Life of a Clown
Joseph Grimaldi was a comedian and a clown, born 18 December 1778.
He died on 31 May 1837 a humble man, barely able to walk as his years of performing as a clown had taken their toll on his body. However, his dedication to his clowning has not been forgotten. Indeed, his pioneering and creative impact was such that he is widely recognised as the inventor of the modern clown. Specifically, he invented the modern day white-faced clown, and I found this quote about him, by Andrew Stott, which comments on his experimentation with make-up:
“Day after day he sat before the mirror, brush in hand, marking his features, wiping them clean, and starting again, until finally a face emerged from the candlelight that bore a grin so incendiary it refused to be erased.”
A tribute to this great man, in the form of a memorial service, takes place on the first Sunday in February each year, just a stones throw from the Battle Rock as it happens – at the Holy Trinity church on Beechwood Road. After missing the service last year (bad planning…), I was delighted to be asked to attend this year to get some photos for the Hackney Gazette.
You can read a little more about the service in this week’s edition, but to give you a flavour I’ve included a few photos below…