Hello and welcome to Chapter II of The Glass Scientists! This week I’m afraid I only have a title page for you, but I had a bit of fun with the look of the piece, so I hope you like it. 🙂
The title is a reference to the Beatles song “Being for the Benefit of Mr. Kite,” which was one of those songs my parents used to play in the car when I was really little. It was such a strange song that I was surprised to learn later on that I hadn’t made it up in a dream or similar. Upon hearing it again, I thought it might help set the proper tone for the upcoming chapter–that of a whimsical, slightly haunted circus with a larger-than-life ringleader.
Fun facts: The song was inspired by (and is, at times, a near verbatim transcription of) a mid-Victorian circus advertisement of the same name. The lines: “The Hendersons will all be there/late of Pablo Fanque’s faire” refer to Pablo Fanque, Britain’s first black circus owner. And apparently his shows were super successful! I read about him once when I was researching the history of people of color in Victorian London, which turned out to be, overall . . . a confusing effort. (Q: How many black people were there in Victorian London? A: I dunno. Lots, probably.) I posed this question to Tumblr a while ago, but I may as well try it out here: Does anyone know any good resources for the history of POC during this time period? I feel like there ought to be a lot of information out there, but dammit, Jim, I’m an artist, not a historian!