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Paper 9

Edward Payne, Dancing Master (?-1819)

Contributed by Paul Cooper, Research Editor

Edward Payne was one of the most influential Dancing Masters of Regency London. He was a band leader, publisher, choreographer and inventor. He was closely involved in popularising two social dancing movements, the First Set of Quadrilles, and the Spanish Country Dances. He also pioneered the use of the barrel organ for Quadrille dancing. Yet he remains relatively unknown; even two hundred years ago he was readily confused for his better known contemporary, James Paine of Almack's. This paper investigates his life and works.

Figure 1. Payne's 1814 New Companion to the Ball Room


This project has been limited by a lack of evidence. I know almost nothing of Payne's life prior to 1814; he died in early 1819 (or in late 1818), almost everything known covers just five years of his professional career.

A New Companion to the Ball Room

An advertisement in the Morning Post newspaper, for December 1st 1814 reports This day is published, price 5s.6d., A New Companion to the Ball Room. By Edward Payne, Dancing-master.. This was the first of Payne's major works to be published on the subject of dancing (see Figure 1). The preface of this work begins:

The following sheets are extracted from a Treatise on the Art of Dancing, which I had nearly completed twelve months back; but, in consequence of my time being so much occupied, I was prevented from drawing the Work to a close. Several of my Pupils who have seen it, (and were acquainted with the cause of its delay,) have earnestly requested me to select the following part for immediate Publication, (which is not more than one Quarter of the work, even in its present unfinished state.) The distinguished Patronage and flattering reception I have already met with from my honoured Pupils, have induced me to comply without hesitation with their request.

The book was made up of three parts: a treatise on deportment, Payne's system for constructing Country Dances, and a review of the etiquette of the ball room. The essays on deportment and etiquette share a striking similarity to the equivalent essays published by the better known dancing master Thomas Wilson in his similarly named 1816 Companion to the Ball Room and elsewhere. It's likely that Payne's book was partly derived from Wilson's earlier works, and that Wilson's later works were partly derived from Payne's book. Both authors ultimately shared a common source in Richard Nash's 18th century regulations for the Assembly Rooms at Bath, and also with the regulations imposed by the many Assembly Rooms across Britain. We've discussed these issues in another research paper.

Payne's entire new method for constructing Country Dances is particularly interesting. Country dances had been published in Britain since the middle of the 17th Century, but Payne was an innovator, he promoted something new. The convention for Country Dancing in the more elite of Assembly Rooms involved the first couple (that is, the couple at the top of a Longways Set) selecting a tune, and calling the figures to be danced to that tune; we've written more on this convention in another of our research papers. Payne had identified a problem with this convention:

It often occurs with Ladies and Gentlemen who are in the habit of attending Balls and Assemblies, (some of whom may be termed good dancers,) that when it comes to their turn to lead off the dance, they find themselves at a loss to form a figure and adapt a Tune to it, although perhaps acquainted with a variety; others again, after much hesitation, find themselves at a loss, and at last are obliged to advise with other couples.
Figure 2. Terms of Mr. Payne's Dancing Academy, 1814


Payne then observed that other writers had attempted to address this problem before. This comment may have been a veiled reference to Thomas Wilson's 1809 Treasures of Terpsichore (the sub-title of which happened to match the title of Payne's book). He continued:

All the publications of this kind that I have seen, are on an entirely different plan from this; most of them have a figure and a tune set together, some may like the tune and not the figure; others again, may like the figure and not the tune; but as they are set, so they are induced to suppose they must be danced, as I have frequently witnessed.

Payne's solution involved counting the number of strains of music in each of the popular Country Dancing tunes, and grouping them together into pools; he had a pool of two-part tunes, a pool of three-part tunes, and so forth; he also choreographed around 120 sequences of dancing figures, these were similarly grouped by the number of strains of music they required. Dancers could match any tune to any compatible set of figures, resulting in a near infinite variety of combinations. The major characteristic of this system is that there would not be a specific set of figures for a specific tune; the same figures could be danced to many tunes, the same tune could be danced with many different figures.

The benefit of this system is reasonably clear. With a little effort a dancer can invent a new combination of tunes and figures, without having to be an expert. This approach to the calling of Country Dances was subsequently reused by another dancing master, G.M.S. Chivers, in his 1818 Companion to the French and English Country Dancing. The system was similar to that promoted by Thomas Wilson in his own publications from 1808, though much simpler; Wilson used complicated tables to express the same basic concept, Payne had made the concept more accessible.

