Sydney Living Museums
Sideshow Alley: Infamy, the Macabre & the Portrait
Our Victorian forebears weren’t squeamish. And they weren’t all that prim, either. Sideshow Alley brings to life a time when lithographs, woodcuts and waxworks of men in their direst moments attracted just as much interest as the monumental representations of explorers and statesmen that the set the official tone of the age.
Joanna Gilmour takes us on a journey of portraiture as a means to edify, refine and elevate the sensibility of the populace and the popular thirst for the lowbrow, the cheap, the tacky and the ghoulish in portraiture. Using beautifully illustrated prints, drawings and photographs from the collections of major Australian public libraries, archives and galleries as well as from those of the Old Melbourne Gaol, the Victoria Police Museum, and the Justice & Police Museum, Sydney, Sideshow Alley discusses death masks and wax anatomical models amidst a surprising variety of objects, and draws an intriguing portrait of Australian society and culture during the nineteenth century.
Published January 2016
235mm x 160mm