A selection of elegant & fashionable country dances, reels, waltzes &c. [music] : for the ensuing season 1808, including those much admired Neapolitan & Maltese pandean airs, arranged for the pianoforte or harp, alto flute or patent flageolet : with an accompt. for the piano forte or harp by Augs. Voigt. 1
The National Library holds a bound album, formerly the property of Captain Daniel Woodriff, whose interest in the colony began in 1792.
The album includes two volumes of Wheatstone’s Elegant and Fashionable Dances, and a varied collection of music for violins, flutes, pianos, French horns, flageolets, bag-pipes, clarinets, fifes and bugle horns – an invaluable guide to music and dance in the period between 1800 and 1810.
The first volume is not dated, but is extremely similar to Volume 2 which was published in the autumn of 1807 to enable stylish dancers to prepare for the ensuing season of 1808. For the upper classes, the fashionable London Season was the social high period of the year, with a continuous round of balls, assemblies and parties where the latest dances were seen. From late winter, through spring and into early summer was the season for the Quality to be in town.
The majority of dances are extremely simple and feature standard movements popular at the time: hands across and back again, down the middle and back, rights and lefts, allemande, pousette. Several dances, for example: Lock Errock side, and Lady Mary Douglas’ Reel are slightly more complex. At least three of the dances come from the fashionable plays, The Forty Thieves and Tekeli, both of which were performed in the colony.
A large number of the dances (not necessarily the same versions) were included in other manuals 2 readily available at the time, and danced throughout the British Empire.
|Volume 1 [undated]||Volume 2 for the ensuing season 1808|
Wheatstone’s Occasional Repertory of Dances, Waltzes, Quadrille, c.1820. The Mitchell Library, in Sydney. [Many thanks to Amelia Powys for finding this].
J. Power’s Select collection of dances, waltzes, quadrilles, for 1820. Composed by Augustus Voigt. The University of Melbourne Library.
Captain Daniel Woodriff.
Captain Woodriff first came to the colony in 1792 on board Kitty, transporting supplies and convicts, and reporting on the need for a naval base in Port Jackson.
In 1803, HMS Calcutta, captained by Woodriff, was commissioned for the purpose of establishing a new colony at Port Phillip Bay. Lieutenant Governor David Collins sailed in the Calcutta, together with the Reverend Robert Knopwood, medical officer William J’Anson, fifty-two marines, 120 convicts (including the violin player, William Thomas, an Afro-American), and the wives of some prisoners and marines. At least one entertainment was held while the ship was anchored at the Bay and all the officers on board were very merry. 4
On arriving in Sydney Woodriff played an important role in quelling the rebellion of Irish convicts on 4 March,1804. By turning the ship’s guns to the shore, he was able to aid the soldiers and prevent a revolt in Sydney, which was planned to coincide with the uprising at Vinegar Hill. Over one hundred and forty of his ship’s complement eagerly answered the governor’s call for assistance, abandoning their nautical posts temporarily to take up arms on shore.
Woodriff was also able to provide sanctuary to Elizabeth Macarthur as she fled the troubles in Parramatta and the planned attack on her home. 5 For his aid in subduing the uprising, Woodriff was rewarded by Governor King with a grant of 1,000 acres on the banks of the Nepean River at Penrith. Lieutenant Colonel Johnson presented the captain with the gift of a snuff box made of animal horn and beautifully engraved silver, now held in the State Library of New South Wales.
During the first few months of 1804, three balls were held in Sydney with Captain Woodriff and his officers, (including his two sons James and Robert) in attendance. One was apparently held on board HMS Calcutta, the largest ship to have visited the colony 7. It was the custom to hold splendid balls whilst ships were in harbour, as the decks provided excellent dance floors (Calcutta’s was built of Indian teak). The ball given for a company of 59 persons to celebrate Her Majesty’s birthday was reported in The Sydney Gazette of 22 January; it lasted till a late hour; and the most lively vivacity prevailed throughout the Evening. 8
Significantly, the account mentions the inhabitants, particularly the children attended numerously as spectators of the dancing. This was a means for the less privileged members of society to see and copy the fashionable tunes and dances. Although the balls held in Sydney predated the dances in the Wheatstone collections, the types of dances would have been quite similar.
