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In the limelight: Joseph Grimaldi

Happy Birthday, Joey Grimaldi! Joseph Grimaldi was an English actor, comedian and dancer, who became the most popular English entertainer of the Regency era. He was acknowledged as the father of modern clowning and followed in a long tradition of (sanctioned) subversive clowning in the Feast of Fools and Mystery Plays.

Grimaldi also established key elements for the Christmas pantomime as we know it today. Find out more about Joey Grimaldi's life in the limelight (just as limelights were introduced into theatres) on a Trail of Discovery, created by volunteers Pauline and Mike Stewart. Click on the image below to open the trail





Our Societies support hundreds of local arts and heritage projects. Each day we highlight a grant given in 2021.  

The Arts Society Horsley Lovelace recently awarded a grant to West Horsley Place Trust, an independent charitable trust managing a Grade 1 listed mediaeval manor house and estate. The Trust aims to improve peoples' well-being through art, culture, heritage and nature. Arts Society Heritage Volunteers are also currently working in the house cleaning and cataloguing the library.

All donations from the Artvent Calendar will go towards The Arts Society’s grant giving fund, which awards grants to help preserve our artistic heritage, support the skills of artists and makers, and improve access to the arts for all.

Please click here to support projects like this one by making a Donation.


I had no previous knowledge about the life of Grimaldi (always assumed him to be Italian)! A worthwhile trail to follow at some point. Thank you once again for an interesting and enjoyable insight.

Margaret Sun, 19/12/2021 - 16:31 Permalink

There is a clown egg with my make-up on it in the collection - 'Uncle Tacko!'. I have also performed as Joseph Grimaldi on many occasions... including giving the opening address as Joey for the launch of the 'National Theatre of Variety' at Blackpool Grand Theatre & Opera House, in 2006.

Tony Lidington Sun, 19/12/2021 - 16:14 Permalink

Very interesting - knew nothing about Grimaldi before today.

Christine Callow Sat, 18/12/2021 - 17:08 Permalink

Thank you so interesting.

S. Hakin Sat, 18/12/2021 - 15:25 Permalink

Wonderful! Now longing to visit London to follow this trail.

Anna Simonsen Sat, 18/12/2021 - 15:18 Permalink

Very interesting. Thank you.

Margaret Lee Sat, 18/12/2021 - 14:51 Permalink

Absolutely fascinating - thank you.

Alan Rustage Sat, 18/12/2021 - 14:43 Permalink

Another fascinating insight into another world. Thank you so much for such a wonderful lead up to christmas.

Barbara p Sat, 18/12/2021 - 13:24 Permalink

Extremely interesting, especially as I grew up & went to school at The Angel, Islington but did not know about the Grimaldi connection. Will certainly be following up on the trail! Thank you.

Maggie Holden Sat, 18/12/2021 - 11:21 Permalink

An interesting Trail which I'd love to do. If anyone is visiting Great Yarmouth, the Yare Gallery, has a Circus Exhibition running until January 13th which includes a display of Clown Eggs.

Caroline Sat, 18/12/2021 - 09:00 Permalink