Monday, June 19, 2017

Andrew Ducrow, the Great Equestrian of Astley's Amphitheatre

Monday, June 19, 2017
Loretta reports from London:

Say you're recovering from a migraine. Do you lie languishing upon your sofa, or, when your husband says he's going for a tour of Kensal Green Cemetery, do you swallow another pill and put on your walking shoes? Gentle readers will know what my decision was. I mean, if you're going to expire from a migraine, why not do it in a cemetery where Royal Dukes and Princesses and many famous and infamous persons are buried?

Actually, I had recovered by then and was able to give the tour my full attention. On another post I may talk about the cemetery itself, but today I want to focus on Andrew Ducrow's mausoleum.  First of all, Mr. Ducrow's wife and the theater he managed--Astley's Amphitheatre--play a role in my third Dressmakers book, Vixen in Velvet. Second, it appealed to my love of everything exuberantly over the top--which it is,  even by Regency/Victorian standards. The Duke of Portland has a plain, pink granite monument. The Duke of Cambridge has an elegant but simple mausoleum. Not Mr. Ducrow.

The epitaph his second wife, Louisa Woolford (who performs in my book) wrote is modest by comparison:

"Within this tomb, erected by Genius, for the reception of its own remains, are deposited those of Andrew Ducrow, many years lessee of the Royal Amphitheatre, London; whose death deprived the arts and sciences of an eminent professor and liberal patron, his family of an affectionate husband and father, and the world of an upright man.

"He was born in London, 10th October, 1793. and died 27th January, 1842; and, to commemorate such virtues, his afflicted widow has erected this tribute."

The London Dead blog post link given above has several images of the Ducrows in performance.There are more images here at the Victorian Web, with some explanations of the various funereal ornaments.  And here's a bit more, with a map.


B. Dixon said...

Graveyards are really a lesson and teacher for all of us. Everytime i visit or come across a graveyard i am reminded that one day death will come for me too. Sigh...

Two Nerdy History Girls. Design by Pocket