“PROGRESS IN THE DANCE MEANS PROGRESS IN CIVILISATION”: ILLUSTRATED LIMITED LARGE-PAPER FIRST EDITION OF THE BADMINTON LIBRARY’S VOLUME ON DANCE, BY LILLY GROVE
GROVE, Lilly, et al. Dancing. London: Longmans, Green, 1895. Large octavo, original three-quarter navy morocco gilt rebacked with original spine laid down, top edges gilt, uncut. $750.
Limited large paper first edition, number 120 of only 250 copies, of this generously illustrated guide to the long history and delightful variety of dance, principally authored by noted education advocate Lilly Grove.
Henry Somerset, eighth Duke of Beaufort, conceived of the "Badminton Library" (named after his principal country house, not the game) as a comprehensive series of instructional guidebooks, presenting history, rules and strategic hints for pastimes popular among Victorian England's aristocracy. Each chapter boasts expert commentary, accompanied by copious pictures and drawings. Published between 1885 and 1920, "the books provide a rich source of information on the growth and development of sport during the late 19th century in Britain, and are highly sought after by collectors" (Nauright & Parrish, Sports Around the World, 33). From ancient Egyptian dances honoring the dead to formal balls; from African tribal dance to French ballet; from sword dances and Scottish reels to minuets and tarantellas—this generously illustrated volume, boasting 38 full-page plates and numerous in-text illustrations and examples of music, revels in the diversity of movement to music throughout history and across the globe: "All doors have opened to it—the gates of the temples, the castles of kings, the halls of learned lawyers, the cabin of the peasant… Everywhere it moves to harmony and, in spite of oppression, restriction and abuse, it greets us even in commonplace today with a smile." Lilly Grove, the book's principal authors, met and eventually married James Frazer, author of The Golden Bough, while researching "dance among the primitives." "She became an early advocate of the aural-oral method of teaching modern languages and pioneered the use of the phonograph in education. She also wrote many stories and playlets in French for classroom use… [as well as] Leaves from the Golden Bough (1924), a collection of tales culled from her husband's immense work and retold for children" (DNB). Front boards gilt-stamped with Beaufort coat of arms.
Scattered light foxing. Light expert restoration to handsome binding.