Payne's Academy

Payne operated a Dancing Academy from his premises at 32 Foley Street, Cavendish Square. His December 1st 1814 advert in the Morning Post indicates that he taught Dancing and Fencing, and Mr P. continues to instruct Ladies and Gentlemen in the polite Art of Dancing in the most private manner, with ease, elegance, and expeditiously. Figure 2 is a larger advert for the Academy from the back of A New Companion to the Ball Room. It reports that he teaches Minuets, Cotillons, Boleros, Strathspeys, Waltzing, and every style of fashionable dancing.

A further advertisement within this book indicates that he has:

... had the Honour of Teaching, and still continuing to Teach in some of the first Families and Schools in the Metropolis, and its Environs; whose Sanction and Patronage he may justly boast of and meeting every where, with the most flattering Encouragement, as upwards of Four Hundred and Fifty Pupils within the last Four Years can attest; ...

He went on to explain that his former plan to build at vast expense an Elegant and Spacious Academy, worthy his Pupils and the high reputation he has achieved had succeeded, and he was proud to announce that is had opened.

Figure 3. Payne's Advert, The Morning Post, 27th May 1816.
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Image reproduced with kind permission of The British Newspaper Archive (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)

By 1815, he was advertising his Waltz and Cotillon Academy (Courier, 19th June 1815). At this date he taught The Russian, German, French, and the most fashionable style of Waltzing, and offered Private Tuition at home or abroad. A minor variation of this same advert appeared in The Morning Post nearly a year later (29th April 1816). One month after that (27th May 1816, see Figure 3) his advert changed, it now offered Waltzing, Quadrilles, and Spanish Country Dances, and that Mr. Payne and Assistants continue to teach the above fashionable Requisites, with ease, elegance, and expedition. Payne had also published a collection of Six Favorite Waltzes, as played at his Academy & the Nobility's Assemblies, probably around mid 1816; these waltzes were named after the Quadrilles of his First Set, perhaps making it the first Waltz Quadrille to have been published in Britain. He had also published his first three Quadrille Sets by around this same date.

An 1817 advert in The Morning Post (4th June 1817) added that Mr. P. and Assistants continue to attend Families within 20 miles of town, having had the honour of instructing upwards of 1000 persons during the present season.. His academy must have experienced a significant increase in patronage - 1000 people in one year is a significant increase over his 1814 claim to have taught Four Hundred and Fifty Pupils within the last Four Years. The reason for this increase is likely to have been the overwhelming success of his Quadrilles (which will be discussed shortly). The preface to his c.1817 Dances Espagnol report that he'd taught Quadrilles to some of the first families of distinction.

By 1818 he was refering to his academy as the Salle de Danse, and indicated it was confined to the first Circles (see Figure 8). The preface to his 1818 Quadrille Dancer further amplifies the success of his Quadrille academy, he reported that he has, within a very short period taught [Quadrilles] to no fewer, than Fifteen Hundred Adult Pupils.. Later in 1818 he advertised his intention to visit Dublin for a month and to open an academy there (Saunders's News-Letter 1st May 1818); this advert claimed that he had taught quadrilles to upwards of One Thousand Seven Hundred Pupils ... including some of the first families of distinction.

Payne's Band and Assembly

Several of Payne's adverts mentioned that he could provide a band, including his 29th April 1816 advert in the Morning Post, which promised Select Bands provided for Waltzes and Cotillions. Various newspapers mention the presence of his Band at private balls; for example, a report of Mrs. Beaumont's Ball in The Morning Post (19th May 1814) indicated that Payne's band was present, along with that of Gow (presumably John Gow); a similar report of Mrs. Dawson's Ball in The Morning Post (30th June 1816) mentioned an Orchestra was erected for Payne's Band in the centre of the ball-rooms.. An 1814 report in The Morning Post (18th June 1814) reports that Payne provided two bands for a high profile Ball in honour of the Russian Emperor. It adds: The party exceeded 500 persons of rank and consequence in high life.

