|Admission to Ballard's Menagerie
Unquestionably the greatest menagerie ever placed on exhibition in England. The proprietor, Mr. Ballard, has gained quite a reputation for securing the finest animals in the world and bringing them to be shown in his home land. Included in his exhibition are several wild beasts from the shores of Africa, including a lion, leopard, panther and jaguar. Other members of the menagerie include a score of monkeys, exotic and unlike those commonly seen in the possession of pirates and sailors. Onlookers need not fear the escape of the leopard, an incident that caused quite a bit of fright at the Bartholomew fair several years ago. These animals of Ballard's, though far from tame or trained, are unlikely to bite a handler as was the case in the aforementioned "jail break" involving the leopard. No monkeys will be eaten, either. The animals are fed only raw meat, not live beasts. Successful bidders will not be rushed through the exhibit - instead they will be allowed to ogle the fauna at their leisure - to dawdle, even, if they so choose. There will be enough to see, in fact to keep a legion of soldiers entertained for a good long while. Contact the sellers to discover the location of the menagerie's latest exhibition. The pass being offered here is good for only one week's time.
|Current Price: 2 pounds|
|Mechanical singing bird on perch.
Obviously, this is an auction meant only for our wealthy customers. The skill and technical expertise involved in making a piece of automata such as this one, however, is so immense that the price must reflect the work that goes into its production. Commonly referred to as a piece of "automata" this marvelous mechanical wonder is perfect for the drawing room or parlor. It makes for the perfect conversation piece and needs practically no tending to from the owner, which is why it is being put up for auction. What the winning bidder will receive is this: an ornate bird cage of faux gold and one bird inside that never needs any food, water or care from their owner. It make the perfect pet and will sing at the command of the owner. In the base of the cage (which is truly a work of art), there has been installed, by the craftiest continental mechanics, a series of mechanisms that will not only actuate the movements of the bird on the perch, but also make it sing in tune. The apparatus operates with the simple twist of a key, much like the "music boxes" that have become so common as of late. This particular model of automata has come to Britain from France, where they have a reputation for exhibiting marvelous mechanical contrivances, including the fabled "Chess Playing Automaton" owned by Baron Von Kemplen. While the birds the high bidder will receive can not play complicated games like the aforementioned piece of apparatus, they will delight both young and old for years to come, if the cage remains unabused by small, prying hands of children and the sniffers of various domesticated beats (not to mention the prying claws of the common house cat). Mechanically perfect and carefully packed. Carriage extra.
|Current Price: 60 pounds|
|Rope Dancing by the famed Italian, Violante
Like many of the other artists putting their services up for auction on Ye Old eBay, Violante made his name known first to British audiences at the Bartholomew and Southward fairs. Malcolm, in his "London Redivivius," in connection with the building of the church of St. Martin-in-the-Fields, had this to say about the slack-wire artiste: "Soon after the completion fo the steeple, an adventurous Italian, named Violante, descended from the arches, head foremost, on a rope stretched across St. Martin's Lane to the Royal Mews; the princesses being present, and many eminent persons" (Frost, 145). Like his Turkish predecessor at the Bartholomew Fair, Violante may even attempt to juggle while balancing (without the aid of a pole) on the slack wire, which may be suspended as high as 35 feet above the ground. Now, you, too can have such a talented performer work in the presence of your company. If Violante's gyrations on the slack rope were good enough for princesses and "many other eminent persons," then are they not good enough for you as well? His services, of course, come at a price, but include all apparatus necessary for the performance. No property will be destroyed in an effort to secure an anchor for the performer's rope. This is guaranteed. Below can be seen an example of a simian that has been taught rope dancing.
