Barnum and Bailey 1893 Columbian Exposition Poster
Described as "The Grandest and Most Colossal Spectacle of all time, depicting with historical truth and accuracy, with the life, trials, discoveries and triumphs of Christopher Columbus", this presentation by Barnum & Bailey of the Imre Kiralfy production of “Columbus and the Discovery of America” had its first run in 1892, and then was repeated in 1893 and 1897, and surely was a tribute and contemporary of the infamous Columbian Exposition of 1893 in Chicago. It was a theatrical spectacle with a chorus of over 30 singers strong, over 50 ballet dancers, and all taking place on the biggest stage ever constructed. This poster, mounted on heavy linen and measuring an awesome 31 x 80”, is a visually stunning narrative which follows, from top to bottom, Columbus’ fruitful association with Spain’s King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella, from his birth in Genoa, Italy, to his discovery of the New World, and ultimately his death in Spain and final resting place in Havana, Cuba. A treat for the eyes, this advertisement is immaculate, and with bright yellows and festive reds, a lively parchment. Mounted on linen, otherwise NRMT. Although P.T. Barnum died only two years prior to this show’s premiere, his taste for extravagance is illustrated overwhelmingly on this fine poster.