Islington clowns mark 'father of modern clowning' Grimaldi's death
- Credit: Polly Hank
Clowns gathered to lay a wreath at the grave of Joseph Grimaldi - the first person to ever don the red lips and nose they copy today - to mark 184 years since his death.
Frosty, Gingernutt, Jolly Jack, PJ, and Mattie made their annual visit to the courtyard of the St James Chapel in Pentonville Road, known as Grimaldi Park, and the tombstone of the man christened the father of modern clowning.
The unique grave plays music when you touch its tiles, to the tune of ‘Hot Codlins’, the song Grimaldi immortalised through his pantomime performances.
Grimaldi, who started out treading the boards at Finsbury’s Sadler’s Wells Theatre and lived in Islington all his life, was born in 1778 and became the the Regency era's most popular entertainer, before his death on May 31, 1837, aged 58.
He was the first to use the make up to extenuate his facial expressions, and clowns are often called ‘Joeys’ after their famous namesake's clown character.