- Philip Astley
Philip Astley (
January 8, 1742– January 27, 1814) is regarded as the "father of the modern circus."
He was born in
Newcastle-under-Lymein Englandand his father was a cabinetmaker. At the age of nine, he apprenticed to work with his father, but Astley's dream was to work with horses, so he joined Colonel Eliott's Fifteenth Light Dragoon Regiment when he was 17, later becoming a Sergeant Major. He also served in the Seven Years War, and his army service brought him into contact with professional trainers and horse riders. Astley himself was a brilliant rider.
Astley had a genius for trick riding. He saw that trick riders received more attention from the crowds in
Islington. He had an idea for opening a riding school in London, where he could also conduct shows of acrobatic riding skill. In 1768, Astley opened his riding school in London, south of the Westminster Bridge. He taught in the morning and performed his “feats of horsemanship” in the afternoon. Astley called the arena a " circus" because of its shape, and Astley chose it for two reasons. First of all, it was easier for the audience to keep the riders in sight. Secondly, the ring (as the circus was better known) helped riders through generation of centrifugal force, which allowed them to keep their balance whilst standing on the backs of their galloping horses. After a few years, he added a platform, seats, and a roof to his ring.Astley's original circus was 62 ft (~19 m) in diameter, and later he settled it at 42 ft (~13 m), which has been an international standard for circuses since then.
Astley began to make more and more money and made a good reputation. However, after two seasons in London, he had to bring some novelty to his performances, so he hired other equestrians, musicians, a
clown, jugglers, tumblers, tightropewalkers, and dancing dogs. This laid the foundations of the modern circus, as we know it today.
His circus was so popular that he was invited in 1772 to perform before King Louis XV of France in
Versailles. Astley's Amphitheatreopened in Londonin 1773; [ The Wallet of Time] it burned on September 17, 1794, but was rebuilt and, in course of prosperity and rebuilding after successive fires, [ New International Encyclopedia] grew into Astley's Royal Amphitheatre. Astley opened the first Parisian circus in 1782, which he called the Amphitheatre Anglais. Soon after that, others opened new circuses, and this led to their worldwide fame.
Astley's first competitor was equestrian Charles Hughes, who had previously worked with Astley. Together with
Charles Dibdin, a famous author of pantomimes, Hughes opened a rival amphitheatre in London, which Dibdin called Royal Circusand Equestrian Philharmonic Academy.
Astley established 18 other circuses in other European cities; was patronised by a great number of royals, and was famous, envied, and occasionally rich. He never used wild animals in the circus arena. They began to be displayed 14 years after his death in
Paris. He was buried in Paris' Père Lachaisecemetery, [ New International Encyclopedia] having expired from goutin the stomach. [ [http://www.thebookofdays.com/months/oct/20.htm The Book of Days] ]
Astley's Amphitheatre is referenced in
Jane Austen's Emma, in Chapter 54: "He delivered these papers to John, at his chambers, and was asked by him to join their party the same evening to Astley's. They were going to take the two eldest boys to Astley's."
Astley's fame is also marked by the existence of three dance tunes which bear his name - "Astley's Ride(s)", "Astley's Flag" and more common, "Astley's Hornpipe" [ [http://folkopedia.efdss.org/Astley's_Hornpipe See Folkopedia] ] . "Astley's Ride" appears as the first tune in the music manuscript book of poet
Wikimedia Foundation. 2010.
Look at other dictionaries:
Philip Astley — Astley s Royal Ampitheatre in London um etwa 1808. Philip Astley (* 8. Januar 1742 in Newcastle under Lyme/England; † 27. Januar 1814 in Paris) ist der Begründer des modernen Zirkus. Zirkus ging aus der Pferdedressur hervor, deshalb wu … Deutsch Wikipedia
Philip Astley — Représentation d Astley en 1808 1811 Philip Astley (Newcastle under Lyme, 8 janvier 1742 Paris, 27 janvier 1814) est un célèbre écuyer anglais qui fonda au XVIIIe siècl … Wikipédia en Français
Astley — could refer to various places in England:* Astley, Greater Manchester, a dormitory town * Astley Green Colliery Museum * Astley, Warwickshire, a village and parish * Astley, Worcestershire, a village and parish * Astley, Shropshire, a village and … Wikipedia
Astley — ist der Familienname folgender Personen: Edwin Astley (1922–1998), britischer Filmkomponist Philip Astley (1742–1814), britischer Zirkuspionier Rick Astley (* 1966), britischer Sänger Thea Astley (1925–2004), australische Schriftstellerin Astley… … Deutsch Wikipedia
Astley Hall — is a country house in Chorley, Lancashire, England. Oliver Cromwell is said to have stayed here for a time. The extensive landscaped grounds are now Chorley s Astley Park.HistoryThe site was acquired in the 15th century by the Charnock family… … Wikipedia
Astley, Philip — ▪ British circus manager born Jan. 8, 1742, Newcastle under Lyme, Staffordshire, Eng. died 1814, Paris English trick rider and theatrical manager who in 1770, in London, created Astley s Amphitheatre, considered the first modern circus ring … Universalium
Philip Howard Colomb — Vice Admiral Philip Howard Colomb, RN (May 29, 1831 October 13, 1899). Born in Knockbrex, near Gatehouse of Fleet, Dumfries and Galloway, Scotland, he was a Royal Navy officer, historian, critic and inventor. He was the son of General GT Colomb.… … Wikipedia
Philip Streatfeild — James Philip Sydney StreatfeildHoare, Phillip. [http://books.google.com/books?id=C9RZeGdPF9MC Noel Coward: A Biography ] . University of ChicagoPress, 1998. ISBN 0226345122. (clarifies that this is correct spelling, noting Coward always spelled… … Wikipedia
ASTLEY, PHILIP — a famous equestrian and circus manager, along with Franconi established the Cirque Olympique in Paris (1742 1814) … The Nuttall Encyclopaedia
Sir Jacob Astley, 1st Baronet — (c. 1639 ndash; 17 August 1729) was an English politician.The son of Edward Astley and Elizabeth Astley was educated in Christ Church, Oxford and matriculated on 19 June 1659. On 7 September of the same year on the death of his paternal uncle Sir … Wikipedia