image © Guy Peppiatt Fine Art | Licence: All Rights Reserved
image © Guy Peppiatt Fine Art | Licence: All Rights Reserved

Madame Cigali the Famous Female Fencer from Rome at Henry Angelo's Fencing Academy



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From the Collection


Pen and grey ink and watercolour
14.4 by 23.8 cm, 5 ¾ by 9 ½ in.
Rowlandson was evidently intrigued by the idea of a man and woman fencing as he drew at least five such studies. One in the Dent collection depicted Henry Angelo and `Madame Cain'. `Madame Culloni and Mons. Renault' in Paris is recorded in the Dent Collection with another version in the Yale Center for British Art. Another, of `Madame Kelu famous Fencer Native of Italy 1816' was sold at Sotheby's on 22nd March 1979, lot 57.
Henry Charles William Angelo (1756-1835) was a close friend of Rowlandson for over fifty years and the artist depicted his Fencing Academy on a number of occasions. Angelo inherited the Academy from his father, the famous Italian swordsman Domenico Angelo in 1785. They were located over the entrance to the pit door of the Opera House, Haymarket but were destroyed by fire on 17th June 1789 when Angelo moved the Academy to no.13 Bond St. It became more akin to a gentleman's club and Charles James Fox, Sheridan and Byron were regular attendees.

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From the Watercolour World


Her Majesty's Theatre, Haymarket, London, England



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Domenico Angelo (1716-1802) was an Italian fencing master and an influential figure in the development of the sport. Born in Pisa, he moved first to Paris and then London where he set up a fencing school in Carlisle House in the 1750s. The school quickly became popular with the wealthy elite including members of the Royal Family, and Angelo also welcomed female students, some of them actresses from the local London theatres. One of his sons took over the school in 1760 and it continued to operate well into the 19th century.