Victorian Circus Posters

Against the 'Gradgrindian' treatment of people as cogs in a machine, Dickens sets the powers of fantasy. He was always fascinated by fairgrounds and theatres, where the human imagination was set free: for the residents of Coketown, delight is found only in Sleary's circus. These mid-19th century circus posters are evidence of the colour and craft that these kinds of affordable popular entertainment brought to people's lives. Shows offered magnificent escapism in the form of performing animals, acrobats, illusionists, strongmen and women being shot out of cannons.