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Mr. Jefferini as Clown

Print
ca. 1840 (made)
Artist/Maker
Place Of Origin

Mr. Jefferies, or Signor Jefferini as he was sometimes known, was a pantomime clown in the tradition of the great Joseph Grimaldi, both in appearance and performance traditions, and in January 1837 Grimaldi came to London's Sadler's Wells Theatre to see Jefferies as clown in the 1836 Christmas pantomime Fee-Fo-Fum!!, or Harlequin Fee-Fo-Fum!! in which Jefferini had a duet with Jim Crow. According to Richard Findlater's biography of Grimaldi, Grimaldi came to Sadler's Wells again that May, shortly before his death, to see Jefferini rehearse the part of Squire Bugle, Grimaldi's own favourite role, in the Whit pantomime Mother Goose.

Other pantomimes featuring Jefferini as clown included Harlequin and Peeping Tom of Coventry, or, Lady Godiva and the Witch of Warwick, Covent Garden, 26 December 1837, in which the critic of The Idler, 6 January 1838 tells us: 'Jefferini, as Clown, makes tolerably hideous faces'; in The Rose of Stepney, or Harlequin Old Father Thames, at the Pavilion Theatre Whitechapel, 26 December 1838; and as the elder stepsister Blowsabella in skirts in Harlequin and Cinderella ; or, the lithe Fairy and the large Glass Slipper at Sadler's Wells, 26 December 1841 in which the critic of The Tablet, 8 January 1842, called Jefferini: 'a remarkably good Clown' who sang: 'three comic songs with intense good humour to satisfy the roaring gods.'

Jefferini also appeared in the Royal Olympic Theatre's pantomime Harlequin Old Cocker, or, Arithmetic Hall and the Rule of Three, 26 December 1842; in December 1843 at the Olympic Theatre again in Harlequin Jack the Giant Killer, or, The Ogre of St. Michael's Mount, and in 1848 he opened on Boxing Night as the clown in One O'Clock, or Harlequin Hardy Knute, the Knight and the Wooden Demon at the Marylebone Theatre.

This watercolour is not dated but we can assume it was painted some time around 1840 when Jefferini was regularly performing in London pantomimes.


object details
Categories
Object Type
Materials and Techniques
Pencil and watercolour on paper
Brief Description
Mr. Jefferini as Clown. Full-length portrait of the pantomime clown also known as Signor Jefferini. Pencil and watercolour by H. Brown, ca.1840. Gabrielle Enthoven Collection.
Physical Description
Watercolour portrait of Jefferini in clown costume balancing on his left leg, holding his right leg in the air with his right hand
Dimensions
  • Height: 18cm
  • Width: 10.5cm
Credit line
Gabrielle Enthoven Collection



Summary
Mr. Jefferies, or Signor Jefferini as he was sometimes known, was a pantomime clown in the tradition of the great Joseph Grimaldi, both in appearance and performance traditions, and in January 1837 Grimaldi came to London's Sadler's Wells Theatre to see Jefferies as clown in the 1836 Christmas pantomime Fee-Fo-Fum!!, or Harlequin Fee-Fo-Fum!! in which Jefferini had a duet with Jim Crow. According to Richard Findlater's biography of Grimaldi, Grimaldi came to Sadler's Wells again that May, shortly before his death, to see Jefferini rehearse the part of Squire Bugle, Grimaldi's own favourite role, in the Whit pantomime Mother Goose.



Other pantomimes featuring Jefferini as clown included Harlequin and Peeping Tom of Coventry, or, Lady Godiva and the Witch of Warwick, Covent Garden, 26 December 1837, in which the critic of The Idler, 6 January 1838 tells us: 'Jefferini, as Clown, makes tolerably hideous faces'; in The Rose of Stepney, or Harlequin Old Father Thames, at the Pavilion Theatre Whitechapel, 26 December 1838; and as the elder stepsister Blowsabella in skirts in Harlequin and Cinderella ; or, the lithe Fairy and the large Glass Slipper at Sadler's Wells, 26 December 1841 in which the critic of The Tablet, 8 January 1842, called Jefferini: 'a remarkably good Clown' who sang: 'three comic songs with intense good humour to satisfy the roaring gods.'



Jefferini also appeared in the Royal Olympic Theatre's pantomime Harlequin Old Cocker, or, Arithmetic Hall and the Rule of Three, 26 December 1842; in December 1843 at the Olympic Theatre again in Harlequin Jack the Giant Killer, or, The Ogre of St. Michael's Mount, and in 1848 he opened on Boxing Night as the clown in One O'Clock, or Harlequin Hardy Knute, the Knight and the Wooden Demon at the Marylebone Theatre.



This watercolour is not dated but we can assume it was painted some time around 1840 when Jefferini was regularly performing in London pantomimes.
Associated Object
S.389-2013 (Object)
Collection
Accession Number
S.3645-2013

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record createdSeptember 19, 2013
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