Payne also hosted Assemblies of his own. He printed the by-laws for his Assembly in his 1814 A New Companion to the Ball Room, they were:

Rules to be observed at this Assembly:
  1. That no improper Language be made use of.
  2. No Person to be Admitted in Dishabille, or Gentlemen in coloured Handkerchiefs.
  3. Those Ladies and Gentlemen who come first, will receive their numbers as they enter, the first couple will receive number one, and so on regularly.
  4. As soon as Six Couple are Arrived, the Country Dancing will commence.
  5. The Dances to be called in rotation, according to the number of the Ticket.
  6. Any Lady or Gentleman found altering their number, or losing their ticket, to be placed at the bottom of the set.
  7. It is requested that no Lady or Gentleman will sit down until the second dance is finished, and on every second dance a change of partners (except those who bring their partners and wish to continue dancing with them.)
  8. As soon as the second Dance is ended, the Waltzing will commence.
  9. No Two Ladies to dance together whilst two Gentlemen are in the room disengaged; the same rule must be observed with Gentlemen.
  10. No Gentleman is allowed to dance in Boots or Gaiters.
  11. Any Subscriber may be at liberty to introduce a Friend or Friends, previous to their becoming Subscribers for their first Night, gratis.
  12. No Person to be admitted in this Assembly without being Introduced by a Subscriber.
  13. Any Subscriber introducing their Friend or Friends, must be answerable for their Respectability and good behaviour.
  14. No Person is allowed to Issue or expose any Ticket or Tickets in these Rooms, for any other, when the Admission is gratis.
  15. The Assemblies are held on every other Wednesday Evening. Dancing to commence at 8, and conclude precisely at half past 11 o'Clock.
  16. Each Subscriber to have his Name Entered, and the Subscription to be paid at the commencement.
A footnote indicated that the 7th rule had recently changed, for the previous four seasons the change of partners was to have taken place after the third dance.

These rules are similar to those of Britain's other Assembly Rooms, though there are several distinctive features. We've explored these issues further in another research paper.

Spanish Country Dances

Figure 4. Payne's first two sets of Spanish Dances, c.1817


Payne's 1816 advert mentioned that he taught Spanish Country Dances (see Figure 3). He went on to publish three collections of Danses Espagnoles, the third in 1818 (see Figure 8), and the first two in late 1817 or early 1818 (dated by reference to his Quadrille Fan, see Figure 4). He also included Instructions for Spanish Dancing as a suffix to his 1818 Quadrille Dancer.

It's not clear when Spanish Country Dances first entered his repertoire, but the 1816 advert hints that he'd been teaching them for perhaps a year. The absence of references to them in A New Companion to the Ball Room suggests they didn't exist in 1814. Payne was probably the first dancing master in London to teach these dances. Thomas Wilson also published a minor work on Spanish Country Dances in 1817, and G.M.S. Chivers published his Recueil de Danses Espagnole in 1819 (shortly after Payne's death, though he'd been teaching them since at least 1818). Some sources suggest that Nathaniel Gow was promoting Spanish Country Dancing in Edinburgh from as early as 1810, but I've not found any contemporary evidence to support this early date. I can only find one example published by Gow, and that was probably published in 1817 (certainly no earlier than 1816).

Spanish Country Dances are very similar to English Country Dances, the key differences are that the first couple begins improper (the man on the lady's side of the set, and vice-versa), and the dance flows like a waltz country dance. The music and figures are effectively the same. Payne explained some of the figures as follows:

The Author may be censured, perhaps, for not being more particularly explicit in his explanations. The word 'Engano', imports deceit; 'Latigo', a whip; 'Espejos', a Looking-glass; but translation can be of little avail to those unacquainted with the method of performing the figures. A little practice, however, will easily supply any additional information that may be wanting, which the Author, upon application to him, will readily give.

The figures Payne published were written in Spanish, hinting that the dances genuinely derive from Spain. A passage from John Carr's 1811 Descriptive Travels in the Southern and Eastern Parts of Spain and the Balearic Isles, in the year 1809 explains the Spanish style a little further. He wrote ... I had an opportunity of witnessing the decisive superiority of the Spanish over the English country dances. The former is slow, and combines the character of the waltz with the figure of the latter.. Carr makes no reference to the first couple starting improper, that could be Payne's own innovation. Spanish themed dances were popular in operatic dancing of this date (the Boleros, Guaracha, Chachuca and Fandango were irregularly performed at the King's Theatre between 1809 and 1814), so if Payne did invent the format he may have borrowed the term Spanish to lend them a veneer of exotic yet fashionable appeal.

