Poster advertising Mr Baker's Midget
Printer: Upton, James
Medium: Lithograph, coloured
From a modern perspective, one of the most distasteful spectacles of the Victorian era is the trend for 'freak shows' or 'theatres of the grotesque'. It should be said, however, that not all of the audience for such shows had purely voyeuristic intentions. Events like this one were attended by many doctors and professional people, almost as a kind of informal education in anatomy or uncommon congenital traits.
For the performers' part, they were very often treated exceptionally well by circus or variety managers. Because of their unusual physical traits or abilities, they had instant job mobility, and managers were loathe to upset them lest they join another troupe. An act such as 'Mr Baker's Lilliputian Wonder', advertised here, would very likely have been paid more than many of his counterparts.