Music sheet cover, 'The Dolly Varden Polka'

Music sheet cover, 'The Dolly Varden Polka'

Music sheet cover
'The Dolly Varden Polka'
Printed by Stannard and Son
Mid to late 19th century
Drury Lane Theatre, London
Museum no. S.170-2012
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London

This music sheet cover illustrates 'The Dolly Varden Polka', performed in a production at Drury Lane theatre by dancers wearing 'Dolly Varden' dresses. In the 1870s the style of ladies' dress called the polonaise became popular again a hundred years after the original 18th century fashion. The polonaise was an overdress or open jacket cut away from the waist down revealing an underskirt beneath. One form of the polonaise was known as the Dolly Varden, after Charles Dickens's fictional 18th-century heroine, Dolly Varden in Barnaby Rudge, who was known for her rather flashy clothes.