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1930s British portraiture by renowned photographer Edwin Smith

1936, Fairground, Mitcham, London IMAGE: © EDWIN SMITH/RIBA LIBRARY PHOTOGRAPHS COLLECTION

Photographer Charles Eisenmann began photographing portraits of show people from dime museums in the 1870s. While photographing “ordinary” people in the basic conventional form, Eisenmann continued working on his archive of “freaks” throughout the 1870s and 80s, which he sold in the cabinet style as collectables.

‘Lord’ George Sanger was the most successful circus entrepreneur of the 19th century. An eccentric millionaire notorious for being a smart dresser, Sanger was instantly recognisable by his shiny top hat and diamond tie pin.

Leona Dare (1854/55 – May 23/24, 1922[1]) was an American trapeze artist and aerial acrobat, billed often as the "Queen of the Antilles" or the "Pride of Madrid".

Vintage circus photo postcard, RPPC, Claire Heliot, Lion Tamer, and lions, 1899

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