C1851

American and French Equestrians at Drury-Lane TheatreMr. McCollum's Feat on Two Horses

C.19th engraving of Thomas M’Collum the American rider doing his feat of riding with two horses and pirouetting and somersaulting. In June 1851 the Manager and Lease Holder of Drury Lane, James Anderson, (who had taken over the Theatre in … Read Full Description

$A 45

S/N: ILN-CIRCUS-510809–411529
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Details

Full Title:

American and French Equestrians at Drury-Lane TheatreMr. McCollum’s Feat on Two Horses

Date:

C1851

Artist:

Unknown

Condition:

In good condition.

Technique:

Engraving.

Image Size: 

225mm 
x 174mm
AUTHENTICITY
American and French Equestrians at Drury-Lane TheatreMr. McCollum's Feat on Two Horses - Antique Print from 1851

Genuine antique
dated:

1851

Description:

C.19th engraving of Thomas M’Collum the American rider doing his feat of riding with two horses and pirouetting and somersaulting.

In June 1851 the Manager and Lease Holder of Drury Lane, James Anderson, (who had taken over the Theatre in 1849 hoping to profit from the Great Exhibition in London) retired from the Theatre’s management due to debts of well over £5,000. To keep the Theatre open it was converted for a 4 month season for Circus use.

The Illustrated London News reported on the Circus season at Drury Lane in their 9th of August 1851 edition, along with the sketch shown above, saying:- ‘The star riders continue attractive, and the public crowd the theatre to award the prize of their plaudits to the French and American competitors. But by far the most astonishing miracle-worker of the number is an American equestrian, Thomas M’Collum by name, whose feats with two horses are the most remarkable examples of pirouetting and somersaulting that we ever witnessed. While the horses are proceeding with the upmost rapidity, he describes several curves in the air repeatedly and comes down safely on their backs, having meanwhile composed a leap over a flag. We present our readers with an illustration. Others might have been given of still greater beauty and daring, exerting wonder at the rider’s agility and the training of the noble animals that so implicitly obey the master’s volition. The excitement of these exhibitions is exceedingly great; and they have, indeed, in them a certain poetry of their own, calculated to affect the stable mind with a sense of beauty; and this is something. If the highest dramatic poetry be necessarily banished from the Drury Lane stage, owing to the fault of the proprietary, in omitting to fit the machinery for scenic purposes, so as to make its occupation safe to an honest speculator, we see no reason why this equestrian spectacular poetry may not be substituted, until the requisite duty behind the scenes be performed by those who have this Temple of the Muses in trust, but neglect to discharge the obligation implied in their direction. If the intellect cannot be addressed, surely, if they can, the senses may, so that moral decorum be not violated. But the fact should not be concealed that the present condition of the building is a national disgrace. The equestrian arrangements have been admirably prepared; and considerable credit is due for them to Mr Risley, who, we understand, is the manager of the entire performances.’ – The Illustrated London News. 9th of August 1851, kindly transcribed by Alfred Mason.

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