plan of a Quadrille for sixteen persons

I came across a great looking 1820 how-to diagram for a portion of a dance called the “Star” Quadrille figure. It’s a poster-size color image with a high-res scan — 2438×3470 pixels — so this browser window can’t do it justice. But if you give it your whole desktop that should work nicely.


I discovered it via an entry at the dance history blog Capering & Kickery:

In his manual on quadrilles, early 19th-century (“Regency”) London dancing master Thomas Wilson wrote hopefully that his diagrams,

… together with the printed Directions appended, will enable any person, by marking the Figures on a floor, to perform them correctly without the aid of a Master.
    Thomas Wilson, The quadrille and cotillion panorama, 2nd ed., London, 1822

Quadrilles, the ancestors of the modern square dance, were popular in England from the 1810s onward, displacing the longways country dance from its former preeminence in the ballroom.  Wilson’s diagrams and directions are in fact quite helpful in deciphering many of the figures needed for the Regency-era quadrille, but he does have occasional failures, as in the figure “L’Etoile” or “The Star”.

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