TOMLINSON, Kellom (ca 1690-1753). The Art of Dancing explained by Reading and Figures. London: Printed for the Author, 1744.
2 parts in one volume, 4o (292 x 228 mm). 37 engraved plates, mostly of dancers by R.W. Seale, Vertue, van der Gucht, H. Fletcher and others, after the author (two plates with breaks along plate mark repaired, some occasional spotting). (Gutter margin repaired on title and first few leaves, a few small marginal repairs, some minor browning). Early 19th-century green morocco gilt, edges gilt (some wear to edges); cloth slipcase. Provenance: W.B. Williams (signature on front free endpaper); Mrs. John Hay Whitney Collection.
Second edition, of this early and rare work on the principles of Baroque dance, composed of the first edition sheets (1735) with a new title-page. The dancing master and dance writer Kellom Tomlinson was apprenticed to Thomas Caverley's dancing school from 1707-14. He then set up as a dancing master in Holborn, published a collection Six Dances (1721) in Feuillet notation, and began work on The Art of Dancing, his major publication.
Tomlinson desired to make dance notation more useful for the amateur and studen by creating a revolutionary method of illustrating his dances. He placed the figures of the dancers within the tracks of Fueillet notations, therefore providing students with a sense of posture, gesture and movement as well as the basic steps. Tomlinson's work is unique for combining the two existing systems of notation in use: the one of pictographs which arose with Arbeau and more majestically with Negri and Caroso; the other with abstract or symbolic step directions developed by Feuillet.
The first part covers "the beautiful Attitudes or Postures of Standing, the different Positions from whence the Steps of Dancing are to be taken and performed, and likewise of the Manner of Walking gracefully..." (Preface), the second part features the minuet. Fletcher 33 (first edition 1735); Leslie A Bibliography of the Dance Collection p. 528; see Edward Scott, "Notes on the Minuet as Represented by Kellem Tomlinson," in: Dancing Times,December 1922, pp. 243-55.