2018 MARKED the 250th anniversary of the circus. In celebration, an exhibition which highlights diversity and complexity within the circus was co-curated by Professor Vanessa Toulmin, chair of Early Film and Popular Entertainment in the University of Shefield’s School of English and one of the world’s leading circus historians.
The exhibition, Circus! Show of Shows, was at Weston Park Museum, Sheffield, with women and black circus performers being its main theme.
One of more than 200 exhibits is Pablo Fanque, the black equestrian performer who in the 1800s was the first recorded black circus proprietor in Britain, who ran his circus for 30 years.
The centrepiece of the exhibition, however, was Hilaire-Germain-Edgar Degas’ breathtaking Miss La La at the Cirque Fernando, one of the world’s most famous circus paintings, on loan from The National Gallery, London…
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