|Current Price: 35 pounds|
|Portrait painted by Miss Biffin, armless wonder
Despite her lack of arms, Miss Biffin has created quite a name for herself in the Empire by becoming a talented, nay, gifted artist, both in the medium of paint and with the pencil. Her appearances at the Bartholomew fair have put her artistic services in great demand - prices for private sittings have been steadily rising for some years now. Consequently, the opening bid for this bit of entertainment is rather pricey. Only serious bidders need consider this. Miss Biffin's talent, as already stated, is being able to create the most perfect likeness of a person, place or thing on canvas or paper by clutching her brush or pen with her shoulder. As she has no arms to speak of, watching her in the process of creating one of these works of art is a miraculous thing to witness in and of itself. And of course, the object of art she creates is not only something to be treasured, but also a lovely conversation piece for the home. For an additional fee, Miss Biffin will make sketches of guests at your home during a social engagement. Particulars must be discusses with the fair lady herself. The price here is for a portrait, done in oil of one individual only. Keep in mind that George III was so impressed with Miss Biffin's skill that he paid for her instruction in drawing. Three successive sovereigns have patronized her, and William IV even sent her a small pension. She lives now in Birmingham and is married to a Mr. Wright. An example of work similar to Miss Biffin's work can be seen below (the image below was created by)
|Current Price: 50 pounds|
|Shakespeare as presented by Lee's Company
The high price listed above is to be taken into consideration only by the extremely wealthy, who might like to engage the services of Richardson's Theatre for a private party or other, similar social gathering. This is not a common practice, but the proprietors of Ye Old eBay thought it an interesting experiment to tinker with for the first time here. This production of Romeo and Juliet is far from banal, as so many interpretations of the great bard's works tend to be. Lee has discarded the idea that only men are fit to act in his productions - there will be no beard or facial hair otherwise on his fair Juliet. Lee's first successes were as a manager of a theatrical company, a capacity in which he serves today, though now owning the theatre as well. His production of the popular drama Unnatural Parents scored a hit with audiences in 1725 when he first set out to operate his own theatrical facility. Additional productions available include The Siege of Troy, which, according to observers, "in its decorations, machinery and paintings, far exceeds anything of the like kind that ever was seen.before, the scenes and clothes being entirely new" (Frost, 121). This is an extremely high-class company of performers and well worth the starting bid. One with sufficient capital would be foolish to pass up such a remarkable opportunity (not only to witness such a wonderful performance, but to impress guests as well).
|Current Price: 100 pounds|
|Irish Giant and Dutch Dwarf - private exhibition
Patrick O'Brien, known commonly as "The Irish Giant" has come out of retirement and is again available for public exhibition. Though O'Brien amassed quite a fortune (considerable enough to afford him an "old mansion near Epping," according to Thomas Frost), O'Brien has told confidants that he longs again for the public gaze. Standing so high that all who see him have called him the tallest man ever shown to come from the Kingdom of Ireland, O'Brien is reputed to be a direct descendant of the puissant king, Brien Boreau. The giant's appearance is much like that of the just named potentate. O'Brien stands at least nine feet high, and is sure to make for a successful exhibition wherever he appears. In addition to the appearance of Mr. O'Brien, and in a marked contrast to his immense height, the giant has agreed to include in his exhibition at no extra charge, a personal appearance by Simon Paap, the celebrated Dutch dwarf. Paap, at age 26, weighed 27 pounds and stood only 28 inches high. Today, only a few years later, he is only slightly taller and a tad bit heavier. The sheer contrast of nature's whims represented by these two distinct and unique characters should be enough to inspire wonder in even the most calculating man of science. No pictures were available of Mr. Paap or Mr. O'Brien, but something of an idea might be gained as to the contrast presented by the illustration below.
|Current Price: 15 pounds|
|Bisset's Cat Opera
This auction is probably one of the greatest bargains on the site. Available for one performance and one only, which lasts approximately 40 minutes is the flock of trained cats made so successful by their owner, a Mr. Bisset, who has become known throughout the kingdom for his unparalleled ability to train even the most finicky of beasts. And knowing just how finicky felines can be, one can appreciate the "cat opera" up for auction here even more than the common learned pig or trained horse so often seen at Southwark Fair, among other places. According to Mr. Thomas Frost, "Cats are generally regarded as too susceptible of nervous excitement to perform in public, though their larger relatives, lions, tigers and leopards, have been taught to perform a variety of tricks before spectators, and cats are readily taught to perform the same trick in private." Bisset, however, has made his small felines unafraid of crowds and something of a group of show-offs. Let the bidders on this auction be reminded that the Cat's Opera took in several thousand pounds over the course of two days not long ago, and that the opening bid of 35 pounds sterling is a small sum for such a miraculous presentation. It will look something like this: three cats, under the bidding of Bisset, will play the dulcimer and at the same time, squall to the notes produced in a most harmonious and novel manner. In addition, Bisset will supplement the performance with tricks performed by his trained monkeys (who play the barrel organ and vault on the tight rope), a hare that walks on its hind legs while beating a drum, and a feathered army of canaries and linnets that spell out names and tell time by the clock. At an extra charge, Bisset will include his half dozen turkeys that execute a country dance with exacting precision, and a turtle that writes names on the floor (its feet are specifically blackened for the purpose). Bisset has been a particular success in Ireland as well as London and his availability for private engagements are limited. Act now.
