The Canterbury Catch Club: a performance of class
Price, C. 2016. The Canterbury Catch Club: a performance of class.
The lithograph of 1826 shows the Canterbury Catch Club in its heyday. It is clearly intended to depict a gathering of sophisticated, culturally literate gentlemen enjoying a concert provided by professional musicians in convivial surroundings. The decorations in the room, including a chandelier, portraits of St Cecilia and of Corelli, the hint of statuary which may or may not be trompe l’oeil, and the enscrolled motto convey a sense of confident affluence reflected in the carefully casual demeanours of the figures in the picture.
Much of the image is a representation of reality. The club really did exist from 1779 to 1865, and organised weekly concerts throughout the winter months; many of the people can be corroborated by contemporary electoral records; and the room in which they met in the years 1779-1833 still survives in the city, as do the portraits. But records show that the atmosphere would have been thick with the fug of all those pipes; that the orchestra was composed of local musicians – many of them cathedral singers with little or no formal schooling – who were a perpetual irritation to the committee of local worthies running the Club; that women formed part of the audience and – exceptionally – were frequently heard performing in this provincial gathering; and that the ribald, transgressive nature of the post-concert communal singing of catches into the early hours of the morning – many of them lewd in the extreme – is wisely ignored here.
|Conference||13th Conference of the ICTM Study Group on Iconography of the Performing Arts “Decoration of Performance Space: Meaning and Ideology"|
|Publication process dates|
|Deposited||13 Jan 2017|
|Completed||17 May 2016|
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