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Andrew Ducrow

Andrew Ducrow (1793–1842) was a British circus performer, often called the "Father of British circus equestrianism" and "the Colossus of equestrians" he was the originator of horsemanship acts and proprietor of the Astley’s Amphitheatre. Ducrow was trained by his father who had immigrated to England from Belgium in 1793. The "Courier of St. Petersburg", his most famous act, was the forerunner to modern horse acts and is still performed today at equestrian events.

Ducrow performed within the United Kingdom and in Europe, including in famous venues such as Convent Garden and Drury Lane. He is most famous for being the proprietor of Astley’s Amphitheatre, where he was also the chief performer. Referred to by some as "the Chippendale's of his day", Ducrow and his sons would dress in "fleshings" (flesh coloured body stockings) and would perform physique poses posed as plastiques while standing upon the rumps of white stallions which could carry them round the amphitheater several times.

The shows proved immensely popular. Unfortunately, the Astley's Amphitheater succumb three times to fire. After the third time in 1841, Ducrow collapsed from a mental breakdown and died shortly thereafter.

Ducrow is buried in the Princely Avenue at Kensal Green Cemetery in London, England near the tomb of the Duke of Sussex, one of the most desirable burial plots of the time. His tomb is one of the largest and most decorated tombs within the cemetery. The decoration is primarily pagan, being drawn from Greek and Egyptian sources. There is no Christian-inspired decoration. The tomb was designed by Ducrow's theatrical designer and originally was brightly painted in pastel hues to attract the eye. These have faded over time.

File:Mausoleum for Andrew Ducrow -Kensal Green Cemetery -5July2006.jpg
Mausoleum for Andrew Ducrow in Kensal Green Cemetery, London


  • The Victorian Way of Death from Body Snatching to Burning, BBC Video Documentary, 2009.

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