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In Design
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By sue

le cirque: vintage french circus posters

On 01, Jun 2011 | In Design, History, Selected Posts | By sue

Today’s obsession: this Flickr collection of late 1800s-early 1900s circus and theater posters. I love the flamboyant designs, bold colors, animated drawing style, and most of all, the absolutely ridiculous acts (I mean, The Marvelous Foot Silhouettist?).

My favorites below.

circus poster les canadas

Dezano the Man Serpent and Ferry the Human Frog:

circus poster dezano the man serpent

The Mysteries of French Masonry Unveiled, and Capitaine Costentenus, “Tattoed with 325 pictures of animals at the order of Yakoob-Beg, chief of the Tartars.”

circus poster les mysteres de la franc-maconnerie

Love everything about this poster. The sinister-looking performers, the typography, the patterned background, the color choices…perfect.

circus poster the original phoites

The talented Emma Jutau and Ethardo:

circus poster emma jutau

I wonder if these were real conjoined twins or just two girls in one dress:

circus poster the eighth wonder of the world

The Marvelous Foot Silhouettist and a mysterious Spider Lady. I would really like to have seen what the “Spider Lady” looked like in real life. A really small person curled up in a spider costume? Perplexing.

circus poster the marvellous foot-silhouettist

And another instance where I can’t imagine what the actual act looked like. Or maybe little imps did carry off Zoe’s lower half every night.

circus poster mystere zoe

Ilka de Mynn and Gaspary the Aerial Gun:

circus poster folies bergere ilka de mynn

A lovely Mother Goose poster:

circus poster drury lane pantomine mother goose

Check out DoubleM2’s Flickr for lots more great vintage images.

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