Payne's 1818 Quadrille Dancer contains an extended description of Spanish Country Dancing. It discusses the construction of a Spanish Dance, the steps, an explanation of the Figures and a translation of the Spanish terms. The information in this work is consistent with, but different to, the 1819 Recueil de Danses Espagnoles by G.M.S. Chivers. The diversity of information hints that Payne did not invent Spanish Country Dancing, but may have been the first to document it. The preface to Payne's Instructions for Spanish Dancing adds:

[The author] has already Published a first and second set of Danses Espagnoles or Spanish Country Dances, both of which, by a rapid and extensive sale, received the most unequivocal proofs of public approbation. This flattering consideration combined with the numerous and urgent entreaties of many Ladies and Gentlemen calling for additional and diversified examples of these favorite Dances, have induced him to present the Public with the following, these Dances have now become so popular, and their characteristic distinctions are so fully explained in the Authors former sets, that any further remarks here on these Topics, might well be deemed superfluous.

Prior to Payne's adverts, the term Spanish Dances in Britain generally referred to Boleros, Fandangos, and other national dances. An 1811 advert that refered to Spanish Dances in The Stamford Mercury (31st May, 1811) emphasised that they were danced with the Spanish Castanets, hinting that Spanish Country Dances were yet to emerge as a concept at that early date. It's tempting to speculate that the British troops in the Iberian Peninsula invented what subsequently became known in Britain as Spanish Country Dances, and brought them back to London at the end of the war. There aren't many collections of Spanish Country Dances available on-line (at the time of writing), but an 1820 collection published by Wheatstone is available.

Whatever their origin, they were an unusual variation of Country Dancing that was enjoyed in Britain for the next few years. The anonymous author of the 1823 The Etiquette of the Ball-Room by A Gentleman briefly mentioned that they were danced at the most prestigious London venue, Almack's Assembly Rooms: Espagnoles, or Spanish Dances, and Polonaises, have been introduced at Almack's, and are very interesting, pleasing, and easy elegeant Dances, chiefly confined to a Waltz system; which places them far above common Contre Dances, and may be learned in a very short time. It's unclear as to whether he intended the term Spanish to imply Spanish Country Dances, or more generally dances of Spanish origin; I suspect he probably was referring to the style of Country Dancing promoted by Edward Payne.

Figure 5. Original Payne's Quadrilles, third edition


Payne's First Set of Quadrilles

We've discussed the introduction of the First Set of Quadrilles in a previous paper. The figures of Payne's First Set (see Figure 5) went on to be danced in most Quadrilles for the rest of the 19th century. Payne published his First Set of Quadrilles no later than 1816, probably in 1815. An advert in The Morning Post (21st September 1816) mentioned the existence of his 4th Set of Quadrilles, the first three were published at some point before that date. The 1816 advert in Figure 3 hints that he had taught Quadrilles for perhaps a year before that date, though once again, the absence of references in A New Companion to the Ball Room hints that they weren't in his 1814 repertoire (unless he considered the Quadrille to be a type of Cotillion, which is entirely possible, and perhaps quite likely).

The anonymous author of the 1823 The Etiquette of the Ball-Room reported that Quadrille dancing in England was muted during the wars with France: From the continual hostilities which prevailed between France and England, during the long usurpation of Bonaparte, all intercourse between the countries was suspended; the most of the professional gentlemen, in consequence, lost all knowledge of the French fashions, and indeed all desire for them; so that any one who could merely shew the method of walking Quadrilles, was considered a prodigy; and many, who could only give information respecting the dancing of them, acquired large fortunes. This barbed reference to money making may be a direct reference to the activities of Payne. If so, it seems a little unfair, as Payne's 1818 Quadrille Dancer strongly emphasised the need for elegance, deportment, and the precise use of steps, just as the anonymous 1823 writer desired.

Payne's First Set consisted of Le Pantalon, L'Été, La Poulle, La Trénise and La Finale; you can learn how to dance them here. It's not clear where Payne sourced his music and figures, but the origin myth that links them with the Frenchman Jean-Baptiste Hullin could be correct. Hullin published several works on Quadrille dancing in Paris, some of which feature figures similar to those of the First Set. For example, the figures to his c.1798 L'Elisé are very similar to those of Pantalon. Hullin's La Polimnie has similar figures to L'Été, and so forth. The British troops in Paris and Brussels are known to have danced Quadrilles, they may have brought a taste for them back to Britain; many early British Quadrilles had names themed around the 1815 Battle of Waterloo, they could have ultimately derived from the dances of Hullin.

