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Drawing

Drawing

  • Date:

    1840s (made)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Bouvier, Jules, born 1800 - died 1867 (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Watercolour

  • Credit Line:

    Bequeathed by Lady Mary Evans

  • Museum number:

    S.2612-1986

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

The Polka was introduced to London in April 1844 by Jules Perrot and Carlotta Grisi and created an immediate sensation. A month later, Cerrito and St Leon, cashing in on public interest, introduced 'the Redowa, or Original Polka of Hungary' into the ballet La Vivandère. Cerrito and Saint-Léon used the dance as an expression of various moods, he affecting disinterested awkwardness and she a coquettish playfulness, teasing each other in and out of temper 'during a pretty sort of stamping movement'. The drawing shows the characteristic move of the Redowa, where the couple danced the back to back to a waltz rhythm.

Physical description

To the left is a crenellated wall and to the right Italianate buildings; beyond is a mountain against a blue sky. In the foreground stand a man and woman, back to back with the woman in front facing the viewer. His head is turned in profile to his left and his left shoulder and bent arm are visible; he wears a white shirt and sleeveless red waistcoat with blue trims on the seams and has a small moustache and goatee beard. On his feet he wears blue, buttoned fitted boots. The woman stands on point on her left foot, her right foot visible behind the left knee. Her hands are on her hips and her head is turned to her right. Her hair is pulled back into a coiled plait from which flutter blue and red ribbons. Her very low cut blue bodice continues into narrow straps on the upper arms and fastens down the front with tiny buttons; the bodice sides are black with a red stripe dividing it from the blue front. Over the blue bell-shaped, knee-length skirt, is a red overskirt, bunched up over the hips and held at the sides by blue tapes.

Date

1840s (made)

Artist/maker

Bouvier, Jules, born 1800 - died 1867 (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Watercolour

Object history note

The Polka was introduced to London in April 1844 by Jules Perrot and Carlotta Grisi and created an immediate sensation. A month later, Cerrito and St Leon, cashing in on public interest, introduced 'the Redowa, or Original Polka of Hungary' into the ballet La Vivandère. Cerrito and Saint-Léon used the dance as an expression of various moods, he affecting disinterested awkwardness and she a coquettish playfulness, teasing each other in and out of temper 'during a pretty sort of stamping movement'. The drawing shows the characteristic move of the Redowa, where the couple danced the back to back to a waltz rhythm.
A matching print is attributed to J Bouvier, and it this is possibly the preliminary drawing.

Historical significance: If this is the preliminary drawing for the published print, it is a rare example of such a drawing surviving. The fluidity and quality indicates that it is an original drawing and not a copy.

Descriptive line

Fanny Cerrito and St Leon dancing the Redowa Polka. Watercolour probably by J Bouvier

Materials

Watercolour; Paper

Techniques

Watercolour drawing

Categories

Prints; Entertainment & Leisure

Collection

Theatre and Performance Collection

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