Gallini, Giovanni Andrea Battista (DNB00)

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GALLINI, GIOVANNI ANDREA BATTISTA, called Sir John (1728–1805), dancing-master, born at Florence on 7 Jan. 1728, emigrated to England in an almost destitute condition about 1753, in which year he made his debut at the Opera House, Haymarket, as a ballet-dancer, and achieved a remarkable and rapid success, so that the next season he was appointed principal dancer, and soon afterwards director of the dances, and finally stage-manager of that theatre. He also acquired great vogue as a dancing-master, and in that capacity was admitted into the house of the third Earl of Abingdon, where he won the heart of the earl's eldest daughter, Lady Elizabeth Peregrine Bertie, whom he married, though when or where remains uncertain. She had, however, assumed the name of Gallini in 1766, when (13 Oct.) she gave birth to two sons (Gent. Mag. 1766, p. 494). She lived for some years with Gallini on terms of affection, but they afterwards agreed to live separate. She died on 17 Aug. 1804. During a tour in Italy Gallini so delighted the pope by his dancing that he was honoured with the knighthood of the Golden Spur, on the strength of which, though it conferred no right to the prefix, Gallini, on his return to England, assumed and was popularly conceded to have the title of Sir. By a fire which, on the night of 27 June 1789, destroyed the London Opera House, Gallini lost 400,000l. He is said to have advanced 300,000l. towards the rebuilding of it in the Italian style. Soon after the completion of the edifice he retired from the management, and the remainder of his life he spent in teaching dancing. He built the Hanover Square concert rooms, in part of which he resided until his death, which occurred suddenly in the morning of 5 Jan. 1805. Through his wife he acquired the manors of Hampstead Norris and Yattendon in Berkshire. There is a mural tablet in Yattendon church to his memory and that of his wife.

Gallini published: 1. 'A Treatise on the Art of Dancing,' London, 1762, 1765, 1772, 2 vols. 8vo (largely borrowed, with scant acknowledgment, from Louis de Cahusac's 'La Danse Ancienne et Moderne,' 3 tom., The Hague, 1754, 12mo). 2. 'Critical Observations on the Art of Dancing; to which is added a Collection of Cotillons, or French Dances,' London, 1770? 8vo.

[Collins's Peerage (Brydges), iii. 634; Gent. Mag. 1804 p. 795, 1805 p. 90; Notes and Queries, 2nd ser. ix. 147, 290; Doran's Knights and their Days. p. 472; Hist. of Newbury, 1839, p. 228; Watt's Bibl. Brit.]

J. M. R.