After the Napoleonic Wars, a Deluge of Quadrilles

Curious about the quadrilles that David and Talitha have been working on, we decided to see what exactly Nathaniel Gow had been up to.  His first set of Favorite French Quadrilles looked interesting, so maybe there were more to discover …

More? There were dozens of collections compiled after 1815, and not just by Nathaniel Gow!  (Look in, if you’ve got a few minutes to spare.)

The end of the Napoleonic Wars in 1815, after the Battle of Waterloo on18th June, led to a surge of enthusiasm for French dances in Britain.  In London, S. Chappell, James Paine and Edward Payne seem to have kicked off the trend, closely followed by John Gow.  John published six ‘favorite’ sets of quadrilles, ca.1818-23.  They all contained ‘Scotch airs’, as did his ‘First set of favorite Scotch quadrilles’ (1823), and two sets of ‘Caledonian quadrilles’ (published in London by Leoni Lee ca 1844).

John’s brother Nathaniel simultaneously published quadrilles in Edinburgh from 1817.starting with two different ‘First sets’ for assemblies on 20th January and 11th March 1817, and continuing with various similar collections until ca.1828.

This tells us that John and Nathaniel were keen to seize an opportunity, and kept abreast of trends in social dancing.  There’s probably a bigger story to tell here, but this will do for a start!  (Incidentally, Karen says Copac is an excellent place to derive material for book history stories.  All that data, just waiting to be interpreted imaginatively… ).