Historical Clowns

1946 clown makeup canada

Clowns themes are something I revisit time and again with our Gloomth shoots- whether that’s adding some subtle circus elements in the model’s makeup or going for a full over the top clown style. There’s a long history of clowns in pop culture and it’s a tradition that can be traced back to ancient Egypt.

I was looking at national archive photographs of clowns recently when researching for our latest photoshoot and I thought I’d share a few I found here! Above is a dancer in a ballet called “The Big Top” in 1946.

Below are two more promotional shots from the “Big Top” ballet (by Boris Volkoff), both from 1946.

1946 big top ballet canada clowns dancers

boris volkoff 1946 big top ballet clown dancer canada

Going back further we have this enormous clown-band from 1919 (below), a travelling group of performers and clowns. Fascinating to see the array of costumes and styles here, from military garb to formal wear (and a big donkey).

1919 clown band canada


Below we have a shot from the Ringling Brothers’ circus featuring two clowns and a very glamorous lady in 1967.

ringling circus clowns 1967 canada

I hope you liked these little historical inspirations! 🙂


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