In his 1818 Quadrille Dancer Payne mentioned that he had recently visited Paris, he implied that this is where he'd learnt the dances; other potential sources can't be ruled out however. For example, the London based dancing master Michael Kelly published his Eight French Country Dances c.1804. This collection of primordial Quadrilles was published before the term Quadrille was widely used, but the collection contained a close approximation of the dances of the First Set. An even earlier London based source can be found in a collection of Longman and Broderip's 1786 Cotillions, they contained the Quadrilles of the First Set arranged as Cotillions, and clearly pre-date Hullin's claim. It would be an amusing irony if the great French Quadrilles were derived from a set of English Cotillions!

I don't know if Payne was connected to Lady Jersey, but she is generally credited with introducing the First Set to Almack's Assembly Rooms (the foremost dancing venue in London) in 1815. It may be entirely coincidental, and she introduced the popular French Quadrille figures concurrent to Payne's teaching them in London; there again, perhaps she and her friends were taught, or rehearsed, by Payne; or perhaps Payne only published after they had been danced at Almack's. Either way, Payne's name became associated with the First Set.

As we saw in Paper 3, the Quadrille dance was known in London prior to the introduction of Payne's First Set, but they didn't receive wide recognition until 1816. A report of Lady Heathcote's Ball in The Morning Post (22nd July 1816) reads The New Dances - Immediately after the conclusion of the waltz above named, the new French dances were introduced. These dances are called quadrilles; they were first seen in this country on Monday last ... they no doubt will become general favourites next season. This report may refer to a specific Quadrille Set (perhaps Payne's), but Quadrilles certainly had been seen in England prior to Monday last, though they were yet to achieve the popular success the Morning Post accurately foretold for 1817.

It's an odd coincidence that one of the Orchestra leaders at the fashionable Almack's Assembly Rooms was the similarly named James Paine. Paine went on to publish his own First Set of Quadrilles in 1816, or later in 1815, using (effectively) the same figures as Payne. Payne and Paine independently published numerous Quadrille Sets, their individual identities were frequently confused by both contemporary and subsequent commentators. The potential for confusion is quite obvious, Payne and Paine were variant spellings of the same surname. For example, the census records for James Paine's children variously record their surnames as Pain and Payne, in addition to Paine. One dancing publication of the early 1820s even referred to James Paine as Payn of Almack's.

As an example of the confusion, consider the witty Quadrilling song that was popular from 1819. The version printed in La Belle Assemblée (1819) contains the line: Payne's first set invented to delight us is; but the illustrated version printed in Birmingham in 1820 has the same line as: Paine's first set invented to delight us is. One of the earliest contemporary reports of a Ball at Almack's featuring a Quadrille is from 1817 (The Morning Post, 7th March), it records that Payne led the music - presumably a misspelling for Paine, it's another example of the general confusion.

Figure 6. Four sets of Payne's Quadrilles, c.1815-1817

Image © BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD, h.925.aa.(13.), h.925.aa.(14.), h.925.c.(5.), h.925.c.(6.) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Payne's Quadrilles

The Edinburgh based dancing master Barclay Dun wrote in his 1818 A Translation of Nine of the Most Fashionable Quadrilles that the Quadrilles chiefly used in London are selected by Mr. Payne. Dun included the figures for six of Payne's Quadrille Sets in his book. Dun's work is quite useful for interpreting the figures of Payne's quadrilles; Dun described them in greater detail than Payne himself did (at least in their initial incarnation), and he added information to link the figures to the musical strains. There are, however, minor differences between the figures listed in Dun and in Payne's own publications. Payne provided significant additional details for dancing his Quadrilles in his 1818 Quadrille Dancer, they're broadly consistent with Dun's commentary - it hints that Dun may have had a copy of the Quadrille Dancer in front of him when preparing his own book. Dun's version of Payne's quadrilles are perhaps the best known and most readily available for modern enthusiasts.

Payne published 10 Sets of Quadrilles before his untimely death in 1819. His 4th Set was published in 1816, and the 9th and 10th Sets were both published in 1818. He also published two books on Quadrille dancing, the 1816 Quadrille Instructor (advertised in The Morning Post, 21st September 1816), and the 1818 Quadrille Dancer (advertised in The Morning Post, 11th March 1818, see Figure 8). I've not located a copy of the first work, but suspect an unidentified work in the VWML might be this lost publication. Payne's first 6 Quadrille Sets each had a unique set of figures, but his 7th Set of Quadrilles reused the same figures as his 2nd Set; it's possible that the later Sets similarly reused earlier sets of figures, if so, that's a pattern that's also seen in the works of Joseph Hart.

