Countess of Coventry's March
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COUNTESS OF COVENTRY'S MARCH. English, Country Dance Tune (2/4 time). D Major. Standard tuning (fiddle). AABB. The melody was first published in John Hinton's Universal Magazine of Knowledge and Pleasure (London, 1753). Subsequently it appeared in John Johnson's 200 Favourite Country Dances, vol. 7 (London, 1756), and Charles and Samuel Thompson's 1757 country dance collection. The tune honors the beautiful Maria Gunning Coventry (1733–1760), a nexus of society in the city during the reign of King George II. Maria was born in Ireland, but took London society by storm, along with her sister Elizabeth, and both sisters married well (Maria to the 6th Earl of Coventry and Elizabeth to the Duke of Hamilton). Maria died young, the victim of toxic poisoning from the lead in her cosmetics, which she used liberally. See note for "Miss Gunning's Fancy (Reel)" for more on the sisters.
Source for notated version:
John Hinton, The Universal Magazine of Knowledge and Pleasure, vol. 13, 1753 (Supplement); p. 321.
Thompson (Compleat Collection of 200 Favourite Country Dances, vol. 1), 1757; No. 75.