This poster advertises a performance by an apparently intellectual goose, controlled by its master, magician Nicholas Hoare. Hoare assures the reader that he has spent 'Seven Years in perfecting this Bird' so as to astonish the general public with its learnedness. Nicholas Hoare had already made quite a career training animals to perform in his magic shows: his previous charge ‘Toby, The Sapient Pig’ had become so wildly successful in the 1810s that he even published his own autobiography – apparently by choosing letters from the alphabet and having his owner write them down. Indeed, the trend for ‘intellectual’ animals had been a Europe-wide novelty for almost a century.
The act here would have involved Mr Hoare asking the audience to set the goose a question, which, by means of strategically organised cue cards, the goose would proceed to answer by pointing to the correct card, or picking it up in its beak.