In 2003, I was asked by James Taylor and Dick Horne — then business partners in Baltimore's American Dime Museum — to
create an illustration for a catalog of the ADM collections. Having seen my tribute to P. T. Barnum, The Showman and His Museum, they wanted something for themselves that also referenced Charles Willson Peale's famous self-portrait, The Artist and His Museum. I obliged by placing them before a velvet curtain with some of
the signature items housed at the ADM — a two-headed goose, the head of a killer snake preserved in a pickle jar, the world's largest ball of string, Ringling's 'unicorn', a feejee mermaid, etc.
However, it was during the planning of this catalog project that Taylor and Horne had a falling out over the future direction of the museum and abruptly dissolved their partnership.
Consequently, the catalog was abandoned and this drawing was never published. This was also to be the source for a woodcut broadside I started, but which will forever remain unfinished. C'est la vie.
In the meantime, James Taylor continues to publish his journal Shocked and Amazed! On & Off the Midway and has also gone on to pursue other projects. Dick Horne continued to operate the ADM for a few years, though in a different incarnation than previously.
[preliminary sketch and detail enlargements]
[To see more sideshow drawings, please visit the Prodigies