Payne also published a Quadrille Fan in 1817 containing all the Fashionable Figures (advertised in The Morning Post, 4th June 1817). It was named in French as Un Petit Evantail de Quadrille. His preface to the Dances Espagnol indicate that 1400 of them had been sold. An advert in the 1818 Quadrille Dancer indicates a second edition was available. This fan listed the figures for his Quadrilles, it would have been a useful accessory for any ball-goer who struggled to memorise the choreographies.

It's notable that Thomas Wilson, another Regency era dancing master, also published a work called the Quadrille Instructor in 1816, and went on to publish a Quadrille Fan c.1819. It's likely that Wilson was inspired to follow Payne's lead. James Paine also published a Quadrille Fan in 1817. Payne went on to emphasise that his Quadrille Fans were sold and decidedly established in public favor before any other appeared. Payne's fan was advertised from February 1817 (Morning Post, 24th February 1817) and Paine's from early June; this hints at an active competition between the two of them. A further band leader, Louis Litolff, published a Quadrille Fan in 1821.

Payne's 1817 adverts emphasised his role as the original Author of the Quadrilles, a claim he repeated in the preface to his Spanish Country Dances:

If the art of Dancing has been improved by rule, or extended by variety, the Author of this work, by study and taste, will be found to have contributed largely to both. The increased and increasing estimation in which the elegant accomplishment of dancing is held, is in a great degree to be attributed to the present knowledge of Quadrilles, which he was the first to publish with their proper figures in French and English, and directions to each dance as performed at the assemblies of the Nobility.

He repeated this claim in his 1818 Quadrille Dancer indicating With respect to Quadrilles, as a particular species of Dancing recently introduced, and which the Author was the first to Publish... . Payne may have been unaware that an earlier form of Quadrille dance had briefly flourished in the late 18th Century, a Dancing Master named Delatre had claimed that he had published the first ever set of Quadrilles in England back in 1775 (Ipswich Journal, 1st July 1775)!

Payne, along with many of his contemporaries, allowed the figures of his Quadrilles to be sold as miniature cards. Dancers could purchase a collection and carry them with them to a Ball, using them to remind themselves of the figures. A later set of such cards can be seen at the website of Cowan's Auctions. This example combines all 10 of Payne's Quadrille Sets, together with examples from James Paine and others. The cards generally measure an inch by two inches (or thereabouts) in size, and can be carried in a reticule for use at a Ball. At least 5 editions of the cards were printed, based on an advert in Payne's 1818 Quadrille Dancer.

Figure 7. An unofficial edition of Payne's 3rd Set. Image © BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD, h.925.aa.(12.) ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

If Payne's Quadrille cards and other publications are included, he claimed that 20,500 of them have already been disposed of - upwards of 3,500 copies. He then went on to admit a mistake: The great and unprecedented sale of the Author's publications, have induced upwards of one half of the principal Music Sellers to reprint them, some with his name prefixed, a liberty which they were enabled to take, from his having omitted to secure the Copy-right. You can read more about how copyright was enforced for social dance publications here. The wide availability of unofficial variants of Payne's Quadrilles helps to explain some of the confusion in the historical record.

Most of Payne's official works were published through Birchall's Music Shop, though some were published through C. Christmas's Opera Music Saloon. Figure 7 shows what was probably a rogue edition of Payne's 3rd Set of Quadrilles published by Mitchell's Musical Library & Instrument Warehouses. This unofficial edition didn't promote Payne's Academy, it described the Quadrilles as being as performed by Mr Payne's Band. The figures precisely match those of Payne's official version, but the music is different; it's the same set of tunes, but rearranged in 3 parts. The music in this version is arguably richer than that of the original. Mitchell also cloned the Quadrilles of James Paine, mixing Sets from both sources into a single patchwork series of publications. This might be a further factor in the contemporary confusion between the two quadrillers.

A further example of Payne's Quadrilles being republished can be found in the 1st Set of the Favorite French Quadrilles, published in Edinburgh in 1817 for Nathaniel Gow. This collection reproduced Payne's 1st Set verbatim, note-for-note; the only difference being that Payne's Trenise was replaced with Gow's La Gertrude.

