The Library of Nineteenth-Century Photography

 
 
 
El Niño Farini

El Niño Farini


El Niño Farini (born Samuel Wasgatt in America) was a trapeze artist who as a boy proved enormously popular with the British public during the 1860s. When puberty approached, he grew his hair, changed his costume and enjoyed even greater success as Mademoiselle Lulu. A young girl performing perilous feats – and showing her bare limbs – was far more likely to draw the crowds than any male counterpart. Commentators, of which there were a great many, often referred to Lulu’s grace and beauty. The success of the hoax depended on maintaining a convincing illusion at all times, even offstage. In 1876 Lulu fell from a platform while performing in Dublin and when a doctor was called, the truth came out.

Photographed by the London Stereoscopic and Photographic Company.
 

Code: 126908
 
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© Paul Frecker 2018