|The Amateur Circus at Nutley|
by American Peter Newell (1862 - 1924)
If you look closely inside the ring you can see Annie Oakley on horseback.
"In 1894, Annie Oakley and Henry Cuyler Bunner, a renowned author and editor of the famous Puck magazine, spearheaded a community effort to benefit the American Red Cross with a performance of the Nutley Amateur Circus." The circus was unique as residents of Nutley volunteered as performers and roustabouts.
Description of the artwork :
Black ink, gray wash, and gouache on illustration board.
"A gentleman wearing a hat and spectacles stands before a hoop held by two clowns. The scene depicted in the center of the hoop is of Annie Oakley, standing on horseback, giving a demonstration of her shooting ability. Outside the hoop are other scenes of circus acts such as acrobats, fencing, an animal on horseback, and a dancing bear. Newell's drawing illustrates an article reporting on an amateur circus performed by the residents of Nutley, New Jersey to raise funds for the establishment of a branch of the Red Cross Association. Their star performer was Nutley's celebrated resident, Annie Oakley."
Published in "Harper's Weekly", 31 March 1894. Exhibited at Library of Congress, "They Made Them Laugh and Wince and Worry," 1977-1982.
Annie Oakley was famous in her life time as a woman sharp shooter and performer. Her amazing shooting talent first came to light when at 15 she won a shooting match with traveling show marksman Frank E. Butler. She married him in 1876 and they joined Buffalo Bill's Wild West show a few years later. Oakley became a renowned international star, performing before royalty and heads of state. She said:
“After traveling through fourteen foreign countries and appearing before all the royalty and nobility I have only one wish today. That is that when my eyes are closed in death that they will bury me back in that quiet little farm land where I was born.”