The following table lists the names of Payne's Quadrilles, as recorded in his 1818 Quadrille Dancer. He provided the names below in both French and English. In some cases there are minor differences compared to his earlier publications, such as the suffixed La Pastorale dance in his 1st Set, or alternate spellings of some of the words. His 10th Set was published after the publication of the Quadrille Dancer, I've not identified the names of those Quadrilles.

Payne's 1st Set:
Pantalon (Pantalon), L'Ete (Summer), La Poule (The Hen), La Trenis (Trenis), La Finale (Finis), La Pastorale (Pastorale)
Payne's 2nd Set:
La Nouvell Allianse (The New Alliance), L'Amaside (Amaside), L'Anonime (Anonymous), La Liberte (Liberty), La Sephora (Sephora), La Victoire (Victory)
Payne's 3rd Set:
Duc De Berry (Duke Of Berry), La Caroline (Caroline), La Leone (Leone), La Henriette (Henriette), La Finale (De Lodoiska) (The Final in Lodoiska), La Nouvelle Polonaise (The New Polonaise)
Payne's 4th Set:
La Belle Allianse (The Good Alliance), Duc de Wellington (The Duke of Wellington), La Waterloo (Waterloo), La Cuirassier (The Cuirassier), Vive Henri IV (Live Henry the Fourth), La Nouvelle Pastorale (The New Pastorale)
Payne's 5th Set:
La Garcon Volage (The Flying Boy), Les Graces (The Graces), Les Deux Amis (The Two Friends), La Leopold (Leopold), La Vivacite (Vivacity), La Chasse (The Chase)
Payne's 6th Set:
La Duchesse De Berry (The Dutchesse of Berry), L'Amondance (Abundance), Le Rousseau (The Red Haired Man), La Comptesse D'Artois (The Countess of Artois), L'Amusette (Amusement), La Folie D'Espagne (The Folie of Spain)
Payne's 7th Set:
La Troubadour (The Troubadour), La Petitte Brunette (The Little Brown Girl), La Regence (The Regency), La Nouvelle Bisson (The New Bisson), La Pomme D'Or (The Golden Apple), Les Carillons De Dunkirk (The Bells Of Dunkirk)
Payne's 8th Set:
Le Triomphe De Wellington (Wellington's Triumph), La Bouquet (The Nosegay), La Papillon (The Butterfly), Chien De Berger (The Shepherd's Dog), La Nouvelle Finale (The New Finis), La Prisonniere (The Prisoner)
Payne's 9th Set:
Le Serin (The Canary Bird), Le Chinois (The Chinese), La Nouvelle Poulle (The New Hen), La Floride De (The Floride), Le Tableau (The Picture), Les Nouveaux Echos (The New Echos)
Payne's 10th Set:

Payne's Quadrille Organ

Payne's 1817 advert in The Courier (2nd July 1817) advertised a new Quadrille Organ: Mr. Payne has the honour to inform the Nobility and Gentry, that he has just invented an Organ on an improved principle, to play a complete set of Quadrilles in the most correct manner without having occasion to shift or even set the Barrel.. He went on to advertise his Organ several more times before his death (for example, see Figure 8).

The Barrel Organ was, according to Wikipedia, a mechanical instrument consisting of bellows and one or more ranks of pipes housed in a case, usually of wood, and often highly decorated.. Barrel organs had been advertised for use in social dancing from at least as early as 1769 (Bath Chronicle and Weekly Gazette, 5th October 1769), but they received more attention (and mechanical sophistication) during the Regency period.

Figure 8. Payne's advert, The Morning Post 11th March 1818.
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Image reproduced with kind permission of The British Newspaper Archive (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)

It's not clear how popular such mechanical instruments were, but Dancing Master Allen advertised a similar device from 1817 (The Morning Chronicle, 3rd December): Ladies instructed to teach their families, for aiding which he has on sale new invented self-playing instruments, enabling them to cultivate their own dancing, give balls without musicians, or amuse themselves and friends with music by clock work.. Allen continued to publish this advert through to 1822 (The Morning Post, 13th May).

A perhaps similar device called a Cylindrichord was sold by Courcell from 1825. It was said that a person totally unacquainted with music, a child or servant, may perform in the very best and most correct style, quadrilles, waltzes, minuets, country dances, marches, songs, overtures, sonatas, choruses, or indeed any piece of music, however difficult (Concert Room and Orchestra Anecdotes, Busby, 1825).

