Mid 19th c. Cut Paper Birds and Elephants by J. McNally with Scissors in Toes at Barnum's Museum

Regular price $100.00

This one is subtle (the first photo shows it lit from behind) but I think quite special, significantly for the story of it handwritten in pencil at bottom left, surely noted not long after its making. It notes that the paper cut, of birds and elephants, was done at Barnum's Museum (operated by P.T Barnum and located in Lower Manhattan at the corner of Broadway, Park Row and Ann Street, from 1841 to 1865; it was after the museum burned down that Barnum started his circus) by a J.McNally, who was armless, and so executed it with scissors held in his toes!  And so this little paper cut stands not just as a very intimate document of resourcefulness and resilience, but also as a piece of history--and it seems quite poignant that it should incorporate elephants, given it's creation at the museum operated by a future circus man. 

6 x 4 7/8”, cut paper mounted to paper. As noted above, the first photo shows it lit from behind, and I would be inclined to frame it between two pieces of glass to be displayed with light behind it (in a window, say) as it reads more clearly that way. The second photo shows it shot flat. Some toning to the papers as evident and perhaps a minor loss or two.