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Barnes [Barns], Arthur (1828–1908), acrobat  

John M. Turner

Barnes [Barns], Arthur (1828–1908), acrobat, was born at Birchall Street, Birmingham, in April 1828, the son of Henry Barns (bap. 1792, d. 1866), an iron-founder, and his wife, Jane, née Williams (1794/1795–1872). He was first noted performing with ...


Cadman [Kidman], Robert (1711/12–1740), ropeslider  

Page Life

Cadman [Kidman], Robert (1711/12–1740), ropeslider, was born between 3 February 1711 and 2 February 1712, perhaps at or near Shrewsbury, Shropshire. A Robertus Cadman, son of Thomas Cadman, was baptized at Cannock, Staffordshire, on 9 September 1711. Nothing is known of his life until the 1730s, when ...


Hall, Jacob (fl. 1662–1681), rope dancer and acrobat  

Daniel Hahn

Hall, Jacob (fl. 1662–1681), rope dancer and acrobat, became fashionable in London during the 1660s for his daring displays of agility on a tightrope. He performed at Bartholomew fair in Smithfield and other similar meeting places in the city where people from all walks of life would come to see varied and often spectacular entertainments. According to one source, on 22 February 1662 ...


Maddox, Anthony (d. 1758), slack-wire acrobat dancer, equilibrist, and entrepreneur  

Peter Thomson

Maddox, Anthony (d. 1758), slack-wire acrobat, was probably the son of James Maddox, a Bristol dancing-master, and his wife, a Miss Hoyle, who both died in 1744. There is no confident knowledge of his activities before the sudden notoriety of his début season at ...


Nervo, Jimmy [real name James Henry Holloway] (1897–1975), acrobat and comedian  

David Goldie

Nervo, Jimmy [real name James Henry Holloway] (1897–1975), acrobat and comedian, was born on 2 January 1897 at 3 Ashwin Street, Dalston, Hackney, London, the son of Captain George Holloway, circus owner, and his wife, Belvina Gee. Nervo was born into one of the great Victorian circus families and from earliest childhood was trained in the skills of wire-walking, juggling, acrobatics, and comedy. He made a solo appearance at the age of twelve at the ...


Violante [Larini], Signor (fl. 1727–1728), ropeslider  

Page Life

Violante [Larini], Signor (fl. 1727–1728), ropeslider, was probably from northern Italy. He was the husband of the famous rope-dancer Signora (or Madame) Violante (1682–1741). The Violantes (who also used the name Larini) had a daughter, Rosina, who married George Richard Estcourt Lupino (1710–1787)...


Violante [Larini], Signora (1682–1741), rope-dancer and theatre company manager  

Leslie du S. Read

Violante [Larini], Signora (1682–1741), rope-dancer and theatre company manager, was for some sixteen years from 1720 onwards a celebrity on the stages of London, Bristol, Dublin, Cork, and Edinburgh. Much is unknown or uncertain about this popular entertainer. Contemporary advertisements and reviews describe her as Italian, as does ...


Violante, Pauline [real name Selina Young] (b. 1840/41), tightrope walker  

Matthew Sweet

Violante, Pauline [real name Selina Young] (b. 1840/41), tightrope walker, was the second of the two daughters of Elizabeth Wild, actress, and a bandsman named Young. Her parents acted with Old Wild's, a company of travelling players from Yorkshire, but had left to marry by 1830. Trained as an acrobat, ...