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Mr. Punch's Russian Ballet

  • Object:

    Print

  • Place of origin:

    London (probably, published)

  • Date:

    1913 or 1914 (published)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Partridge, John Bernard RI (Sir), born 1861 - died 1945 (artist)
    Punch (publisher)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Engraving, coloured by hand, printed for the magazine

  • Credit Line:

    Cyril W Beaumont Bequest

  • Museum number:

    S.179-2008

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

This print issued by Punch's Almanack satirises political and cultural events of 1913 as dances by Diaghilev's Russian Ballet, then all the rage in London. It refers satirically to significant events of the year, depicting them as pas de deux, solos, pas de trois and a corp de ballet, the names of the dances based on real dances performed by the company. The artist Bernard Partridge was a staff member of Punch from February 1891 for over fifty years, but had also been a professional actor on the London stage from 1887, working under the stage name Bernard Gould.

Events referred to in the cartoon are Lloyd George's introduction of Health Insurance with a compulsory contribution stamp; plans for the annexing Libya by Victor Emmanuel II of Italy; Winston Churchill's provision of troops to France to help repel the Kaiser's invading forces; the part played by President William Howard Taft in the opening of the Panama Canal; the advances made into the origins of life by the British psychologist Sir Edward Schafer who was knighted in 1913; the parts played by the Irish Parliamentary Party leader John Redmond and Sir Edward Carson of the Irish Unionist Party in the amendment of 8 July 1913 in the exclusion of Northern Ireland from the Home Rule Bill, and Herbert Henry Asquith's opposition to the Suffragette movement demonstrated in his speech of 13 May 1913.

Physical description

Reproduction of an etched print printed in black, coloured in red and green wash, depicting seven spoof moments from dances inspired by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. A red wash line border frames the image of the various 'dances' featuring (top left) M. Lloydgeorgevitch and Mlle. Saireyannska dancing a duet from Le Spectre du Timbre; M. Victor Emmanuelkin dancing a solo 'Dance arabe' from Saharazade; M.M. Winstonkin and Wilhelmski dancing a duet from L'Eau Bleue; M. Taftoditch and Mlle. Panama dancing a duet from Bar Canal; M. Schafer dancing a solo from Dance Synthétique; M.M. Carsoniev & Ivan Redmondski & Mlle. Ulsterina dancing in Le Pavillon d'Erin, and M. Asquithoff and the Corps de Ballet dancing in Les Suffragistes with an angry female corps de ballet holding up a 'Votes for Women' banner. In cyrillic-inspired reversed-out lettering, white on green, below the image is the title MR PUNCH'S RUSSIAN BALLET.

Place of Origin

London (probably, published)

Date

1913 or 1914 (published)

Artist/maker

Partridge, John Bernard RI (Sir), born 1861 - died 1945 (artist)
Punch (publisher)

Materials and Techniques

Engraving, coloured by hand, printed for the magazine

Dimensions

Height: 28.5 cm, Width: 43.4 cm

Object history note

Historical significance: Of the three presidents whose periods in office span the construction period, the name of President Roosevelt is often the one most associated with the canal, and Woodrow Wilson was the president who presided over its opening. However, it may have been Howard Taft who gave the greatest personal impetus to the canal over the longest period. Taft visited Panama five times as Roosevelt's Secretary of War, and twice as President. He also hired John Stevens, and later recommended Goethals as his replacement. Taft became president in 1909, when canal construction was only at the halfway mark, and remained in office for most of the remainder of the work. However, Goethals later wrote 'The real builder of the Panama Canal was Theodore Roosevelt'.

Historical context note

This print refers satirically to seven political and significant events of the year 1913, encapsulating them as pas de deux, solos, pas de trois and a corp de ballet dance performed by Diaghilev's Ballets Russes. Events referred to are the introduction by David Lloyd George of Health Insurance with a compulsory 3d contribution stamp; the plans for the annexing of Libya by Victor Emmanuel II of Italy; Winston Churchill's provision of troops to France in 1913 to help repel forces deployed by Kaiser Wilhelm; the part played by President William Howard Taft in the opening of the Panama Canal on 17 November 1913; the advances made into the origins of life by the British pyschologist Sir Edward Schafer who was Knighted in 1913; the parts played by the Irish Parliamentary Party leader John Redmond and Sir Edward Carson of the Irish Unionist Party in the amendment of the 8 July 1913 in the exclusion of Northern Ireland from the Home Rule Bill, and Herbert Henry Asquith's active opposition to the Suffragette movement demonstrated in his speech of 13th May 1913.

Descriptive line

'Mr. Punch's Russian Ballet'. Satirical print issued by Punch's Almanack for 1913, portraying political and significant events of 1913 as dances in ballets performed by Diaghilev's 'Ballets Russes'. Print from a hand-coloured etching by Bernard Partridge (1861-1945).

Materials

Printing ink; Paper

Categories

Caricatures & Cartoons; Entertainment & Leisure; Printed pages & sheets

Collection

Theatre and Performance Collection

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