerrito. Alma is a statue brought to life by an evil genius; she has the power to make all men fall in love with her, but if she returns their passion, she will return to stone.
The print records the highlight of the ballet - the pas de fascination (Enchantment dance). The setting is a German town which vagabonds are forbidden. To get in, Alma dances, quietly at first, then, the beat of the tambourine following her movements, becomes more and more impassioned. As though mesmerized, the German girls join her in the frenzied dance.
The flower sprays are tributes thrown by the dancer's admirers. Fanny Cerrito first danced in London in 1840; her success was phenomenal - no other dancer of the time was so readily or warmly accepted by the London audience.

Physical description

A girl dances on a riverbank, against a medieval-style townscape with a bridge to the right. Her left foot is pointed and about to land after a jump, the right leg is crossed behind; her arms are raised above her head and in her left hand she holds a blue-edged tambourine, which she strikes with her right index finger. Her head is tilted and her severely dressed hair falls into long thin plaits with ribbons to the front and she wears a striped headband, knotted over her left ear. Her knee-length ballet dress has a fitted short-sleeved white bodice, the very low, wide V neck edged with dark blue outlined in yellow, extending to the waist with a yellow motif centre front; around the waist is a blue and yellow striped belt. The white skirt has a blue band towards the hem and is overlaid with a back and a front panel, striped alternately blue and white with, proper right of each blue stripe, a fine yellow and a fine black stripe. On the ground are flower sprays.
The print area is cut across the upper corners

Place of Origin

London (printed and published)

Date

13 July 1842 (published)

Artist/maker

Bouvier, Jules, born 1800 - died 1867 (artist)
Thomas McLean & Co (publisher)

Materials and Techniques

Lithograph coloured by hand

Dimensions

Height: 402 mm, Width: 278 mm at centre

Object history note

Fanny Cerrito first danced in London in 1840; her success was phenomenal - no other dancer of the time was so readily or warmly accepted by the London audience.
Alma was produced at Her Majesty’s Theatre in 1842 with choreography by Jules Perrot and Cerrito. Alma is a statue brought to life by an evil genius; she has the power to make all men fall in love with her, but if she returns their passion, she will return to stone.
The print records the highlight of the ballet – the pas de fascination (Enchantment dance). The setting is a German town which vagabonds are forbidden. To get in, Alma dances, quietly at first, then, the beat of the tambourine following her movements, becomes more and more impassioned, almost hypnotising the local townswomen, who join her in the frenzied dance.
The flower sprays are tributes thrown by the dancer’s admirers.
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 ballet Alma. Lithograph coloured by hand after a drawing by J Bouvier, 1842.

Production Note

Fanny Cerrito (facsimile signature).

Materials

Lithographic ink; Watercolour; Paper

Techniques

Lithography; Hand colouring

Subjects depicted

Dancer

Categories

Prints

Collection

Theatre and Performance Collection

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