Captain Woodriff left the colony in 1804 and never returned, but his son Daniel with his wife Jane and daughter Agnes arrived in 1851, bringing the two collections of dances with them. They settled on the land grant on the banks of the Nepean River at Penrith and became the most influential family in the area, building the two-storey mansion ‘Combewood’ 9, which is still owned by his descendants.
Upon departing Sydney Cove, Midshipman Nicholas Pateshall ventured the following sentiment:
In justice to the society of this infant Colony I must say I never left a place with greater reluctance or ever experienced more hospitality: the Gentlemen found amusements for us by day and the Ladies never failed to make themselves agreeable in the evenings. 11
1Voigt, August http://trove.nla.gov.au/work/20694085
Wheatstone’s selection of elegant & fashionable country dances, reels, waltzes &c. for the ensuing season, including much admired Neapolitan & Maltese pandean airs, arranged for the pianoforte or harp, alto flute or patent flageolet : with an accompt. for the piano forte or harp / by Augs. Voigt. [music] London C. Wheatstone 1808
Part of the collection: Papers of the Woodriff family
2For example, Thomas Wilson’s Companion to the Ball Room. 1816 includes Caro dolce, Andrew Carey, Loch Errock side (Scotch), Lady Montgomery’s Reel (Scotch), Lady Mary Douglas, Miss Bentick’s Fancy, Paddy O’ Rafferty, and Harlequin’s Hornpipe.
3Portrait of Captain Daniel James Woodriff. c. 1805. Courtesy of National Library of Australia. nla.pic-an2284365-v
4Comment from Rev. Knopwood’s Diary quoted in Pateshall, Nicholas. A short Account of a Voyage Round the Globe in H.M.S. Calcutta 1803-1804. Edited with an introduction by Marjorie Tipping. Queensberry Hill Press, 1980
5 Silver, Lynette Ramsay , The Battle of Vinegar Hill. Australia’s Irish Rebellion 1804. The Watermark Press, Sydney 2002.
6Snuffbox of Daniel James Woodriff.The lid of the snuffbox features a silver disc engraved with a coat of arms featuring a winged hourglass below the motto ‘In Time’. Inscribed around this is ‘The gift of Captn. Woodriff. R.N. Jan. 13. 1804’. Presumably belonged to Lt. Col. George Johnston.
Mitchell Library, State Library of NSW – Call no R 340.
7Pateshall, Nicholas. A Short Account of a Voyage Round the Globe in H.M.S. Calcutta 1803-1804. Edited with an introduction by Marjorie Tipping. Queensberry Hill Press, 1980
8 THE ANNIVERSARY OF HER MAJESTY’S BIRTH. (1804, January 22). The Sydney Gazette and New South Wales Advertiser (NSW : 1803 – 1842), p. 3. Retrieved August 21, 2012, from http://nla.gov.au/nla.news-article625994
9Combewood – historic house, Penrith
10Three oil paintings of HMS Calcutta are held in the National Library of Australia.
HMS Calcutta of 52 guns . Whitcombe, Thomas, 1763 – 1824
Courtesy of National Library of Australia. nla.pic-an2287695-v
11 Pateshall, Nicholas. A Short Account of a Voyage Round the Globe in H.M.S. Calcutta 1803-1804. Edited with an introduction by Marjorie Tipping. Queensberry Hill Press, 1980
Australian Dictionary of Biography
Tilghman, Douglas Campbell, Woodriff, Daniel (1756–1842), Australian Dictionary of Biography, National Centre of Biography, Australian National University, http://adb.anu.edu.au/biography/woodriff-daniel-2813/text4027, accessed 19 August 2012.
Penrith City Local History.
History conferences: The Woodriff Estate
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