the Pipe and Tabor compendium

the Pipe and Tabor compendium

essays on the three-hole pipe

Europe history: Street entertainers

dancing dogs
[with other animals)


Pipe and tabor players used animals to attract the public:

“ …As dancing dogs make oafs and children swarm,
Dress, mien, demeanour all in human form —
As monkeys, reared erect on paws or breech,
Well mimic man in all but laugh and speech —
Or as from street to street queer camel's shown,
From other beasts by pipe and tabor known,…”

The Tribulations of an Uneducated Poet in the 1760s’ by James Woodhouse

1050-12001050-1200 monkey on a chain held by taborer, Dienné, France
1220-12401220-1240 Italian (Sicily) image illustrating
a translated early Egyptian manuscript 12v
12501250 Bruges, Belgium 12801280 France
  end 13th centuryend 13th century Artois, France 13th or 14th century13th/14th century Cambrai, France

1300-13251325 Flanders

  13251325 horn and bell, Cologne, Germany
  1324-281324-28 dancing monkey, France f.76r 1350-14001350-1400 Burgundy or S. Netherlands f13
copy of 1220-1240 Italian (Sicily) image
medievalunknown medieval 14451445 Lille, France 14801480 Tournai or Lille, Belgium or France
  unknown1500 underside of plate, Holland

1500 Lubeck, Germany: 'On the broad side of the larger silver knife of a set of daggers there is a minstrel with a one-handed flute and a drum, accompanied by a dancing dog.
 Length of the knife: 17 cm.'

  15001500 Flemish
15051505 Bible, France
15101510 part of wood screen in chapel
Normandy, France
  1525-15501525-1550 Valenciennes, France

17th century17th century Italy, child [with hurdy gurdy adult]


17531753 Italy [plate no. 54  -
"it amuses me to make these dogs dance..." ]

1765 Portugal wall tiles18th century Portugal wall tiles
1750-801750-80 tapestry, France late 18th centurylate 18th century playbill  
17751775 Germany
unknown dateunknown date
1786 1791 1792 The French Family  
17921792 Switzerland (with dogs and monkey) 1794 France after a painting by Taunay 1796
17971797 [ in colour here ] 18th centuryused as the design for a porcelain plate  

before 1802before 1802 France

18121812 France  

early 19th centuryearly 19th century France

1817 Italy 'Wandering musician with monkey'

A young boy plays the one-handed flute (long instrument, labium) and drum. At his feet sits a monkey with a collar and leash.

  1822 19th century19th century France
1822 1828
1824 18481828 London
18251825 England

1825 children's story “…she had just heard the sound
of a pipe and tabor ; upon which they both ran to the
window, when, to their great surprise, they saw from
it a dancing Bear, and three or four dancing Dogs,
who were dressed in the most ridiculous manner possible….bid the man go away with his dancing
beasts, for they did not like such cruel sports.”

  1826, London, 'Plaintiff Bumpkin, and Defendant Ape': description of a court case :1826 Oxford University and City Herald - Saturday 21 January 1826
1829 1829Library of Entertaining Knowledge, Volume 27
by Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge (Great Britain)

1831 newspaper report 'Italian Boys'
“The following curious particulars connected with this tribe of travelling mendicants, and their mode of living,
will, we have no doubt, prove interesting to our readers….charges made by the proprietors upon the juvenile crew :—

For dancing dogs, four in number, including dresses, spinning wheel, pipe and tabor, &c. 5s. per day."

The Mirror of Literature, Amusement, and Instruction 1831-11-19: Vol 18 Iss 519

  18331833 school interuptedBlackwood's Edinburgh magazine, Volume 20
  Goose Game1834 Goose Game Holland

18341834 ‘The Literary Tablet’ 1834-03-15: Vol 2 Iss 25


1840 satire1840Palmerston as a taborer, the dancing dogs are Austria and Prussia

18401840dancing dogs with pandean pipes and drum player
1840 comment on satire 1840Morning Post - Monday 16 November 1840

1851 'London Street Amusements'
“We also miss the dancing dog, and the accompanying
 pipe and tabor.  These the New Police Act seems to have
driven away, for they are only to be met with now
in the country. …”

The Goulburn Herald and County of Argyle Advertiser
(NSW : 1848 - 1859) Saturday 8 February 1851 - Page 1

1852magazine reportLeisure Hour Monthly Vol 1 page 314 1850's1850's Germany, dancing dogs with a dancing bear
©Victoria & Albert Museum, London
18651865 York Museums Trust VictorianVictorian

19th century19th century Provence, France

1849-18811849-1881 children's illustration, France 1881-19001881-1900 goose game, children's illustration France
Spainin Spain 18791879 Barcelona, Spain, page 198
VictorianVictorian, Holland
19th century19th century France
VictorianVictorian, Holland

1874 trial account for THOMAS GEORGE SELMAN. Breaking Peace; wounding:

“the black man goes by the name of "Snipe," he has dancing dogs…on 14th February, near 4 o'clock,
I went to the Sun, and found the prisoner there—the black man came in after me, and was performing with a doll…”

Proceedings of the Central Criminal Court, London, 2nd March 1874, t18740302-224

1881 story 1881 storyReynolds's Newspaper - Sunday 10 July 1881. Also called the 'Dead Fair' here
18831883 Spain unknown
VictorianVictorian pandean pipes and dogs
unknown date
1886 1887 Christmas card1887 Christmas card

1897 story: dancing monkey entertained in the street:

..." a jackanapes he had seen once at the Stratford fair, which wore a crimson jerkin and a cap.
The man who had the jackanapes played upon a pipe and a tabor; and when he said, "Dance!"
the jackanapes danced, for it was sorely afraid of the man.”

'Master Skylark' a novel by John Bennett


top of page