First Night Design | Interval at the Circus

First Night Design

Interval at the CircusInterval at the Circus © First Night Design – available as prints, posters & cards at Fine Art America

Forget Ancient Rome, often cited as the origin of circus entertainment. A certain Englishman, Philip Astley (1742 – 1814), who had been a sergeant major in the Cavalry, was responsible for the entertainment we know today. It was Astley who found that if he galloped in circles he could produce such a centrifugal force that it enabled him to perform extraordinary stunts upon the horse and thus outdo other trick riders of the day.

Philip AstleyPhilip Astley

Astley performed in public for the first time on 9th January, 1768. He was so successful that he gathered other equestrians to him and, later, acrobats, musicians, tumblers, clowns, tightrope walkers and so forth. Ultimately, he covered the land on which he had formed his ‘ring’ in an area of London’s Waterloo to create Astley’s Amphitheatre. Circus was born, although the term would…

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