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Lola Montez

In their own words

Lola Montez
Audio: 2 minutes

A notice of my performance of the Spider Dance at the Theatre Royal last evening, appeared in this morning’s edition of The Argus, couched in such language as to render it imperative on me to reply to it.

The piety and ultra-puritanism of The Argus might possibly operate to prevent the insertion of a letter in their columns bearing my signature, and therefore I address myself to you, relying on your sense of justice to publish this communication, in fairness to myself and the public.

The dance in question is essentially a national one, and is witnessed with delight in Spain by all classes and both the sexes, from the Queen to the pensioner. I am not the inventor or originator of the dance in question, but simply the delineator of a great national spectacle.

I do not perform the dance to minister to any morbid taste for immoral representations. I have always looked upon it as a work of high art, and on artistic grounds alone I appear before the Melbourne public, as I have appeared in the same character before the most distinguished audiences in the world. And I throw back with scorn the insinuation of The Argus that I in this dance come forward to pander to a morbid taste for indelicate representations. Theirs is the indelicacy who look at any work of art with an arriere pensee in their minds; let them remember that the symbol of innocence is the statue of Eve, and that since the days when Eve surveyed herself in the fountain, works of art, however portrayed, have by their very character been saved from the ribaldry of the licentious or uninitiated; par example, the Venus de’ Medici and Powers’ Greek Slave.

Acknowledgements

Montez, Lola (1855) Letter to the editor, The Courier, 25 September 1855, Hobart

Attribution

Voiced by Natasha Vickery

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You beauty

Magazine article by Joanna Gilmour, 2010

Joanna Gilmour explores the fact and fictions surrounding the legendary life of Irish-born dancer Lola Montez.

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The National Portrait Gallery acknowledges the Traditional Custodians of Country throughout Australia and recognises the continuing connection to lands, waters and communities. We pay our respect to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander cultures and to Elders past and present. We respectfully advise that this site includes works by, images of, names of, voices of and references to deceased people.

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