The Rudiments of Genteel Behaviour
Here reprinted in facsimile, this extremely rare text of 1737, by the French dancer and dancing master Francois Nivellon, is remarkably direct, precise and informative. Exactly how you should doff your hat and “retire gracefully from a room” and execute a curtsey are explained both in theory and practice, and in both text and engraving. The book provides an invaluable insight into eighteenth-century manners.
This ‘courtesy book’ is fascinating for art historians and social historians. For art historians it provides a precious key to the interpretation of gesture and posture in Rococo painting. Museum curators will be able to train resting actors to do historical enactments properly. All students of the Golden Age of Elegance will find many hidden niceties revealed in this hitherto almost unobtainable and almost inaccessible book.
By François Nivelon
Notes by Hugh Belsey and Paul Holberton
72 pages, paperback
279 x 115 mm, 12 original engravings, 10 b/w
ISBN: 978 1 903470 10 7
About the author
Hugh Belsey was formerly curator of Gainsborough’s House, Sudbury, which recently acquired one of the eight or nine copies known.