Joseph Grimaldi(1778-1837), Entertainer
Sitter associated with 3 portraits
Joseph Grimaldi was the most famous and popular clown of the period. His performance style had its origins in the Italian Commedia dell'Arte of the sixteenth century, but in the popular 'Harlequinades' of the early nineteenth century he emerged as the founding father of modern clowns. He was forced to retire in 1823 when years of jumping and tumbling left him barely able to walk. He was penniless by 1828 and benefit performances, which drew large crowds, were held for him at Sadler's Wells and Covent Garden Theatres.
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