Poster advertising the exhibition of a mermaid and Toby, the performing pig

Description

‘Learned pigs’ and other apparently gifted animals (including horses and even geese) were displayed in Britain from the 17th century onwards. Perhaps the most famous of these though was Toby the ‘Sapient Pig’, who gained fame early in the 19th century for his apparent ability to carry out a range of intelligent tasks. These included playing cards, reading, telling the time from a pocket watch, guessing a person’s age and – somewhat enigmatically – being able to ‘discover a person’s thoughts’. Toby toured Britain extensively with his owner Nicholas Hoare who (perhaps unsurprisingly) turned out to be a skilful illusionist. Nevertheless, Toby caused something of a sensation throughout the country, visiting fairs, shows and pleasure gardens, and in 1817 even published his own ‘autobiography’ in which he recounted the history of his ‘uncommon talents’.

Full title:
from Collectanea: or, A collection of advertisements and paragraphs from the newspapers, relating to various subjects. Publick exhibitions and places of amusement
Published:
estimated 1823
Format:
Poster / Ephemera / Print / Image
Creator:
Unknown
Usage terms
Public Domain
Held by
British Library
Shelfmark:
C.103.k.11. vol 21

Full catalogue details

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