Captain Gronow knew and admired the Austrian dancer Fanny Elssler (1810-1884). Here, from his Reminiscences, is his commentary on her:
In 1822 I saw this beautiful person for the first time. She was originally one of the figurantes at the opera at Vienna, and was at this time about fourteen years of age, and of delicate and graceful proportions. Her hair was auburn, her eyes blue and large, and her face wore an expression of great tenderness. Some years after the Duke of Reichstadt, the son of the great Napoleon, was captivated with her beauty; in a word, he became her acknowledged admirer, while her marvellous acting and dancing drew around her all the great men of the German court. The year following she went to Naples, where a brother of the King fell desperately in love with her. Mademoiselle Elssler went soon afterwards to Paris, where her wit electrified all the fashionable world, and her dancing and acting in the Diable Boiteux made the fortune of the entrepreneur. In London her success was not so striking; but her cachucha will long be remembered, as one of the most exquisite exhibitions of female grace and power ever seen at her Majesty’s Theatre, and in expressiveness, her pantomimic powers were unrivalled.
Fanny Elssler, 1836