By: The Donaldson Litho.
Date: 1914 (circa) Newport, KY
Dimensions: 26.25 x 40 inches (66.5 x 101.5 cm)
A rare chromolithograph broadside poster promoting the Tompkins Real Wild West show by The Donaldson Litho. circa 1914, this poster identified as #3264. The artistry and printing technique used to make this work is so action-packed and vibrant that you can almost hear the scene that is presented.
This is a scene of a cattle drive, featuring a group of cowboys wrangling by lassoing steer around their horns, heads, and hooves before pulling taught with the strength of their horses and bringing them to the ground. One bull appears defeated with its back hooves up in the air and tongue laying out of its mouth. Another is just about to end up in a similar position. In the background the scene expands with more cowboys containing the herd while another group chases a steer trying to get away.
Tompkins Real Wild West
Wild west shows were extremely popular for about three decades, beginning with the Buffalo Bill show that earned notoriety during the Columbian Exposition of 1893 and ending with the start of World War I. The Tompkins Wild West show ran from 1913 - 1917 in partnership with the Cooper-Whitby Circus. The show was scheduled to run from the summer to the fall, touring Pennsylvania, New York, and New Jersey during the summer months before moving about Maryland and Virginia in the fall. Notable performers included Charles and Mabel Tompkins, Chief Running Deer, Hank Drake (an African American trick rider), Dixie DeVere, Owasso, Bulldogger, and Lafe Lewman to name a few.
Charles H. Tompkins
Born in Round Rock, Texas in 1873, Charles Tompkins began working as a ranch hand at age 12. He would eventually participate in a number of cattle drives, including the last big drive that herded 25,000 head of steer from Dalhart, TX (just north of Amarillo) to Montana. In 1895 he participate in a roping contest in Chicago and won 1st prize. He would continue to earn respect as a professional roper and rider and eventually become director of the Congress of Champion Ropers and Riders at the St. Louis Worlds Fair in 1904.
Charles would marry Mabel Hackney who herself was an accomplished cowgirl. She worked the Buffalo Bill show riding horses, chariots, and jumping. During an ill-fated European tour that all but bankrupted the Tompkins Real Wild West show, she earned the title of "the World's Greatest Equestrian." Charles left Europe known as the "King of Cowboys."
For more information on the Tompkins Real Wild West show, we recommend this website: https://www.classic.circushistory.org/Bandwagon/bw-1971Mar.htm
Condition: This lithograph print is in A condition with vibrant color and full margins. The piece has been professionally linen backed for preservation and presentations purposes.
Inventory # 92052
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