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Angelo's Infantry Sword Exercise; Established by the Prince Regent's Command
By Authority, W. Clowes, 1816. The Figures by I. [J.] A. Atkinson, Engraved by I. Robinson, with hand-colour. Large broadside, 31" x 21". The Figures by I. [J.] A. Atkinson, Engraved by I. Robinson, with hand-colour. Large broadside, 31" x 21" Highly attractive instructional single-sheet. Along the top are a series of figures showing the "Preparatory Movements" or postures, beneath is a large circular "target" with the directions of the seven cuts and guards together with the words of command for the Infantry Sword Exercise. The figures are by John Augustus Atkinson who was noted for his "spirited and lifelike" figure-drawing; "His figures, artistically arrested in movement, show rather an actor's sensibility than a draughtsman's skill. " [DNB] Here he shows a range of contemporary infantry uniforms including the Rifle Brigade and a Highlander. Angelo's Fencing Academy was established in 1759 by Domenico Angelo Malevolti Tremamondo who had first established himself in London as a riding master. Angelo, as he became known, set up a highly fashionable "école d'escrime" in Soho which enjoyed the patronage of the Prince of Wales and the Duke of Devonshire. Such was his perceived authority in the area of the art of the fence that the plates of his L'École d'Armes were reproduced in the Encyclopédie illustrative of the section on "Escrime." Angelo's eldest son Henry, who had put the final polish on his fencing skills studying in Paris under Motet, became virtual head of his father's académie around 1785 and continued its reputation as "not only a school-of-arms, [but as] a school of deportment as well" [Aylward, The House of Angelo, p. 38.] In turn Henry's son, also named Henry, inherited the business when his father "retired from ther active conduct of the school" in 1817 [DNB]. The present item is dedicated "To Field Marshal His Royal Highness, The Duke of York. by Henry Angelo Junr." who we must presume to be the latter Henry despite the dating to 1816. At this stage in the history of the House of Angelo it was probably unnecessary for him to seek patronage with a well-placed dedication, and in 1833 he was appointed Superintendent of Sword Exercise in the Army. However, it does appears that this was based entirely on personal merit, his method being such that "even the soldiers themselves are anxious to learn it" [Aylward, p. 190]. A wonderful survival of the Angelo dynasty, a school-of-arms that became, "in the end, nothing less than a British Institution" [ibid. p. 183].
      [Bookseller: James Cummins Bookseller]
Last Found On: 2017-06-22           Check availability:      IOBABooks    

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