Poster for The Siege of Troy or The Giant Horse of Sinon
29 April, 1833
Printed by T. Romney
Museum no. S.2-1983
© Victoria and Albert Museum, London
Circus led the way in pictorial advertising, because circus acts lent themselves so well to being depicted. Astley's Circus led the way with circus too, so it is not surprising that its posters were often superbly illustrated. The rise of Astley's Circus in the early 19th century came at the same time as important advances in printing techniques. The first commercially viable paper-making machine was set up in England in 1805 and an increasingly varied selection of typefaces became available. Iron printing presses were also developed, which coped with the denser typefaces more successfully than the old wooden presses. The managers at Astley's appreciated the possibilities of the new developments and their posters increased in size in the 30 of the 19th century. This poster even features a magnificent woodcut image of the Trojan Horse which takes up the length of the poster.