Monday, August 30th, 2010...5:20 pm

They could have danced all night

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[Thanks to Ward Project Music Cataloger Andrea Cawelti for contributing this post.]

Les Bals De Paris (1854) plates 6-7, GV1650.P3 B3 1854

Exploding the myth that 19th century balls were sedate affairs, a new acquisition in the John Milton and Ruth Neils Ward Collection shows 12 hand-colored lithographs of various balls, ca. 1854. As one can see at a glance, the waltzes and polkas of Paris were not for the faint of heart.

Les Bals De Paris (1860), plates 7-8; GV1650.P3 B3 1860x

Looking at another imprint in the series from the Rose Winter and Marian Hannah Winter Collection, this one dating from ca. 1860, ballroom dancing continued to be quite the spectacle. This series was drawn by (among others) noted French caricaturist Charles Vernier (1831-1887), a contemporary of Honoré Daumier.