Thursday, 12 February 2009

La Barbarina

I was looking at the wonderful 18th-century blog and admiring the post on Antoine Pesne when I recognised an old friend: Barbara Campanini, painted here by Pesne in 1745 (left). I say old friend because I'd come across her briefly in Ian McIntyre's excellent biography of David Garrick; she appeared on the same bill as David Garrick and Peg Woffington at Dublin's Smock Alley theatre in 1742. Famed for her tambourine dance, with an extraordinary knack for quick turns and jumps, Prussia's Frederick the Great admired her 'boyish legs' and her skill with the entrechat quatre (where the legs cross four times at speed) was highlighted by her adoption of a slightly shorter skirt - as seen in this picture.

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