Carnival Edition of the Picayune. New Orleans Monday Evening February 17th 1896. 15th Representation of Krewe of Proteus. Subject “Dumb Society.”

Carnival Edition of the Picayune. New Orleans Monday Evening February 17th 1896. 15th Representation of Krewe of Proteus. Subject “Dumb Society.”

New Orleans: The Picayune, 1896. T. Fitzwilliam & Co., Lithographers. Chromolithograph, 72 x 107 cm, mounted on new linen.

A spectacular Mardi Gras poster for the Krewe of Proteus floats for 1896, depicting a wide variety of animals—here dubbed “Dumb Society,”—in imaginative situations.

Represented here are twenty floats with titles such as “Presidential Sport,” “At Home…Dancing,” “In the Surf,” and “A Royal Banquet.” One marvelous float entitled “Five O’clock Tea” features a group of well-dressed animals having their tea in the company of a massive elephant, who is about to sip tea via his trunk. A float entitled “A Glove Contest” depicts a boxing contest between what appears to be a rhinoceros and a bison, with a giraffe and other looking on.

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, with a few pinpoint separations at intersections and some marginal tears and chips.

Item #3367

Price: $900.00