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Pavlova dancing by Joseph Syddall

Pavlova dancing by Joseph Syddall

I’ve always been interested in Joseph Syddall’s paintings and I always go to see displays of his work when they are exhibited at Chesterfield Museum, but this one is definitely my favourite. Pavlova is brought to life in this painting and her joy in dancing is clear in her face.


Ana Pavlova often danced at the Palace Theatre in London and it’s possible that Syddall saw her there as he also painted the Theatre. His companion Annea Spong was also a dancer who also taught the Modern Dance Movement style, which is still taught today.

Joseph Syddall was born in Old Whittington in 1864. His artistic talent was recognised by Mary Swanwick who sponsored his place at the Herkomer Institute in Bushey. Sydall was one of the students Sir Hubert von Herkomer chose to illustrate Tess of the d’Urbervilles when it appeared in the graphic magazine.

Alyson - tourism, museums and events manager

Last updated on 02 December 2022