The Picayune Carnival Edition. 17th Representation of Krewe of Proteus. New Orleans February 21 – [18]98. Subject A Trip to Wonderland.

The Picayune Carnival Edition. 17th Representation of Krewe of Proteus. New Orleans February 21 – [18]98. Subject A Trip to Wonderland.

New Orleans: The Picayune, 1898. T. Fitzwilliam & Co., Lithographers. Chromolithograph, 72 x 107 cm, mounted on new linen.

A delightful poster depicting the Krewe of Proteus floats for the 1898 Mardi Gras.

The Krewe’s theme for the parade was “A Trip to Wonderland,” a broad subject that inspired a marvelous variety of twenty imaginative floats with titles such as “A New Heaven,” “An Arctic Symposium,” “Tiger-Lilies In Battle,” and “A Nautical Cavalcade.” A float entitled “Winter-Meeting in Hades” depicts riders on a sleigh drawn through the flames of hell, with evil birds looking on. “The Dragon’s Treasure” float depicts a group of exotically dressed men standing by a heap of treasure with a dragon coiled around them. Proteus himself, the shepherd of the sea, appears atop the first float featured here, enthroned on a giant plant. The overall effect of this poster is quite spectacular, and close inspection reveals a wealth of captivating detail.

Founded in 1882, the Krewe of Proteus is one of the oldest parade krewes in the history of Mardi Gras, preceded only by the Mistick Krewe of Comus and the Knights of Momus. Their floats still use the original chassis from the 1880s.

Lithographer Thomas Fitzwilliam (1833-1917) was a native of County Wexford Ireland. He arrived in Philadelphia with his parents and siblings in 1850 and the family moved to New Orleans in 1853. In 1860 Fitzwilliam borrowed four thousand dollars to found T. Fitzwilliam & Co., Blank Book Manufacturer and Stationer at 76 Camp St. By the 1880s the company was producing chromolithographic Mardi Gras posters for both the Times -Democrat and the Daily Picayune. Following Fitzwilliam’s death in 1917, the company continued in operation under the ownership of Thomas’s son, Thomas William, until 1917.

REFERENCES: Thomas Fitzwilliam, 1933-1917 at https://yourstory.tenement.org

CONDITION: Old folds, a few repairs to small losses at folds, a few repaired cips and tears in margins.

Item #3365

Price: $900.00