(London: Constable & Co., 1925). 267 x 197 mm. (10 1/2 x 7 3/4"). xx, 344 pp. FIRST EDITION.
Attractive modern orange half morocco over marbled boards, raised bands flanked by black double rules. Color frontispiece of Joseph Grimaldi with tissue guard, six full-page illustrations, and 54 monochrome plates. Toole-Stott I, 220. Two leaves at beginning of text with three-inch tears from head edge into text (no loss), one plate with lower corner torn off (not affecting image), occasional thumbing or minor creases, otherwise a fine copy, clean and fresh, in an as-new binding.
This is a significant history of clowns and the art of pantomime, from ancient Greece to the early 20th century. Disher recounts the role of the clown in Greek theater and the Roman festival of Saturnalia; the spread of the Harlequin character through the pantomimes of Europe; and the influence of the first "modern" clown, Joseph Grimaldi (1778-1837), who was admired by Byron and Hazlitt and who had his memoirs edited by Dickens. There are also chapters on music halls, burlesque, and the Swiss clown Grock (1880-1959), once the world's highest paid entertainer. Circus bibliographer Raymond Toole-Stott calls this "a fine, authoritative and exhaustive work on this subject, beautifully produced and magnificently illustrated." Our copy has the added attraction of an unworn and very pretty binding. (ST12177-3)
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