Antique English Gilt Bronze Plaque/Diorama of "Black Eagle," Circa 1880. The plaque mounted in its original gilt framed case of "Black Eagle," the famous circus horse.
"Black Eagle" was purchased by the circus proprietors, John and George Sanger, from the King of the Belgians. The brothers established their circus in 1845 in Lynn, Norfolk. They traveled with increasing success around the country, becoming regular lessees of the Agricultural Halls Islington, where they produced many costly and extravagant shows, gradually outstripping both their British and American rivals. The properties and paraphanelia of this were purchased in 1874 by P.T. Barnum for £33,000. The Sanger's gave their winter performances at Astley's Ampitheatre, in Westminster Bridge Road, traveling in the summer months across the country with a large company, including, amongst other animals, over 200 horses. They produced a number of lavish equestrian pantomimes, appearing before Queen Victoria on several occasions at Balmoral, Sandringham, and Windsor. A highly trained horse, Black Eagle was famous for dancing to music.