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Thursday, 13 November 2008

R.I.P. Joseph Grimaldi

In a small park in Islington is the grave of Joseph Grimaldi (the park has the same name). A pantomine clown (1779 - 1837) first appeared on stage before he was 3yrs old against his will, dragged onto the stage by his father, an Italian actor, who by all accounts mistreated the boy.
Joey (as he became fondly known as) went on to become London's most celebrated clown. in fact Joey is a term still used to refer to clowns. His most famous role was in Mother Goose at Covent Garden in 1806.
He retired while still relatively young but nearly crippled. During these years he wrote his memoirs, (2 large volumes), that were edited by Charles Dickens.

Regarded as the founding father of modern clowns and so adored, that a memorial service is still held on the first Sunday in February each year, at All Saints Church, Haggerston, Hackney. Hundreds of clowns from all over the world attend. The service is followed by a show for children.

Here is one of his well known songs hot codlins (toffee apples), when he sings the last line, the audience shout out GIN. He then scolds them for thinking such a thing.

A little old woman,
her living she got by selling hot codlins,
hot, hot, hot.
And this little old woman,
who codlins sold,tho' her codlins were hot,
she felt herself cold.
So to keep herself warm she thought it no sin to fetch for herself a quartern of ........

12 comments:

Emm said...

Lovely! I have held a fascination for clowns my whole life.

If not gin then what?

JM said...

Beautiful composition! Also enjoyed reading your information.
The previous photo is awesome! Love it!
Oh, and the goose is great!

Dusty Lens said...

GIN! Now Inow the rest of the stroy. Thanks!

Sharon said...

Great bit of history. I had never heard this one before. Thanks for sharing.

Jilly said...

Fascinating Mo and a beautiful photograph. You know the family name of the Monaco royal family is Grimaldi - originally Italian as you say.

marley said...

Really interesting! Like the fact he told the audience off at the end of the song.

lunarossa said...

How interesting, Mo! I did not know anything about Joseph Grimaldi and I'm Italian! Thanks for this. Take care. Ciao. Antonella

claude said...

That is right ! Very interesting about that clown.

babooshka said...

I has no idea this is where Joey was buried. My das was born in Islington, so for me this was personally very interesting. The things we learn.

soulbrush said...

used to live in islington and have seen this. what a great idea for a blog and welcome to london. (your first time here? how long are you staying?) i LOVE london!

www.niamhphotography.com said...

very interesting and informative. i'm curious to learn more about this clown now.

Tuga7 said...

nice composition, lovely!

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