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Harry Beard Collection

Sheet Music
ca.mid nineteenth century (published)
Artist/Maker
Place of origin

Sheet music for The Dandy Coloured Coon written by Richard Morton and composed by George Le Brunn.

A central illustration shows the singer Eugene Stratton in checked trousers, black tailcoat and diamond patterned waistcoat. He wears a tall top hat, bow tie, white gloves and carries a cane. Two further illustrations appear in circles on the page, one of which features an enthroned Queen Victoria.

As the lyrics of the song and the illustrations on this music sheet demonstrate this sheet music dates from an era in which 'Blackface Minstrelsy' was considered a fashionable and acceptable form of theatrical costume. This style of theatrical makeup originated in the United States around 1830 and was based on racist stereotypes of African Americans. It was most commonly used in the minstrel performance tradition. White performers (and sometimes black) used burnt cork, greasepaint or shoe polish to blacken their skin and exaggerate their features. The look was completed with ‘woolly’ wigs, gloves, tailcoats and/or ragged clothes. Blackface was a performance tradition in American theatre for over 100 years and was also popular overseas. Stereotypes embodied in the stock characters of blackface minstrelsy played a significant role in cementing and proliferating racist attitudes.

Object details

Category
Object type
TitleHarry Beard Collection (named collection)
Materials and techniques
Chromolithograph, intermediate pages composed of printed text
Brief description
Sheet music for The Dandy Coloured Coon, published by Francis, Day & Hunter, Harry Beard Collection.
Physical description
A central illustration shows a male performer in checked trousers, black tailcoat and diamond patterned waistcoat. He wears a tall top hat, bow tie, white gloves and carries a cane. Two further illustrations appear in circles on the page, one of which features an enthroned Queen Victoria.
Dimensions
  • Height: 33.5cm
  • Width: 24.3cm
Object history
NB The term "coon" refers to a demeaning stereotype born out of plantation slavery and applied to African Americans. The term is repeated here in its original historical context.
Subject depicted
Summary
Sheet music for The Dandy Coloured Coon written by Richard Morton and composed by George Le Brunn.

A central illustration shows the singer Eugene Stratton in checked trousers, black tailcoat and diamond patterned waistcoat. He wears a tall top hat, bow tie, white gloves and carries a cane. Two further illustrations appear in circles on the page, one of which features an enthroned Queen Victoria.

As the lyrics of the song and the illustrations on this music sheet demonstrate this sheet music dates from an era in which 'Blackface Minstrelsy' was considered a fashionable and acceptable form of theatrical costume. This style of theatrical makeup originated in the United States around 1830 and was based on racist stereotypes of African Americans. It was most commonly used in the minstrel performance tradition. White performers (and sometimes black) used burnt cork, greasepaint or shoe polish to blacken their skin and exaggerate their features. The look was completed with ‘woolly’ wigs, gloves, tailcoats and/or ragged clothes. Blackface was a performance tradition in American theatre for over 100 years and was also popular overseas. Stereotypes embodied in the stock characters of blackface minstrelsy played a significant role in cementing and proliferating racist attitudes.
Associated object
S.245-1989 (Duplicate)
Other number
F39-3 - H Beard Collection Numbering
Collection
Accession number
S.177-1989

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Record createdMarch 19, 2010
Record URL
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