Search This Blog

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Roll Up, Roll Up!

Images via Windham Fabrics

I've been doing a lot of work on circus lately so it was a lovely surprise to see an article about circus history (and puppetry, toy theatres, pantomime and the Ballets Russes) in the recent Selvedge magazine. One of the things they mentioned was this incredible range of fabrics inspired by the circus poster collection at the Shelburne Museum in Vermont, and made by Windham Fabrics. Aren't they just gorgeous? A bit of digging also led me to this fascinating story about how the Museum acquired some of its nineteenth century posters. They were pasted to the side of a house in 1883 when the circus came to town and found during renovations in 1991 (they had been covered over and protected from the environment). If you're at all interested in how paper conservators go about there business you can find out more here.


  1. I dream of finds like that, urban archeology is soooo exciting.
    Thanks for the link, will make for an interesting read tonight.

  2. What a lovely posting's beautiful and the Shelburne Museum sounds amazing and it's fascinating about the paper conservators.

    I recently read an article in the barbers whilst Ahmad was having a haircut about an 1940's/50's style circus that's been established in the UK....I was tempted to ask if I could keep the article but didn't and wish I had now because I've not been able to find any information about the company.

    I do know that vintage circus weddings are all the race at the moment though complete with handle bar moustaches for both bride and groom!!

  3. I love dropping by here ... there's always something unique to see (and I always learn something different).

    I adore those fabrics ... they are absolutely beautiful!! :D
    They certainly make me want to run away and join the circus ... ;)

  4. I'm so glad you all enjoyed this post. There's just something about the circus that makes your imagination run isn't there? I'm working on an online circus project for schools at the moment so when it's up and running I'll send you the link. I might also do some more museum/urban archaeology postings from time to time too to keep things interesting.

  5. Deb, hope you find that article one day - it sounds fascinating (as do the vintage circus weddings!).

  6. Oh, wow. I'm SO glad it was those people who found it- imagine if some renovation company had stormed in and dismissed them as useless crap and torn the boards down or painted over them! :-o
    That conservator has his work cut out for him!
    I love how there was a poster-slapping-over war between rival circuses!

  7. Amazing fabrics and such a great history story!
    My dad grew up in Malaysia and used to grow sugarcane, which would all be devoured by the elephant when the circus came to town as they camped in the park next to his house! They got free tickets to the circus though so he didn't mind.

  8. Would love to see more urban archeology postings.....sounds really interesting...

  9. Thanks Fourth Daughter. Imagine having a circus pull up right next to your house! I'm sure it would be exciting the first time it happened but perhaps I'm sure the sequins would lose some of their shimmer as the years went by;)

    Many and Deb, I'll try and find some more interesting urban archaeology stories for us to wonder at over the next few months...