|Current Price: 35 pounds|
|Admission to the Bartholomew Fair
Though Fair organizers have not, in the past generally charged admission to peruse the countless booths and choose from the variety of entertainments available to the public at their nationally regarded gathering of all that is colorful, this year, the policy has changed. Gates have been constructed about the perimeter of the Fair to keep out the rabble that in the past have caused riots over things as inconsequential as cheese. Observe the picture below, taken from an illustrated fan, which will give the viewer somewhat of an idea as to what the Bartholomew Fair is all about. Inside the gates, one can find nearly every sort of edible imaginable, from sausages and beer to fresh bread and poultry. The Bartholomew Fair, however, is best known for its fine selection of cloth and tapestries, which is why it has become known as the "Cloth Fair" to many who attend each year. The Fair, a long-standing tradition formerly sponsored by the church of St. Bartholomew, is so gigantic, in fact, that the admission fee being charged in this auction will seem inconsequential to any who set foot on the fair grounds. In addition to goods and food, the fairgoer will have access to every type of entertainment imaginable, from conjuring and theatricals to musical works and performing animals. Other auctions on this site offer up these performances individually - attend the Bartholomew fair and have access to all of them at one time (of course the entertainments are all extra-charge events). This is a bargain unparalleled by any other offered at this time on Ye Old eBay. Your opportunity is passing you by with each successive second. Don't be left out in the cold or outside the Fair gates. The pictures below will give prospective bidders some idea of the nature of the fair and the entertainments that are included inside it.
|Current Price: 1 pound|
|Punch and Judy Show
To entertain the children, there is no finer show to be hired. Performed by a professional puppeteer, this version of Punch and Judy has biblical roots like all other incarnations of the production. The entertainment being put up for bid at this time is guaranteed to include all popular characters that are prevalent in other Punch and Judy shows. Aside from Mr. Punch and his wife, the high bidder can expect to make the acquaintance of the Alligator, Policeman, Skeleton, Devil, Baby, Barber and other supplemental characters too numerous to mention. The puppeteer's frame, highly decorative in nature, can be customized to fit your specific engagement, if need be, as can the words coming from Mr. Punch's mouth. Special patter is available to the winning bidder of this auction at no extra cost. If you are planning on entertaining large numbers of guests or attendees, then this is the auction for you. Our Punch operator is especially suited to performing at fairs and gatherings of large numbers. His performance can run as long as one hour (though that is quite a stretch, we must admit) and as short as five or ten minutes. Our operator has made quite a career of multiple performances in a very short period of time, often times working the same Punch show four or five times in one hour. As per the norm, the slapstick will fly freely in the performance and the little ones as well as the adults are guaranteed to howl. This is an entertainment that all fair organizers will want to pounce on immediately. Bid now and bid often.
|Current Price: 25 pounds|
|Fabulous Conjuring Entertainment
Issac Fawkes is widely regarded as one of the finest conjurors in all of the British Empire. His acute dexterity of hand has created such a reputation for him that his annual appearances at the highly popular Bartholomew Fair are always packed with citizens from across the land. His services do not come at a modest price as he is great demand for both private and public appearances, and can fill his purse much more readily when engaged publicly. But he promises to include in his private appearances all the tricks which have made him famous and his booth at the Fair well visited. Spectators will witness his juggling with the cups and balls, the famed egg and bag trick, and conjuring with birds and other small, live animals. As an interlude, Fawkes will include the performance of a posture artist in the midst of his show. This attraction comes at no extra charge to the high bidder of this auction - it is, as they say, all part of the show. The posture artist's contortions are charming and inoffensive, and make for a perfect break in the magician's exhibition, which, though fascinating and confounding, is best broken up by some sort of alternate amusement. For an additional fee (which must be discussed with Mr. Fawkes himself, and privately), the conjuror will be happy to teach interested parties some simple conjuring tricks that they may use to amuse members of the "uninitiated" set. Fawkes performances are guaranteed to be accomplished by completely natural means, are clean, above board, and have been proven to be by years of experience at the Fair. Fawkes will be the hit of your next social engagement. His services are well worth the extra coinage required to secure his services.
|Current Price: 20 pounds|