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Diane G. Casey

New York USA

Jack Earle, The Texas Giant & General Tom Thumb, Midget

Exhibit Entries

Art: Jack Earle, The Texas Giant & General Tom Thumb, Midget by Artist Diane G. Casey
Jack Earle & Tom Thumb; circus sideshow freaks Painted Muslin cloth dolls & sideshow banner

Nobody can deny that P.T. Barnum had an eye for human oddities & sideshow freaks! Some classic carnival midway freakshow attractions were: the giant, the fat lady, the midget, the three-legged boy, the armless wonder or the thin man.

This piece depicts BOTH the Giant & the Midget.

Jack Earle, the Texas Giant - Born in Denver Colorado in 1906 as Jacob Ehrlich, Jack joined the sideshow by accident. In the mid-20s, Ringling Brothers & Barnum Bailey Circus passed through El Paso, with a man billed as the world's tallest man, at 7 feet 5 inches tall Jim Tarver was still 13 inches shorter then Jack the Giant(!) Jack met with the circus people, and before they left town they offered him a 1 year contract which turned into 14 years. Jack stayed with the circus until the late 30's early 40's. He grew tired of the routine so he left the business. He played in about 9 movies, mainly comedies like Hansel and Gretel (1923) and Jack & the Beanstalk (1924). After leaving the circus, Jack became a successful traveling salesman and was intensely creative. He painted, sculpted, was a prize-winning photographer & a poet. He even published a book of poetry called "The Long Shadows". On November 4, 1950, the Saturday Evening Post ran an article titled "Life of Giant Jack Earle". Jack died at age 46 in 1952.

General Tom Thumb, Aka: Charles Sherwood Stratton, the midget - Charles Sherwood Stratton was born Jan. 4, 1838, in Bridgeport, Connecticut, to Sherwood Edward Stratton, a carpenter, and his wife, Cynthia, "normal" sized adults. In 1842, P. T. Barnum discovered Charles, who measured 25 inches and weighed 15 pounds. The monster master quickly drew up a contract with the parents, hiring the 4-yr-old dwarf. In January 1844, Barnum moved to Europe, and brought Tom as the main attraction. He was so popular in England that Thumb made 2 command appearances before Queen Victoria. The pair went on to tour France, Italy, Greece, and the rest of Europe.

This is my entry in the EBSQ "Sideshow" themed show for August. The materials I used are: a colorful sideshow banner heralding the appearance of the Giant & Midget in the sideshow, designed by me, and 2 Muslin Cloth dolls; (one large & 1 small). I painted the dolls with tiny paintbrushes for the details (especially tiny for Tom Thumb's face detail) and was inspired to create them after some in-depth researching about Jack Earle & Gen'l Tom Thumb, as well as P.T. Barnum. These pieces are 3 dimensional, so I included several detail shots in my entry. I signed each doll on the bottom of their left foot.

Detail Images

Detail Image for art Jack Earle, The Texas Giant & General Tom Thumb, Midget

Closeup of Tom Thumb with ruler

Detail Image for art Jack Earle, The Texas Giant & General Tom Thumb, Midget

Closeup of Jack Earle, the Texas Giant

Detail Image for art Jack Earle, The Texas Giant & General Tom Thumb, Midget

Closeup of General Tom Thumb's face


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