The bells in my brain kept jangling until I recalled the companion figure that I had seen back in 2012 in another collection. Sadly, the chances of uniting this pair are remote as neither owner is inclined to part!
Hunts on the circus stage? Yes, they really happened! Reenactments of hunts were popular circus fanfare, and women participated. Playbill offerings of 1793 advertised a fox hunt that utilized dozens of dogs and two foxes, as well as a reenactment of the royal stag hunt at Windsor that included a stag and “Ten Male and Three Female Equestrians” with “the Stag … Twice, and the Horsemen and Horsewomen Five Times, in FULL VIEW.” Such hunts afforded glamorous equestriennes ample opportunity to strut their stuff.
In his memoir, the showman Jacob Decastro tells that he never forgot going to the Royal Circus in his youth where “a real stag-hunt was brought out, and Miss Romanzini (now Mrs. Bland) sung a hunting song on horseback in the middle of the ring.” Close your eyes and imagine what a spine-tingling experience that must have been--and then look at these equestrians and know that you are gazing at the past.