Curious: Martinho Lowande – ‘the Great Brazilian Bareback Hurricane rider’

Arthur W. Burman, 1877, Martinho Lowande and his two sons, Melbourne, albumen silver carte-de-visite photograph. Te Papa O.042714.

This studio portrait by Melbourne photographer Arthur Burman, shows Martinho Lowande and his sons dressed in their performance outfits and was taken just prior to their performances in New Zealand. Lowande, billed as the ‘Great Brazilian Bareback Hurricane rider’, performed bareback horse riding stunts while supporting either one of his two sons (aged 4 and 7 years). The family toured New Zealand as part of Cooper & Bailey’s Great International Menagerie and Circus during 1878.

A description of one of their performances was published in the Evening Post (15 April 1878, p. 2): “Then Martinho Lowande, the great Brazilian Bareback Hurricane Rider, exhibited some seemingly miraculous feats of daring horsemanship, and subsequently carried with him his youngest son, aged only 4 years, who stood on his father’s head, unassisted, and maintained his position unflinchingly, his father standing on the bare backed horse, which galloped round the ring. Next this feat was repeated in an altered shape, the other son of Lowande, aged 7 years, standing with one foot on his father’s head, and holding the other foot in his hand while the horse was going at full speed. […] Martinho Lowande then concluded the equestrian feats by riding, driving, and handling seven white horses at the same time, and at full gallop round the ring.”

This circus was very popular and accessible to general New Zealand audiences. Advertisements emphasised the suitability of afternoon performances that ladies could attend without the need for escorts and families could be home in time for dinner. Extra trains and boat services were put on for people travelling to the circus and they came from all over the North Island to the Auckland shows. Newspaper reports of numbers who attended the Wellington and Auckland performances were estimated at 4000 people per show, while 6000 people were reported attending one of the Dunedin shows.

Known appearances in New Zealand:

-Dunedin, March 1878

-Oamaru, March 1878

-Timaru, March 1878

-Christchurch, March 1878

-Wellington, April 1878

-Auckland, April 1878

Other stores in this series:

Curious: Miss Matilda Sanville – the smallest lady in the world

Curious: Anne Eliza Leak – the armless wonder

Lissa Mitchell – Curator Historical Photography

Follow Lissa on Twitter @rainyslip

3 Responses

  1. vera

    Wow this is amazing!! Brazilian Circus family around the world ‘in the olden days’ like my children say!
    🙂

    Reply
  2. Tony Rackstraw

    Hello Lissa, a carte-de-visite photograph by A. W. Burman of Anthony Lowande can be seen on my blog here – http://earlyphotographers.blogspot.co.nz/2014/01/burman-w.html
    regards Tony

    Reply

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