From Court to Kitsch:
Images of Ballet from the 17th to the 20th Century


Unknown dancers, Paris 1860s. Sepia photo on paper.

How did a royal pastime become synonymous with girls in tutus? From Court to Kitsch is a boutique exhibition showcasing illustrations of ballet from the 1660s to the modern post-war era. Enjoy this unique opportunity to view original etchings, costume designs, caricatures and photographs featuring ballet’s early stars, from Auguste Vestris to Marie Taglioni, plus surprising stars you’ve never met before!

From Court to Kitsch charts the changing image of the ballet dancer, from royal artiste to consumer goods adornment, exploring how fame, commerce and social attitudes have shaped our imaginings of ballet—and our beliefs about ballet’s status as ‘art’.

Presented as part of the Castlemaine State Festival’s Open Studio program, the exhibition invites you to meander from the living room to the hallway, past the celebrities of Britain’s first golden age of ballet, through the heyday of the Romantic era, via the buxom belles of musical halls and post-war swap card beauties.

Download the exhibition flyer

Dates: 17-26 March 2017 (closed 21, 22 & 23 except by appointment) 10am to 4pm. 
Venue: 107C Farnsworth Street, Castlemaine, Victoria.
Admission: Gold coin donation
Contact: (03) 5470 5876 or

Our premises is a 10-minute walk from the Castlemaine Railway Station and a short stroll from the historic Old Gaol and Governor’s Cafe. The venue is also close to The Mill arts and boutique complex, including the popular Kaffeehaus opposite Castlemaine’s botanic gardens. Please visit  ‘Coming to Castlemaine’  for more information on getting here.

Tip: Drivers, if you are doing a ‘crawl’ of Open Studio venues, you may like to use the convenient streetside carparks by Catherine Pilgrim’s studio at 87 Farnsworth Street, and take the short stroll to our venue.

Children and toddlers: The exhibition isn’t suitable for young children, but is definitely mind-expanding for intermediate and senior ballet students.
Ballet husbands and partners: Yes, this exhibition is definitely suitable for chaps. Ladies, please encourage your partners to come along. This exhibition includes some very curvaceous beauties at the end!
Disability access: Unfortunately the premises is not wheelchair accessible, but with just three steps at the front it should be manageable for those using walkers.

Don’t forget to bring your glasses or magnifiers! Many of the images on display contain fine detail.