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Core Record

Title The Waltz
Collection Victoria and Albert Museum
Artist E F Burney (1760 - 1848)
Date c. 1815
Description The dance known as the waltz was first introduced in London in 1812 and Edward Francis Burney was amongst many artists and commentators who mocked or deplored the speed and physical contact it encouraged. As a sign of the disarray caused by the vigorous dance, a pair of pockets has fallen, spilling their contents on the floor in the centre foreground. This comic painting is filled with written puns and mocking notes scattered by the artist in every available space as well as the assembly room rules intended but obviously failing to govern the behaviour of the dancers. In keeping with this way of animating the scene, the fallen contents of the pockets are labelled. ‘Pepper-mint Drops' and tiny boxes labelled ‘Orris', ‘Lip Salve' and ‘Rouge'. Under the right pocket is a sheet marked ‘Verses addressed to Miss Trinket Wrinkle. Drink to me only with thine eyes.' In the left foreground, a young girl stands weeping, her pocket revealed as her ripped skirt is held by a seated and angry older woman. A folded paper marked ‘Miss Doll Bumple' protrudes from this pocket. Under the older woman's foot a song sheet ends with the line ‘Fie fie I'm ashamed of a Girl of your age.' These pockets are shown as bound and made of a striped or corded white material that suits the style of neoclassical dress. Two of them have a heart shape stitched at the lower end of the opening such as can be seen in surviving white pockets from Wales. In this painting, the pockets are shown as part of up-to-the-minute fashionable dress and a means of carrying the aids to beauty considered by some as necessary for public outings.
Select these links for further information about the contents of pockets and marking
Museum Number, Transparency P.129-1931, CT8789
Subject Contents/Using and Losing, Marking/Using and Losing
Measurements 47.5cm (18 11/16") x 68.6cm (27")
Rights Owner ©V&A Images/ Victoria and Albert Museum
Rights Status The information within and all images that appear may be used for educational purposes only. They may not be copied, altered or amended for any other purpose, without prior permission of the copyright holder(s).



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