Payne included a more verbose advert for his Organ in his 1818 Quadrille Dancer. It reads:

Mr. Payne, has the pleasure to announce to the Nobility and Gentry, that he has invented an Organ, which plays with the greatest precision a complete set of Quadrilles, without shifting the Barrel, having the effect of a Band; the Richness and Briliancy of its tones, and the admirable quality of keeping in tune, not only renders it a most valuable acquisition to the lovers of Quadrille Dancing, but also an elegant appendage to the Drawing-Room, possessing in its appearence something of the elegance and uniformity of a Cabinet Piano Forte. Barrels may be set which have an excellent effect; containing Spanish Dances, Waltzes, Country Dances, Sacred Music or the most difficult pieces, from the extent of scale, requisite to perform Quadrilles. This instrument is well adapted for the East or West Indies, its construction being so compact and solid, that it resists any Climate.

An Irish advert (Saunders's News-Letter 1st May 1818) mentioned that the organ plays with the greatest precision three complete Sets of Quadrilles, (amongst which is his First Set) without shifting the Barrel.

I've not found any further information on Payne's Organ, such as Patents, or the nature of his improvements, beyond what he announced in his adverts. At least two of his Organs remained unsold at the time of his death in 1819. An advert in The Morning Post (26th February 1819) advertising the disposal of Payne's assets mentions Several excellent Musical Instruments for Sale; among others, a handsome Pianoforte, Harp, and two Quadrille Organs of Mr. Payne's invention (see Figure 9).

Another dancing master, G.M.S. Chivers advertised his own Waltz and Quadrille Organs in an 1819 advert (Morning Chronicle, 17th June), it's possible that Chivers obtained Payne's stock and resold them as his own. An 1823 advert in The Morning Post (6th November) records a Barrel Organ for dancing to, with Quadrilles &c. being sold second-hand for 38 guineas; it might have been one of Payne's models.

Payne's Death

Payne died either at the end of 1818, or the start of 1819, just as the Quadrille was rapidly growing in popularity. He didn't get to experience the full success of his dances. An advert in The Morning Post (26th February 1819, see Figure 9), announced the disposal of Payne's assets:

To Dancing Masters - to be Disposed Of by Private Contract, the Lease of the eligible Dwelling House, situate No. 32 Foley-street, Cavendish Square, lately occupied by Mr. Edward Payne deceased, together with the Academy for Dancing, which is attended by pupils of the first respectability, and promises to ensure a valuable connexion to a successor of ability. The House, and a spacious Assembly Room, are in excellent repair.

A month later The Morning Post (12th March 1819) reported the auction of Payne's academy. They describe it thus: The lease, for twelve years, at a low rent, with early possession, of a commodius dwelling house, and large ball room, particularly adapted for a Dancing Master. It continues, The house contains six chambers, lofty drawing-room, dining and morning parlours, kitchen, footman's pantry, washhouse, and cellars. I've found an 1830s reference to this address as Chessney's spacious ball and lecture-room. Presumably Chessney took the lease after Payne.

Figure 9. Disposal of Payne's possessions, The Morning Post 26th February 1819.
Image © THE BRITISH LIBRARY BOARD. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. Image reproduced with kind permission of The British Newspaper Archive (www.britishnewspaperarchive.co.uk)

A subsequent notice in The Morning Post (8th June 1819) contains a message from Payne's mother:

Elizabeth Payne embraces the earliest opportunity of returning her sincere and grateful Thanks to the Nobility and Gentry, for the very liberal encouragement and support experienced by her Son, Edward Payne, late of Foley-street, near Cavendish-square, Dancing-Master, deceased. Mrs. Payne earnestly solicits all Persons having any Demands upon his Estate, to deliver her the particulars, that she may examine and discharge the same; and all Persons indebted to his Estate are requested to pay the amount to her.

Another dancing master called W. Payne described himself as a Professor of Dancing and Fencing in Salisbury in the 1820s (Salisbury and Winchester Journal, 27th January 1823); this new Payne may have been related to Edward Payne, and perhaps continued his legacy. He had a similar repertoire, including Quadrilles, Waltzes, Minuets, Spanish Dances, Saraband and Sauteuse, Quadrille Contre Danse, &c., as danced in London, Paris and Bath.

Edward Payne's name continued to be associated with Quadrille dancing for decades to come, even if he was often confused with James Paine. He experienced a meteoric success in the 1810s, who knows what might have happened had he lived a little longer?

As always, there are many gaps in this review of Payne's life and works. If you're able to provide any additional information, or if you have access to any of his documents, do please get in touch, as we'd love to know more.











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