Dance Placards

Antique set of hand-painted dance placards which once accompanied an orchestra, c. 1860s. The cranberry-colored placards are each 12 inches long and hand-painted, with beautiful sloping Victorian lettering in brilliant green. Each of the placards are double sided, and would have been arranged to call a dancer’s attention to the sequence of songs to ready the feet for the required steps. The placards have eyelets at each corner for hanging (I added the string for greater ease).  The signs spell out Polka, Schottische, March, Quadrille, Waltz, Mazurka, Varieties, Gavotte, Lancers, York, Triange, and Selection. The orchestra these belonged to is unknown, but the top of the carrying case is painted with the monogram “AEO.” The orchestra these traveled with is unknown, but the top of the carrying case is painted with the monogram “AEO.” Though the strings and horns of that anonymous band fell silent long ago, these painted cues to the guests of forgotten balls and cotillions seem to retain their command, and one can’t help but sense the synchronized movements they conjured, the countless steps in time, the stream of couples spinning across the parquet.



Very good antique condition, with minor paint loss and wear.




12.25 inches long

2 inches tall


13 inches long

3.5 inches deep

3 inches tall



Free in the continental United States. If an international buyer, please contact me for a shipping estimate by clicking here.

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