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Drawing

  • Place of origin:

    Great Britain (drawn)

  • Date:

    1870s (Drawn)

  • Artist/Maker:

    Rolfe, Margaret (artist)

  • Materials and Techniques:

    Pencil, pen and ink, watercolour and crayon on paper

  • Credit Line:

    Cyril W Beaumont Bequest

  • Museum number:

    S.105-1987

  • Gallery location:

    In Storage

Physical description

Far left a plump teacher, wearing a blue bustle, corrects a fair-haired girl, behind whom stands a 'twin'; walking away towards right, two dark-haired girls with fans; centre a dark-haired crying girl wearing a dress with pink sash and pink ribbon in her hair and holding a tambourine; next to her, a girl on point with left leg flexed behind right, her right hand to her mouth, as though whispering; at right, an old lady wearing a black dress and white cap, grips the chin of a fair-haired girl, standing with left arm down and right arm raised. Inscribed: "Madame Taglioni's dancing class, at 6 Connaught Square" and above each figure the conversation. Pencil, pen and ink, watercolour and crayon.

Place of Origin

Great Britain (drawn)

Date

1870s (Drawn)

Artist/maker

Rolfe, Margaret (artist)

Materials and Techniques

Pencil, pen and ink, watercolour and crayon on paper

Marks and inscriptions

"Madame Taglioni's dancing class, at 6 Connaught Square"
Textual information; Top centre; Handwriting; Pen and ink

Conversations
Textual information; Above and below each figure; Handwriting; Pen and ink

"Drawn from life by Margaret Amy Rolfe"
Signature; Lower left hand corner; Handwriting; Pen and ink

Dimensions

Height: 180 mm mount aperture, Width: 363 mm mount aperture

Object history note

From 1876 to 1880, Marie Taglioni was living at 6 Connaught Square, where she taught social dancing, and among her pupils was Margaret Rolfe, granddaughter of Taglioni's closest friend in London, Mrs Boggs Rolfe; fellow pupils included Princess May of Teck, the future Queen Mary, who appears in this drawing being corrected by Taglioni.
Margaret made many drawings of Taglioni, both in class and in private, and these she passed to the dance historian and bookseller Cyril Beaumont.
The drawing came to the Museum as part of the Cyril Beaumont Bequest.
A collection of Taglioni memorabilia was amassed by Margaret Rolfe, the granddaughter of Taglioni's closest friend in London, Mrs Boggs Rolfe; she attended Taglioni's dancing classes and received many gifts of Taglioni memorabilia, both from Taglioni herself and from her grandmother. These she passed to Cyril Beaumont, probably for the London Archives of the Dance (a number of the objects were referred to in "The London Archives of the Dance and some of its Treasures" by Cyril Beaumont, Ballet Annual, first issue, Adam & Charles Black, London, 1947, p110); the Archives never achieved an independent home and part of the collection, including the Taglioni memorabilia, was stored with Cyril Beaumont, where it became inextricably mixed with his own collection and came to the Museum as part of the Cyril Beaumont Bequest.

Historical significance: A rare image of the great Romantic ballerina, Marie Taglioni, in her later years. While Margaret Rolfe's work is amateur, it is a unique record of Taglioni's activities after she retired from the stage (usually summed up in the words 'she lost her fortune and was reduced to teaching social dancing in London') and provide insight into her character, teaching methods and dance classes in the second half of the 19th century.
The conversations recorded on the drawing, show that girls' behaviour and preoccupations have changed very little in the intervening century.

Descriptive line

"Madame Taglioni's dancing class, at 6 Connaught Square". Drawing by Margaret Rolfe. Pencil, pen and ink, watercolour and crayon.

Materials

Pencil; Pen and ink; Watercolour; Crayon; Paper

Techniques

Drawing (image-making)

Categories

Entertainment & Leisure; Dance; Drawings

Collection

Theatre and Performance Collection

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