Scenes From Bartholomew’s Fair

I have at last got to the end of this tome, and want to share with you some of the line drawings from it. Some are too strange for even me to make sense out of, but here goe with some of the rest:

Some strange animals – a 6 legged ram, and a unicorn ram:

There were lots of shows claiming animals with extraordinary intelligence, the most famous and long lasting was the learned pig which often toured the country. This is Toby the Learned Pig that appeared in 1817 and again in 1833 as the “Unrivalled Chinese Swinish Philosopher” who could spell, read and cast accounts, tell the points of the sun’s rising and setting, discover the four grand divisions of the Earth, perform blindfold with 20 handkerchiefs over his eyes, tell the hour, tell a card, or the age of any party.

In competition with him was the Amazing Pig of Knowledge, who could do acocunts and read peoples’ minds.

Signor Cappelli had a show in the 1830s of learned Cats who could beat a drum, turn a spit, ground knives, played music, stuck an anvil, roasted coffee, rang bells, and one obeyed orders in French or Italian. I want one of these. He also had a Wonderful Dog that played dominoes

There were shows that would not be acceptable today, such as “The Beautiful Spotted Negro Boy” who later appeared in Richardson’s theatre.

Mr Simon Paap, the celebrated Dutch Dwarf was 26 years old, weighed 27 pounds and was only 28 inches high. He was presented to the Royal and the Lord Mayor family in 1815. Over 4 days he was seen by an alleged 20,000 people:

One of the most famous shows around 1814 was he Fireproof  Lady, Madam Giradelli. she put melted lead in her mouth, spat it out with her teeth marks, passed red hot iron over her body and limbs, tongue and hair, thrust her arm into fire, washed her hands in boiling lead, boiling oil and aquafortis.

This is some head gear from the time that looks almost as painful:

This is a gingerbread seller:

And here are some of the rides and shows:

This is possibly the only man who has ever made a living from his head (I am only quoting from the book):

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