Wednesday, 10 December 2014

The Nude Dance

Figures as suggested in Astor’s Twenty four Country Dances for the Year 1803 with proper Tunes and Directions to each Dance, etc. by George Astor

1st Cu: set to the 2d Lady & not turn the same with 2d Gent lead down the middle up again & cast off

The rather surprising title is probably a joking reference to contemporary fashions. Modern developments in spinning techniques had made fine woven cotton and muslin fabrics widely and cheaply available. With these fine fabrics, ball gowns could be virtually transparent and many fashionable ladies abandoned modesty for fashion. At the end of 1799, The Time ridiculed such fashion trends.

'If the present fashion for nudity continues its career, the Milliners must give way to the carvers, and the most elegant fig-leaves will be all the mode.'

George Astor was a woodwind instrument maker born in Germany who immigrated to London around 1778 and set up in business as an instrument maker, piano dealer, and music seller. He Traded as George Astor & Co initially at Holywell Street in 1779 as a woodwind instrument maker moving to 26 Wych Street and from 1796 at 79 Cornhill.  Astor referred to himself in the 1790’s as “manufacturer of grand and small piano fortes” but he was not a maker but sold instruments made by John Geib and others under his own name. He also sold musical instruments to the military.  In 1801 the partners with George Astor were George Horwood and Benjamin Banks. George died in 1813,  

An Astor and Horwood Clarinet 

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