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Print - Ballet Graces / No 3.

Ballet Graces / No 3.

  • Object:

    Print

  • Place of origin:

    London (published)

  • Date:

    mid 19th century (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    J. Follit (publisher)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Lithograph with traces of colour wash

  • Credit Line:

    Given by Dame Marie Rambert

  • Museum number:

    E.5070-1968

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This print is one of a series of ballet dancers, published in the mid 19th century. The subjects are not named dancers, nor probably even drawn from life - they are simply 'ballet dancers'. The image of the dancer crystallised in the 1840s, creating an image that would transcend time and fashion - sleeked-down hair, pointed, low-necked bodice, or a laced bodice over a small blouse, and knee or calf-length bell-shaped skirt formed of tiers of tarlatan, with a diaphanous top layer. So strong was the image that, even today, people who have never see a ballet would recognize these prints as 'ballet dancers.'

Physical description

A dancer stands on a cloud with crescent moon behind. She is facing the viewer, with her left arm bent across her body and her right holding a long wand. Her head is tilted to her left and she looks back at the viewer. Her ringletted hair is held by a band tinted palest pink. Her off-the-shoulder bodice is seamed over the midriff and has loose ruched bands over the upper arms. Around the waist is a belt with a pointed centre front. The diaphanous skirt falls to below the knee and her feet are bound with ribbon giving the effect of ballet shoes. The print is cut across the corners.

Place of Origin

London (published)

Date

mid 19th century (made)

Artist/maker

J. Follit (publisher)

Materials and Techniques

Lithograph with traces of colour wash

Dimensions

Height: 330 mm, Width: 249 mm

Object history note

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.

Descriptive line

Ballet Graces, No. 3. Lithograph with traces of colour wash, mid 19th century.

Materials

Lithographic ink; Wash; Paper

Techniques

Lithography; Hand colouring

Subjects depicted

Ballet dancer

Categories

Prints; Entertainment & Leisure

Collection

Theatre and Performance Collection

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