An Election-Inspired Piece for ‘Polite’ Assemblies
♫ Listen to it here ♫
As well as accompanying the potentially raucous election scenes of streets and inns, the music of elections was also an aspect of ‘polite’ assemblies.

Issued in December 1790 by Edward Sudlow, fan manufacturer in the Strand, this hand fan, for use in the ballroom as an accessory and assistance to dancing, is made of folded paper printed with the titles, music, and moves for ‘Fourteen New Country Dances for 1791’ which, it claims, were performed at ‘Court, Bath and All Public Assemblys’, together with an illustration portraying young country dancers.

The fan includes the music and dance instructions for ‘Westminster Election’, a dance capitalizing on interest in the recent Westminster election of 1790. The accompanying audio and video files recreate the music and dance moves for this elegant election-inspired piece, which provides a meeting point for print, visual representation, material culture, music, and dance.

‘Westminster Election’, from fan printed with Fourteen New Country Dances for 1791, with their Proper Figures as Perform’d at Court, Bath and All Public Assemblys (London, 1790), Copyright Manchester Art Gallery, Accession Number 1922.1060